CORAL GABLES (CBSMiami) – This week the University of Miami rolls into Chapel Hill to face North Carolina in a 12 p.m. kickoff from Keenan Stadium.
The past several years North Carolina has run an up tempo high scoring offense, but this season UNC is averaging 21 points per game and struggling to generate big plays.
They want to run the ball with highly decorated recruits Jordan Brown and Michael Carter, but against the ACC are rushing for only 101 yards per game.
LB Shaquille Quarterman says the key for the defense this week is to stop the run.
“The biggest challenge is stopping the run,” Quarterman said. “They do a lot of good things when it comes to running the ball with getting the ball on the perimeter and getting downhill. They run their quarterback a lot, which they have to account for.
On defense North Carolina is 106th in scoring allowing 34 points per game, 108th in total defense allowing 451 yards a game.
It could be a look ahead game for Miami as Virginia Tech and Notre Dame loom in the next 2 weeks for Miami, but Coach Mark Richt says his team isn’t good enough to look past any opponent.
“If we were rolling everybody,” Richt said, “by three touchdowns, no drama … if we were having that kind of a roll, maybe. But we’re just finding ways to win at the end of games. We’re not foolish enough to think we’ve arrived. I don’t think they believe that. They know we’ve got to earn it.
Miami has won 11 games in a row dating back to last year. They’re 6-0 this season and 4-0 in the ACC. It’s possible a win against UNC and a victory the following week against Virginia Tech would clinch the Coastal Division and a first trip to the ACC Championship game. It’s important to note Miami has won its last 3 games by 4.3 points in each game.
“Good things are happening, but it takes time to recruit, over time, to get your roster deep enough with guys that can really play at a championship level,” Richt said. “We’re just trying to get to the point in recruiting where we have guys we feel very comfortable playing two-deep, three-deep. … Trying to get used to winning, a winning culture, hopefully that’s being developed.
On offense Miami has been scoring from distance, but the red zone is where Miami must improve. The Canes have scored touchdowns in the red zone only 54 per cent of the time.
Offensive coordinator Thomas Brown “In the red zone and goal line we struggle, mainly because there’s less space,” “We have to execute better. It’s not a play calling deal, bad design, it’s just me against you, one on one, not run a guy over, make a guy miss… that adds to our struggle trying to score touchdowns in the red zone.” Brown also said RB Travis Homer’s reads aren’t always good in the red zone and that he “has to do a better job.