Sunday, December 27, 2009

Smarter Heels would have finished 11-2

For the second straight game, both losses, Butch Davis said his team did not play smart.

For Davis' part, he took the blame for the Tar Heels' mental errors in Saturday's 19-17 loss to Pittsburgh but apologies don't win games and at some point, and sooner than later with a $2 million price tag involved, those mistakes need to be corrected, not just acknowledged.

UNC repeated some of the same mistakes from the inexcusable 28-27 loss at N.C. State on Nov. 28. Mindless penalties which cost UNC points? Check. Turnovers at the goal line which cost UNC points? Check.

Davis disagreed that they were the same mistakes from the State loss, pointing out that they didn't kick the ball out of bounds against State, or jump offsides on a field-goal attempt, but he was splitting hairs.

"They're not the same mistakes," Davis said. "If it was the same mistakes, you'd really be disappointed. We've to got to learn to play smarter and more efficient."

When you're a team with no margin of error on offense, you can't afford 19 penalties in two games. The Heels' defense, as good as it was for stretches this season, can only do so much, which was never more evident than on Pitt's final drive.

Davis tried to spin the bowl loss as Pitt being the better team, which I doubt he even believed, but it sounded better than acknowledging for the third time this season (Florida State and N.C. State) UNC lost a game it should have won.

Even with all the injuries and personnel problems on offense, UNC was unbelievably close to 11-2. Instead, their coach had to apologize for being "not as smart as we needed to" and 8-5.

• Greg Little (SirGregory8) gave Cincinnati receiver and prolific tweeter Chad Ochocinco a shout-out on Twitter on Saturday: "Ocho tune in to espn ...Somebody will kiss the baby today."

Little celebrated his first touchdown, a spectacular 15-yard catch in the first quarter, by punting the ball into the stands (no word if that's slang for "kissing the baby" or not).

"I didn't plan it," Little insisted after the game after confirming what he wrote on Twitter. "It just happened."

Little was penalized 15 yards for the "impromptu" celebration and also got lit up by Davis on the sidelines.

• Given the loyalty Davis and offensive coordinator John Shoop have shown to quarterback T.J. Yates — choosing him over Cam Sexton in 2007 and again at the end of 2008 — it's hardly a certainty that his 31st career start was his last but you have to figure that freshman Bryn Renner will be given every opportunity to win the starting job in 2010.

Yates plateaued, at best, and regressed, at worst, in his third season as UNC's starting quarterback. With his experience, there's no reason he should have even attempted the pass that was intercepted in the second quarter at the goal line.

And it's not just the random bad decisions (not that Shoop is absolved for calling a pass after running back Ryan Houston ran 10 times on the 12-play drive). Yates throws a fastball on nearly every pass attempt. For a guy with such good touch on his deep throws, he has no "off" switch on shorter or intermediate routes.

He threw a great ball, with a ton of mustard, to Little for a third-quarter touchdown. A post route between the corner and safety is when you are supposed to load the gun and sling it.

On second-and-goal on the same series as the interception in the second quarter, Yates threw a heater to the left corner of the back of the end zone that would have been too high for Yao Ming. He has got to lead Little on that throw with some air, not zip it as hard as he can.

Those are decisions that a third-year starter should be making in their sleep and ultimately that could be what costs him his starting job as a senior.

The book on Renner is that he's more athletic, and by all accounts, has been strong in practice (he won the team's award for best practice player). In normal circumstances, you would give a would-be senior with 31 starts the edge in decision-making but Yates' play Saturday suggests otherwise. -- J.P. Giglio

34 comments:

Anonymous said...

These what-if games are pretty silly. Any team can build a case for what-if plays, calls and injuries. A better what-if is: what would happen if Davis was as good of a coach as he is a recruiter?

The guy is Amato without the chest.

Anonymous said...

it is the kind of players that Davis recruits that will always yield this result.

Punting the ball in celebration & dumb penalties.

Lets see what next year brings...

Anonymous said...

A dumber tarheels team would have finished 5-7 and NOT made it to a bowl game.It is what it is.....tarheel football hahahah

The Reid said...

JP, what do you think the likelihood is that we see Bryn Renner lining up under center next September in the Georgia Dome against LSU in the first game of the year for the Heels?

Anonymous said...

If my aunt had a pair she would be my uncle.

Anonymous said...

Anonymouse DECEMBER 28, 2009 1:02 AM,

Newsflash! You aunt has quite a pair and is Chuck Amato your uncle?

Anonymous said...

The Carolina Would Haves or the Carolina What ifs?

What do you like better?

Anonymous said...

The Tar Heels need to get their Matt Moore.......... If you follow the Heels you know TJ is Jake JR...

