College Football

Winless North Carolina struggling to get stops on defense

Posted September 11
Updated September 12

— North Carolina's veteran-filled defense was expected to be dependable enough to provide some cover for an inexperienced offense. Instead, the Tar Heels' defense has been inept.

The Tar Heels rank last among power-conference teams by surrendering 587 yards per game, while they rank next to last among those 64 schools by allowing 41 points per game. And there's plenty of other ugly numbers that help explain why the Tar Heels are 0-2 for the first time since 2010.

Coach Larry Fedora said Monday the team had reviewed the film from Saturday's loss to Louisville and corrected the mistakes. Then again, he won't be 100 percent sure that they have the problems fixed until they play again Saturday at Old Dominion.

"That's always concerning to me, and really trying to make sure I find out why," Fedora said. "That's the biggest thing. That's my fear, that I don't discover really why. When we're putting in a game plan and the coach says, 'OK, you guys understand that?' And everybody says, 'Yes.' Then you assume that they know it.

"But then you get out on Saturday and they don't make that adjustment, well then they obviously didn't know it. So we've got to do a really good job."

More alarming is the fact that the Tar Heels entered the year with seven returning starters and their top three tacklers back, while the promotion of linebackers coach John Papuchis to coordinator offered continuity after the departure of Gene Chizik for family reasons.

Chizik inherited a historically bad defense in 2014 and made it adequate, which was more than enough help for Fedora's high-scoring offense as the Tar Heels reached the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game in 2015 and was in contention into November to go back last year.

But things have started in a way that's awfully reminiscent of that 2014 team.

First the Tar Heels surrendered 469 yards to California — 363 yards coming from a quarterback who had never thrown a college pass — in the 35-30 home loss. Then came the Cardinals and reigning Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson, who accounted for 525 total yards and six touchdowns in a highlight-filled performance. And the Cardinals finished with 705 total yards — the most ever by a UNC opponent in its Kenan Stadium home — in the 47-35 win.

Afterward, Fedora immediately noted that "we weren't even close to receivers" while multiple UNC players kept going back to the same word.

"Honestly, communication," linebacker Cayson Collins said. "It's really just everybody being on the same page. That's it."

Fedora offered a bit more specific analysis Monday.

"It means, first of all, based on a formation, you've got to communicate the coverage that you're going to run with each other," Fedora said. "Based on splits, that adjusts some of the coverages and how you're going to decipher those routes.

"And then in the middle of the route, there's communication that has to be made. If you're dropping that guy to pick someone else up and a crosser is coming, you've got to let the guy next to you so he's picking the guy up."

The Tar Heels now find themselves near the bottom of just about every major defensive category nationally. The Tar Heels have surrendered four touchdowns of at least 40 yards, and they allowed Cal and Louisville to convert 52 percent of their third downs.

Facing Jackson certainly magnified the Tar Heels' defensive troubles, but things have to get better quickly.

"I didn't play a perfect game, I don't think nobody did," safety Donnie Miles said Saturday. "But . I don't think it's from the sideline, I don't think it's from the coaches. I think as players we've got to look ourselves in the mirror because we're the ones out there playing, giving up plays."

___

More AP college football: http://collegefootball.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP_Top25

___

Follow Aaron Beard on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/aaronbeardap

Comments

Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all
Listen & Watch
  • HighSchoolOT Live

    Tonight at 7:00 on WRAL-2

  • Football Friday

    Tonight at 11:35 on WRAL-TV

  • ACC Football: Pittsburgh @ Georgia Tech

    Tomorrow at 12:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • Logan Zone

    Sunday at 11:00 am on WRAL-TV

  • Golf: The Tour Championship

    Sunday at 1:30 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NFL: Oakland @ Washington

