UNC at USF: Scouting the Tar Heel Defense

This Saturday the Bulls play for the first time as a top 25 ranked team when they face North Carolina in the biggest home game yet of the season. Find out what to expect from the UNC defense and what USF needs to do offensively to win the second game of the series. USFNation.com - Get it First, Get it Fast

North Carolina's Defense


What to watch for.

  • UNC has a very porous Defense against the run allowing 137 yards per game and may try to compensate for that by putting more men in the box.   
  • Outside linebacker Durell Mapp who leads the ACC and is third in the nation in tackles.
  • The Tar Heels have to leave someone to spy on Grothe. Last year they didn't fair so well against quarterbacks that could tuck it and run. There should be an adjustment this season.
  • They have a medium but agile Defensive Line. The USF Offensive Line should be able to effectively contain them and move them around as needed.
  • This is a much better team than last year but it is very heavy in lowerclassmen. UNC returns only 4 defensive starters. ( 2 On the D-Line )
  • There is only 1 DB returning from last year. However, this DB core practices against arguably the best receiving core in the ACC.



By Position


Defensive Line: Defensive End Hilee Taylor posted his first career three-sack game and second career multi-sack game and second career multi-sack effort against Virginia. The young line also features a force at Defensive Tackle known to disrupt runs in Kentwan Balmer. Look for the Defensive Line to get manhandled aside from the occasional lapse of judgment by the USF Offensive Line. Matt Grothe should easily outrun this Defensive Line as they don't feature anyone as fast or talented as Groves from Auburn. Mike Ford should be able to bounce several for huge gains after USF establishes the pass.


Linebackers: Arguably the most powerful Outside Linebacker in the ACC, Durell Mapp is looking to continue to showcase his talent. The senior amassed 18 tackles against the able offense of East Carolina. The Defense features a sophomore Middle Linebacker in Wesley Flagg (6-0 240) and a freshman at Sam in Bruce Carter (6-3 220). This may be the least experienced Linebacker group we will face all year. This group re-enforces the notion that coach Butch Davis views this season as a rebuilding one.


Secondary: Trimane Goddard is back after suffering an injury last year. He is ready to make a statement as the only returning starter in this DB squad. Look for USF to expose this weakness by setting up in 4 wide sets. The golden lining in this unit is that they practice against a very solid WR squad and should not be fazed by the likes of Amarri Jackson.



What I think the Bulls should do on offense:


  • Quick passes- if Grothe can get rid of the ball on some quick routes and take the defensive line out of the equation, they could have some success.
  • Misdirection- again avoiding the line and taking advantage of the Linebacker's inexperience. Particularly toward Carter. Look for Mike Ford to run him over several times.
  • Establish the run – The Achilles heel of the defense, UNC is allowing 137 yards rushing per game and have not faced a good running game aside from East Carolina.
  • Protect the football – This is the type of game in which we can be our biggest enemy. If Grothe can establish a rhythm passing he should continue his passing streak without an INT.
  • Score Early – If we make them come from behind, UNC will predictably go to a pass-happy offense which we can guard with the right personnel.
  • Go after the Tar Heels young secondary that has allowed 219 yards per game.
  • Catch the ball – The Bulls receiver unit can't play how they did in the opener against a lesser opponent (Elon). The Bulls should find a lot of holes in the Tar Heel secondary.
  • Grothe's mobility should keep him out of harm's way. Look for the UNC defense to be confused all day long.



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