Heel Tough Blog: Trench Report- Duke
Let’s just say I was so sick after the loss at Virginia Tech, I couldn’t write a trench report for that gut wrenching loss in Blacksburg. A week later I’ve returned to better health, and much has to do so with Carolina bringing home the Victory Bell. Carolina hadn‘t beaten Duke since the magical 2015 season. A road loss to the Blue Devils in 2016 is the day I believe Larry Fedora lost his team. Fast forward to Saturday, Mack Brown is on the sidelines, and his team played their tails off to win 20-17. The win sets the Heels up for a fun and interesting November. Your trench report Saturday:
Entering Saturday, there was some caution as to if Carolina could protect the young Sam Howell, after a uneven performance the previous week. They answered the call, as the signal caller was only sacked one time. Now there were times that the Duke defensive front pushed around the Carolina front, but the guys did a good enough job to help the offense stay afloat. Where the Heels excelled was in the run game, as Carolina paved the way for over 200 yards rushing. While the backs were good at running through contact, the line opened up holes for them to get to the second level. The resiliency the group upfront can’t be understated, as Stacy Searles has done a fabulous job his first year in Chapel Hill. Up next is another tough test as the Virginia Cavaliers come to town. The Heels will need to be sound up front, as the Cavs defense is among the conferences best.
Jason Strowbridge was a man among boys, tallying 10 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 2.5 tackles for loss. He set the tone for maybe the Heels best defensive effort of the season. The line did a phenomenal job containing the Duke quarterback, who Is known to pull the ball down and scamper. They also excelled at filling the gaps, which allowed the Heels trio of linebackers to flow to football and make plays. This defense continues to progress every week under coordinator Jay Bateman, but the job that Tim across has done with the big guys is understated. This Saturday will be another test, but in a different respect. Virginia doesn’t do anything flashy, but they are a sound team that won’t beat itself. The Heels will need to be disciplined from the jump, if they hope to win another rivalry game, and take control of the ACC Coastal.