    Friday, Sep. 29 at 8:30 pm on WRAL-TV

  • College Football: Duke at North Carolina

    Tomorrow at 3:30 pm on Buzz Sports Radio

AP Top 25
Thu, Sept 21
7Final
21
43
Fri, Sept 22
23
7:30 PT8:30 MT9:30 CT10:30 ET2:30 GMT10:30 北京时间7:30 MST9:30 EST
Preview
Sat, Sept 23
9:00 PT10:00 MT11:00 CT12:00 ET4:00 GMT12:00 北京时间9:00 MST11:00 EST
Preview
12
9:00 PT10:00 MT11:00 CT12:00 ET4:00 GMT12:00 北京时间9:00 MST11:00 EST
Preview
19
9:00 PT10:00 MT11:00 CT12:00 ET4:00 GMT12:00 北京时间9:00 MST11:00 EST
Preview
10
11:00 PT12:00 MT1:00 CT2:00 ET6:00 GMT2:00 北京时间11:00 MST1:00 EST
Preview
13
5
12:30 PT1:30 MT2:30 CT3:30 ET7:30 GMT3:30 北京时间12:30 MST2:30 EST
Preview
12:30 PT1:30 MT2:30 CT3:30 ET7:30 GMT3:30 北京时间12:30 MST2:30 EST
Preview
2
12:30 PT1:30 MT2:30 CT3:30 ET7:30 GMT3:30 北京时间12:30 MST2:30 EST
Preview
14
16
12:30 PT1:30 MT2:30 CT3:30 ET7:30 GMT3:30 北京时间12:30 MST2:30 EST
Preview
6
1
12:30 PT1:30 MT2:30 CT3:30 ET7:30 GMT3:30 北京时间12:30 MST2:30 EST
Preview
8
1:00 PT2:00 MT3:00 CT4:00 ET8:00 GMT4:00 北京时间1:00 MST3:00 EST
Preview
3:00 PT4:00 MT5:00 CT6:00 ET10:00 GMT6:00 北京时间3:00 MST5:00 EST
Preview
18
3
3:30 PT4:30 MT5:30 CT6:30 ET10:30 GMT6:30 北京时间3:30 MST5:30 EST
Preview
22
4:00 PT5:00 MT6:00 CT7:00 ET11:00 GMT7:00 北京时间4:00 MST6:00 EST
Preview
17
4:00 PT5:00 MT6:00 CT7:00 ET11:00 GMT7:00 北京时间4:00 MST6:00 EST
Preview
11
4:00 PT5:00 MT6:00 CT7:00 ET11:00 GMT7:00 北京时间4:00 MST6:00 EST
Preview
25
4
4:30 PT5:30 MT6:30 CT7:30 ET11:30 GMT7:30 北京时间4:30 MST6:30 EST
Preview
20
4:30 PT5:30 MT6:30 CT7:30 ET11:30 GMT7:30 北京时间4:30 MST6:30 EST
Preview
15
4:30 PT5:30 MT6:30 CT7:30 ET11:30 GMT7:30 北京时间4:30 MST6:30 EST
Preview
24
7:00 PT8:00 MT9:00 CT10:00 ET2:00 GMT10:00 北京时间7:00 MST9:00 EST
Preview
7
7:00 PT8:00 MT9:00 CT10:00 ET2:00 GMT10:00 北京时间7:00 MST9:00 EST
Preview
NFL Scoreboard
Thursday, Sep. 21
LA Rams41Final
San Francisco39
Sunday, Sep. 24
Baltimore 6:30 PT7:30 MT8:30 CT9:30 ET13:30 GMT21:30 6:30 MST8:30 EST8:30 CT17:30 UAE9:30 ETNaN:�
Preview
Jacksonville 
Denver 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET17:00 GMT1:00 10:00 MST12:00 EST12:00 CT21:00 UAE13:00 ETNaN:�
Preview
Buffalo 
New Orleans 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET17:00 GMT1:00 10:00 MST12:00 EST12:00 CT21:00 UAE13:00 ETNaN:�
Preview
Carolina 
Pittsburgh 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET17:00 GMT1:00 10:00 MST12:00 EST12:00 CT21:00 UAE13:00 ETNaN:�
Preview
Chicago 
Atlanta 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET17:00 GMT1:00 10:00 MST12:00 EST12:00 CT21:00 UAE13:00 ETNaN:�
Preview
Detroit 
Cleveland 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET17:00 GMT1:00 10:00 MST12:00 EST12:00 CT21:00 UAE13:00 ETNaN:�
Preview
Indianapolis 
Tampa Bay 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET17:00 GMT1:00 10:00 MST12:00 EST12:00 CT21:00 UAE13:00 ETNaN:�
Preview
Minnesota 
Houston 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET17:00 GMT1:00 10:00 MST12:00 EST12:00 CT21:00 UAE13:00 ETNaN:�
Preview
New England 
Miami 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET17:00 GMT1:00 10:00 MST12:00 EST12:00 CT21:00 UAE13:00 ETNaN:�
Preview
NY Jets 
NY Giants 10:00 PT11:00 MT12:00 CT1:00 ET17:00 GMT1:00 10:00 MST12:00 EST12:00 CT21:00 UAE13:00 ETNaN:�
Preview
Philadelphia 
Seattle 1:05 PT2:05 MT3:05 CT4:05 ET20:05 GMT4:05 1:05 MST3:05 EST3:05 CT0:05 UAE (+1)16:05 ETNaN:�
Preview
Tennessee 
Cincinnati 1:25 PT2:25 MT3:25 CT4:25 ET20:25 GMT4:25 1:25 MST3:25 EST3:25 CT0:25 UAE (+1)16:25 ETNaN:�
Preview
Green Bay 
