Caulton Tudor

Pirates earn a Ruff A; Fedora gets a D

Posted September 30, 2013

Ruffin McNeill, ECU, A: The 55-31 win at UNC Saturday came with few warts. 

The offense was spectacular throughout, and although the defense gave up more than 450 yards, much of that was due to the fact Carolina quarterback Bryn Renner is a prolific passer working with a group of gifted receivers.

Star running back Vintavious Cooper got banged up in the second half but returned fairly fast after some medical attention on the sidelines.

There was a lot of pressure on McNeill to deliver a lasting memory to the anxious Pirate fan base. He did just that.

In fact, the Pirates very well could be 2-0 vs. the ACC Coastal. Had sophomore linebacker Montese Overton been able to hang on to an errant Logan Thomas pass against Virginia Tech, the Pirates likely would have won 17-13 rather than losing 13-10.

But now comes the tricky next step – a trip to Middle Tennessee this week. The Blue Raiders (3-2, 1-0 Conference USA) lost 40-20 at UNC on Sept. 7.

It should have “letdown situation” written next to the 3:30 p.m. starting time on the schedule.

Previous McNeill grades: Two Bs, one C.

Larry Fedora, UNC, D: The good news for the Tar Heel coach is that other than against Duke and Miami, his defenders shouldn’t be subjected to the sort of unrelenting blitzkrieg they confronted against ECU’s Shane Carden.

At Virginia Tech this Saturday (12:30 p.m., WRAL TV), the problem will be dealing with the Hokies’ press-man pass defensive pass coverage and QB Logan Thomas’ running/scrambling ability.

It’ll be a much simpler afternoon for the Carolina linebackers and secondary.

But Fedora clearly is facing challenges on both the personnel and morale fronts.

Other than Renner, the receivers and running back A.J. Blue, confidence is down across the board and the defense just simply no longer has the pro-like talent to overcome its inexperience and complex opposing offenses.

Previous Fedora grades: One B, one C, one D.

Dave Doeren, NCSU, B: Other than the loss to Clemson, the Wolfpack’s schedule has been easy and may stay easy for a while.

At Wake Forest this Saturday (3:30 p.m.) and against Syracuse on Oct. 12 in Raleigh, the obviously improved Wolfpack defense should be able to provide still-learning quarterback Pete Thomas with much of the same pressure cushion as was the case in Saturday’s 48-14 win over Central Michigan.

But even though the schedule has been mostly light and entirely home-based, Doeren’s first team has been consistently impressive.

Previous Doeren grades: Two Bs, one C.

David Cutcliffe, Duke, B: Although quarterback Brandon Connette got dinged up some in the 38-31 win over Troy Saturday in Durham, the 3-2 Blue Devils aren’t yet in a dire situation.

With an open date to prepare for the Navy option (Oct. 12 in Durham), Cutcliffe now can rest Connette for a few days and check up on Anthony Boone’s rehab progress from his shoulder injury.

Three other potential positives popped up Saturday: Carolina’s defensive problems against ECU, Virginia’s offensive problems in a 14-3 loss at Pitt and Wake Forest’s quick surrender against Clemson in Winston-Salem.

For the Devils, it’s all about counting to six wins. They’re halfway there,  and the remaining schedule is looking less formidable as season progresses.

Previous Cutcliffe  grades: One A, one B, one C, one D.

34 Comments

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  • RaleighPirate Sep 30, 2013

    Very happy for coach Ruff!

  • dave437 Sep 30, 2013

    VT beat ECU 15-10, not 13-10.

    and what exactly is "press-man pass defensive pass coverage"?

  • Whocareswhatyouthink Sep 30, 2013

    Fedora gets a D? How do you get an F?

  • me2you Sep 30, 2013

    Now let's do the same to NC State and all will be great in Pirate Nation.

  • dmccall Sep 30, 2013

    While UNC's offense finally did get some sort of stride, the performance of that defense was so bad, most of us Heel fans are rating the coaching staff's performance as an F.

    While UNC's talent level isn't on par with Florida State, there is plenty of talent to hold a team like ECU to a reasonable number of yards. UNC is the only team in the ACC that has allowed 400+ yards in every game.

    This is danger time with the Fedora era. This team is staring 1-5 in the face, and with (after Miami) home games of BC, UVA, Old Dominion, and Duke, if the team is 1-5, there will be no electric atmospheres left for recruiting this season. Saturday's game at VT is the most important game in the Fedora era thus far.

  • ciscopack Sep 30, 2013

    The Pirstes looked good and well prepared. They looked like a team that wanted to play football and a group of guys enjoying football. Let's all hope Larry the Hat is in Chapel Hill for at least 5 more years.

  • 903 PJ suspended til NCAA clears Sep 30, 2013

    He wished he had a D...The 55 points on the scoreboard proves that he doesn't...

  • KTs Choo Choo Train Engineering Sep 30, 2013

    View quoted thread


    Tudor means D for "Dunce."

  • 35 - 7 ROFL Sep 30, 2013

    View quoted thread


    Man coverage means that the back seven on defense (secondary and linebackers) are responsible for a specific player instead of a zone. The press aspect refers to the secondary coming up to the line of scrimmage to jam (press) the receivers in hopes of disrupting the timing of the route. If the DB can successfully delay the WR's release off the line it will throw off the timing between the QB and WR.

    Against ECU, UNC's soft coverage (6-8 yd cushion) allowed the ECU receivers to go where they pleased and catch short routes without much difficulty. I actually watched the UNC defensive backs line up 8 yards off the receiver on a 3rd and 1. Completely nonsensical, IMO.

  • buster102007 Sep 30, 2013

    I am going to start grading Caulton Tudor on these articles on Mondays. Caulton Tudor gets an F today.

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