Anonymous said...

With this logic , the holes should have lost at UConn and Va Tech - they got outplayed in both games. The holes have sold their soul to the devil The Cheif is turning UNC-Nike into the Thug U of the North - the difference they still suck and the Observer treats them with kids gloves...pathetic

Anonymous said...

(snicker)

Anonymous said...

How many games have the Heels blown by terrible clock management? In the Heels last possession of the the first half, Yates could have used all of the clock on every snap, and Little or Houston could have run the ball. At worst UNC would have had time for a tying field goal. Instead, Pittsburgh got plenty of time to drive down for a field goal to lead at the half. In a 2-point game, this was the difference. At the end of the second half, Pittsburgh showed how to milk the clock. Clock management has been one of the big problems for the Heels all year -- partly on Yates, partly on Davis.

Anonymous said...

Punting the ball into the stands signify the stupidity of the players on our team. A few seasons ago, it was marijuana that took its toll on the team. Now it is just plain old dummies representing our beloved school. This is NOT the Carolina way!!!

Butch Greene said...

To say Davis recruits thugs is so very tabloid and TMZ. It's just blurting out hate. Players are responsible for their own arrogance, intelligence and aptitude. Have any of you ever had pads on? It's a game of anger, aggression, ferocity and ill intent. Top athletes ALL have a mean streak. Conduct is an issue at all levels, no matter what team. All programs have to deal with it. Clemson suspended 4, USC 4, Florida 3....

Anonymous said...

Gotta agree with the last two posts. As a long time Carolina fan, I don't want to hear excuses for stupidity. There are no excuses for the continuous lack of team discipline and boneheaded coaching mistakes. It seems the justifications for a $2 million salary at UNC are small indeed!

Anonymous said...

I'm not looking forward to our first game vs. LSU. Hey Butch, if we have ANY CHANCE vs. LSU, you've got to correct the stupid mistakes. And punting the ball into the stands is a class act all the way.

Anonymous said...

Great recruiter, average game day coach, poor disciplinarian. That's Davis in a nutshell.

Anonymous said...

"Great recruiter, average game day coach, poor disciplinarian. That's Davis in a nutshell."

Sounds like a smoke and mirrors character. I want him to return his ill-begotten raise!

Anonymous said...

What about the games UNC won, but shouldn't have (cough-cough...UConn & VT...cough-cough)? Can't have it both ways.
So they lost some they shouldn't have. They won some that way, too.

Anonymous said...

Is this article a joke? What a homer this 'author' is.

You really have to be drinking the blue kool-aid if you think this team is anywhere near the ballpark that actual 11-2 teams play in.

They shouldn't have won either the NCSU game or the PITT game. They COULD have, but they really aren't good enough to do that; so they didn't.

This program is average at best. They are over-paying for their coach and their talent is as average as the program is. 11-2? hahahaha

Anonymous said...

While a lack of smarts during the year is true. The Heels did get awared for a high graduation rate. If you want stupid, take N.C. State. By O'Brian(Life of) statement he has run off 27 of State's players in the last two years. Not even close to players get degrees.

Anonymous said...

I would argue that the Miami game was also a game UNC easily could have lost. But for Burney's career day, they probably get blown off the field. Even the BC game, 5 int's and a fumble recovery? You can't rely on turnovers every year. This was a dream season considering everything that happened. Not really sure why it had to be considering the talent UNC has.

Anonymous said...

OBrein has run off 27 kids because they dont tow the line, period....Butch reenters Thug Little on the next offensive play right after the "punt"
OBrein=disciplinarian
Davis=thug supporter

oh yeah ....3-0

Anonymous said...

Please, get the names right:

"Tom O'Brien" (not O'Brian or O'Brein)

and

"Butch Davis" (He is the coach dressed in Duke blue)

Anonymous said...

Whoever said Davis is Amato sans the chest is a complete idiot. Davis is a program-builder; Amato destroys them. Butch has Carolina going in the right direction; this is football, and it has a longer build-cycle than basketball. Yes, the mental mistakes were killers this year...it's all part of the progression:

Year 1- not enough talent, but well-prepared. Lose alot of close games....finish 4-8

Year 2- better talent and more familiarity w/ the system of doing things....lost some they shouldn't have lost b/c of inexperience, win 8 games, which was about right for the talent level on the field.