Kansas City 1:25 PT2:25 MT3:25 CT4:25 ET20:25 GMT4:25 1:25 MST3:25 EST3:25 CT0:25 UAE (+1)16:25 ETNaN:�
Preview
LA Chargers 
Oakland 5:30 PT6:30 MT7:30 CT8:30 ET0:30 GMT8:30 5:30 MST7:30 EST7:30 CT4:30 UAE (+1)20:30 ETNaN:�
Preview
Washington 
Monday, Sep. 25
Dallas 5:30 PT6:30 MT7:30 CT8:30 ET0:30 GMT8:30 5:30 MST7:30 EST7:30 CT4:30 UAE (+1)20:30 ETNaN:�
Preview
Arizona 
NHL Preseason
Pittsburgh 4:00 PT5:00 MT6:00 CT7:00 ET23:00 GMT7:00 4:00 MST6:00 EST3:00 UAE (+1)19:00 ETNaN:� BRT
Columbus 
St. Louis 4:00 PT5:00 MT6:00 CT7:00 ET23:00 GMT7:00 4:00 MST6:00 EST3:00 UAE (+1)19:00 ETNaN:� BRT
Washington 
Buffalo 4:30 PT5:30 MT6:30 CT7:30 ET23:30 GMT7:30 4:30 MST6:30 EST3:30 UAE (+1)19:30 ETNaN:� BRT
Toronto 
Nashville 4:30 PT5:30 MT6:30 CT7:30 ET23:30 GMT7:30 4:30 MST6:30 EST3:30 UAE (+1)19:30 ETNaN:� BRT
Tampa Bay 
NY Rangers 4:30 PT5:30 MT6:30 CT7:30 ET23:30 GMT7:30 4:30 MST6:30 EST3:30 UAE (+1)19:30 ETNaN:� BRT
NY Islanders 
Arizona 6:00 PT7:00 MT8:00 CT9:00 ET1:00 GMT9:00 6:00 MST8:00 EST5:00 UAE (+1)21:00 ETNaN:� BRT
Calgary 
Vancouver 6:00 PT7:00 MT8:00 CT9:00 ET1:00 GMT9:00 6:00 MST8:00 EST5:00 UAE (+1)21:00 ETNaN:� BRT
Edmonton 
Los Angeles 7:00 PT8:00 MT9:00 CT10:00 ET2:00 GMT10:00 7:00 MST9:00 EST6:00 UAE (+1)22:00 ETNaN:� BRT
Anaheim 
MLB Scoreboard
Interleague
Boston04:10 PT5:10 MT6:10 CT7:10 ET19:10 ET23:10 GMT7:10 4:10 MST6:10 EST6:40 VEN3:10 UAE (+1)6:10 CT
Preview
Cincinnati0
American League
Tampa Bay04:05 PT5:05 MT6:05 CT7:05 ET19:05 ET23:05 GMT7:05 4:05 MST6:05 EST6:35 VEN3:05 UAE (+1)6:05 CT
Preview
Baltimore0
NY Yankees04:07 PT5:07 MT6:07 CT7:07 ET19:07 ET23:07 GMT7:07 4:07 MST6:07 EST6:37 VEN3:07 UAE (+1)6:07 CT
Preview
Toronto0
Minnesota04:10 PT5:10 MT6:10 CT7:10 ET19:10 ET23:10 GMT7:10 4:10 MST6:10 EST6:40 VEN3:10 UAE (+1)6:10 CT
Preview
Detroit0
Kansas City05:10 PT6:10 MT7:10 CT8:10 ET20:10 ET0:10 GMT8:10 5:10 MST7:10 EST7:40 VEN4:10 UAE (+1)7:10 CT
Preview
Chi White Sox0
LA Angels05:10 PT6:10 MT7:10 CT8:10 ET20:10 ET0:10 GMT8:10 5:10 MST7:10 EST7:40 VEN4:10 UAE (+1)7:10 CT
Preview
Houston0
Texas07:05 PT8:05 MT9:05 CT10:05 ET22:05 ET2:05 GMT10:05 7:05 MST9:05 EST9:35 VEN6:05 UAE (+1)9:05 CT
Preview
Oakland0
Cleveland07:10 PT8:10 MT9:10 CT10:10 ET22:10 ET2:10 GMT10:10 7:10 MST9:10 EST9:40 VEN6:10 UAE (+1)9:10 CT
Preview
Seattle0
National League
St. Louis04:05 PT5:05 MT6:05 CT7:05 ET19:05 ET23:05 GMT7:05 4:05 MST6:05 EST6:35 VEN3:05 UAE (+1)6:05 CT
Preview
Pittsburgh0
Washington04:10 PT5:10 MT6:10 CT7:10 ET19:10 ET23:10 GMT7:10 4:10 MST6:10 EST6:40 VEN3:10 UAE (+1)6:10 CT
Preview
NY Mets0
Chi Cubs04:35 PT5:35 MT6:35 CT7:35 ET19:35 ET23:35 GMT7:35 4:35 MST6:35 EST7:05 VEN3:35 UAE (+1)6:35 CT
Preview
Milwaukee0
Philadelphia04:35 PT5:35 MT6:35 CT7:35 ET19:35 ET23:35 GMT7:35 4:35 MST6:35 EST7:05 VEN3:35 UAE (+1)6:35 CT
Preview
Atlanta0
Miami06:40 PT7:40 MT8:40 CT9:40 ET21:40 ET1:40 GMT9:40 6:40 MST8:40 EST9:10 VEN5:40 UAE (+1)8:40 CT
Preview
Arizona0
San Francisco07:10 PT8:10 MT9:10 CT10:10 ET22:10 ET2:10 GMT10:10 7:10 MST9:10 EST9:40 VEN6:10 UAE (+1)9:10 CT
Preview
LA Dodgers0
Colorado07:10 PT8:10 MT9:10 CT10:10 ET22:10 ET2:10 GMT10:10 7:10 MST9:10 EST9:40 VEN6:10 UAE (+1)9:10 CT
Preview
San Diego0
Minor League Baseball
International League
Memphis 4:07 PT5:07 MT6:07 CT7:07 ET12:07 GMT
Durham 
TOUR Championship (PGA)
PosNameScoreThru
1tJ. Thomas-718
1tP. Casey-718
1tW. Simpson-718
4tP. Reed-618
4tJ. Rose-618
4tJ. Rahm-618
4tG. Woodland-618
8tX. Schauffele-518
8tJ. Dufner-518
8tB. Koepka-518
View Full Leaderboard
 
