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Heel Tough Blog: Western Carolina Recap

Grant Halverson- Getty Images

Senior Day in 2020 didn’t have quite the same feel as it has in the past few seasons, but the all fourteen of the senior honorees that dressed on Saturday got to see playing time in a convincing 49-9 win in the home finale against the Western Carolina Catamounts. It is tough to take a lot away from these types of games, but we give you a look at a few things that we did learn on Saturday.

Defense Wasn’t Able to Make the Most of This Game

This was a chance for the Tar Heel defense to gain some confidence by dominating an inferior offense that had struggled so far this season, but the Catamounts offense was able to move the ball on this first team defense a few times in the first half. The defensive line, which had a chance to simply overpower the Catamount offensive struggled to get much push up front and the back seven wasn’t able to fill the gaps behind them, allowing a couple of sizable gains. The mobility of the Catamount quarterbacks also seemed to cause this Tar Heel team issues once again, a bad sign with the elusive D’Eriq King looming next week for this defense. The defense still had a nice day statiscally, but this was a game that this defense could have simply dominated in and they didn’t.

Running Back Position Battle Will Be the One to Watch in the Offseason

The Tar Heels may very well be faced with replacing one of the most productive two back tandems in the country at season’s end, but at the least, the team will need to find a replacement for Michael Carter who will play his final game with the team next week. All four of the depth options that will be competing in the offseason got carries in this game and showed some nice flashes. Elijah Green has some impressive acceleration and speed and could be a dangerous option for the Tar Heels next year, especially if he can add some more mass in the offseason. Fellow true freshman D.J. Jones also had a nice day, finding the end zone for the first touchdown of his young and showing he can run in between the tackles with his physical running style. Josh Henderson is another guy who will have the chance to factor in and he once again showed that he has the power to be able to run in between the Tar Heels in his four carries. Even British Brooks, a guy who is set to be a senior walk-on next year, will get a chance to factor in and he was able to get a few carries late in this one. Add in Kamarro Edmonds and possibly even Caleb Hood who will arrive ahead of and the future looks promising and deep at the position even if they are faced with the task of replacing Carter and Williams.

Youth on Defense Continues to Make Impressions

While a lot of the guys who played today won’t see action in the final game of the regular season next Saturday against Miami, the young rotational guys on defense continued to show that they deserve reps with the first team. Kaimon Rucker was the standout amongst the group on Saturday, leading the team in tackles and flying around the field all afternoon. Myles Murphy and Clyde Pinder Jr. saw significant snaps again on the interior of the defensive line and looked good once again, while Des Evans flashed a couple of times at the edge rusher spot, a position that he started in for the second consecutive week. Tony Grimes started opposite of Kyler McMichael for the second consecutive game and was targeted just once in coverage, as he had another promising showing. Overall, this defense did not have a great day, but when the young guys took over, there was a lot to be encouraged about once again.


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