"They're very strong up front," Football coach Greg Schiano said of the Tar Heels, "so to simulate that strength, push ‘em back at you is not easy."
Especially with UNC's physical and bigger defensive ends, who rotate with smaller and quicker defensive linemen.
"They change those ends out on passing downs so now they have 235-240 speed guys coming off the edge, so it'll be a big change," Schiano said, indicating the various players used by Carolina coach Butch Davis. "First and second down they look like 30 NFL-type ends and all of a sudden, you get these speed rushers coming at you on third down. It reminds me of how Butch likes to play.
And quarterback T.J. Yates, who started his second season, completing 15-26 for 221 yards and two scores, en route to a 35-27 victory over McNeese St.
"Well, he knows what they're doing offensively," Schiano said. "They run nakeds and boots and hardball play action where they get the ball down the field.
"He has a good arm where he can get it down there and he's an experienced guy. He's just mobile enough to get away from the pass rush too."
However, the Scarlet Knights maintain a veteran roster starting with center Ryan Blaszczyk.
"Well, he's just a strong leader," Schiano said of the fourth-year junior. Certainly, his area of focus is the offensive line so he's the leader of that group."
Schiano said he does not expect to make any personnel changes for the upcoming contest on Thursday night.
ESPN will nationally televise Thursday's contest, the only one scheduled in the tri-state area and in college football on that day.
"Oh yeah, it's fun, you're the only game in the country and everybody is watching you," Schiano said. "It's a great atmosphere and we've had a lot of fun on Thursday nights so hopefully that continues."
After he submitted his votes for the weekly coach's poll, Schiano admitted that the upsets thus far have not surprised him.
"I've always felt it was wide open," he said. "College football's been like that for the last couple of years. You never know, which makes it fun in some way."
But, he's certainly not thinking ahead to the conference schedule, commencing on Oct. 4 at West Virginia.
"We gotta get better," Schiano said. "By the time we get to the league, the work we do now will determine, to a large part, on how we'll play when we get to the league schedule. Going into the season, we're not where we need to be, so we really gotta get better."
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