Year 3- outrageous expectations relative to talent ON the field at this point, but managed to fight off a ridiculous number of injuries (the entire OLine was wiped out at one point) and inept QB play to rebound w/ 4 straight wins in the middle to late part of the year to have a solid season. Yes, still making mental errors, but now simply have to play a bit smarter to quit losing games where they have the clearly superior team (MooU, uva, and FSU). Should've been a 9-10 W team, but they'll get there, b/c they won't keep losing to inferior teams as they learn to put the mental part of the game w/ the physical. Year 4 will find better talent still on the field, and coupled w/ a battle-tested and adversity-tested team, the ABCers are gonna be whining! 10 Ws....mark it down.

And whoever said that the Heels should've lost to VaTech and Miami obviously doesn't know anything about football: UNC dominated those games from a playing perspective! Those games weren't the mirror-image of the UNC Ls to mooU and FSU...in those games the team that played better for the vast majority of the games LOST. In the VaTech and Miami games, the team that played better WON.

Butch Greene said...

I agree he should have benched Little immediately for a series. But as for punishing offenders, he kicked off an O-lineman with domestic issues at the start of the year knowing his line was depleted. And he suspended his #1 backup defensive end, Moss, before the bowl game for a player to player altercation at the NC State game.
And as someone else eluded, next season will be the 1st year he'll have 4 solid years of his own recruits.

We're talking about a team that former coach Bunting recruited so poorly, they lost to Furman. Can you imagine? He increased wins by 300% his first year. hah hah.

Anonymous said...

Torbush lost to Furman, but please continue the 3rd grade discussion

Anonymous said...

Torbush lost to Furman, Bunting actually improved the "program" as he recruited better in the end than Torbush. What did Bunting in was his proclivity to get absolutely blown out on occasion. Butch's teams have played games much closer in losses. I'll take that.

Shoop has actually made a lot of adjustments this year. He basically redid the entire blocking and running scheme prior to the VT game-using more pulling and WR handoffs to help spread the field. We've had to switch from a scatback to a big back who accelerates slowly. We lost our go-to pass catcher (Zach P) for a long stretch of the year. When we've tried to throw more our young WR's get beat to the ball (notice how Nicks last year never let a DB get around him) or they get sloppy after the catch and drop it. Then there were the injuries along an already mediocre OL. Without dependable playmakers, our experienced QB tried to do too much and turned the ball over...

Anonymous said...

Giglio sounds like a flack for Carolina. Every team claims it should have one or two more of the close one. How many close wins should the Heels have lost? Two or three surely. The game was close in score only. Pitt had a running back with what 170 yds/ The Heel D was/is over touted. Just a giggilo
is Giglio.

Tyrone said...

Please remember what Carolina lost on offense coming into this season. Also keep in mind that the O-line was patched up time and time again. BUT, the Heels still won 8 games and went to a bowl. With that many injuries...yeah.

Also keep in mind that A LOT of these players were Bunting's guys, Marvin Austin and a few others are the exception because Bunting actually had a class coming in before he was fired and Davis went out to re-recruit a lot of them and those guys will be Seniors next season. He's halfway with his first FULL recruiting class. I say his record isn't bad and comparing Butch to Amato? What are u guys smoking on?

Tyrone said...

P.S. Some costly throws by Yates have coast UNC at least 3 victories this season and Yates wasn't his recruit. Also, another reason why I NEVER trust starting a Freshman QB even a redshirt one unless he's Peyton Manning.

Look for Brenner to be under center next season.

Tyrone said...

What about the games UNC won, but shouldn't have (cough-cough...UConn & VT...cough-cough)? Can't have it both ways.
So they lost some they shouldn't have. They won some that way, too.
_____________________________________

I give you V-Tech BUT, UConn didn't outplay Carolina as much as folks like to believe. The guy HELD dude in the endzone, it's illegal, the penalty is a safety. Why are folks having a hard time figuring that out?

But, I'll indulge you. Trade the UConn/V-Tech and give UNC, the State, UVA(a game they didn't play well), FSU, and Pitt games.

It ends up at 10-3 if we're following logic...

Tyrone said...

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would argue that the Miami game was also a game UNC easily could have lost. But for Burney's career day, they probably get blown off the field. Even the BC game, 5 int's and a fumble recovery? You can't rely on turnovers every year. This was a dream season considering everything that happened. Not really sure why it had to be considering the talent UNC has.
________________________

Turnovers are apart of the game. Carolina did a great job in forcing them. Give the them credit...

What's next, can't rely on Touchdowns ever game? Man, the ABC crowd is ALWAYS in full effect. Imagine if folks had THAT much hatred for State? But, then again there has to be some type of history for success for that to happen.

hoopla said...

In a world where only 2 teams get to play for the national championship, what's the difference between 8-5 and 11-2? You're still playing in an exhibition football game.

Anonymous said...

...but they didn't go 11-2, they went 8-5. This article is a joke.