Evian Champ (LPGA)
PosNameScoreThru
1A. Nordqvist - z-9F
2B. Altomare - y-9F
3tM. Jutanugarn-8F
3tK. Kirk-8F
3tL. Ko-8F
6tS. Feng-7F
6tS. Kim-7F
8J. Song-6F
9M. Lee-5F
10tG. Hall-4F
View Full Leaderboard
z = Won in Playoff   y = Lost in Playoff
 
ATP Scoreboard
Friday, Sep. 22
St. Petersburg Open (ATP)
Quarterfinals
D. Dzumhur6 2 6   
L. Broady3 6 4   
(1) R. Bautista A6 6    
(7) V. Troicki1 2    
(2) J. Tsonga6 3 2   
(8) J. Struff3 6 6   
(3) F. Fognini6 6    
R. Berankis3 0    
 
Moselle Open (ATP)
Quarterfinals
(5) M. Zverev7 77    
K. De Scheppe5 64    
M. Copil2 4    
P. Gojowczyk6 6    
(2) D. Goffin63 7 67   
(7) B. Paire77 5 79   
D. Istomin5 3    
N. Basilashvi7 6    
 
WTA Scoreboard
Friday, Sep. 22
Guangzhou Women's Open (WTA)
Semifinals
Y. Wickmayer3 3    
A. Krunic6 6    
(2) S. Zhang79 6    
E. Rodina67 3    
 
Korea Open (WTA)
Quarterfinals
(1) J. Ostapenko6 6    
V. Cepede Roy3 1    
P. Hon3 4    
R. Hogenkamp6 6    
B. Haddad Mai6 6    
S. Sorribes T4 4    
 
Toray Pan Pacific Open (WTA)
Quarterfinals
(2) K. Pliskova65 5    
(7) A. Kerber77 7    
(1) G. Muguruza6 6    
(9) C. Garcia2 4    
(3) C. Wozniacki3 77 3   
(5) D. Cibulkova6 65 1