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Clinic Talk: What the UNC Tar Heels will run against the Miami Hurricanes

Breaking down screenshots and GIFs of UNC vs FSU and VT

NCAA Football: North Carolina at Florida State
UNC vs Miami could be a bigger showdown than with FSU
Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

Coach Larry Fedora has his Tar Heels firing on all cylinders in 2016. I was at the bowl game in Orlando that saw UNC get boat raced by Baylor. How the tables have turned with Art Briles unemployed and Fedora’s Heels 4-2 and looking to knock off all of the ACC’s alleged powers in FSU, Virginia Tech, and Miami. How has Coach Fedora done it? With a tough but fair approach and an RPO laden offense while playing tough defense.

I had the pleasure of seeing Larry Fedora speak at AFCA in San Antonio and he really is a motivating and inspirational speaker. I would run through a wall for him, as the saying goes. I took notes as fast as humanly possible and even broke my own rules by snapping pictures of his PowerPoint slides (it’s pretty annoying to see through the phone in the air guy at clinics). His attention to detail and expectations are second to none. Hearing how he labels lockers so NFL scouts know who works hard and who doesn’t, and his other tools are the key to his success at UNC.

Now to scheme. Below you see a play-action pass from 20 personnel with a nice smash route to the top. Smash is a quick hitch/corner combination. It works great against cover 2 teams, putting the CB in a conflict- do I cover the hitch or the corner route going on top.

Below, there is another classic concept like “6” from the Mike Leach playbook. “6” or four verts is a great concept for finding space and sitting in it. Everyone runs to landmarks, the outside WR’s run the #’s and will break outside for space. The slots will run the hashes. In the UNC example, they twist the two inside receivers with #2 running to the far hash and #3 sticking nearby. That’s a change from “6” but a great change that gets people lost in coverage.

Next, we see a favorite RPO of the Patriots as well as the Heels. The split-zone RPO where the H-Back runs into the flat and the slot drags across the field, lost in the run reads the OL provides in an RPO. With the linebackers up the drag goes uncovered.

While this last GIF is a tough tell, I believe it’s another split-zone RPO, with a fade by the Z at the bottom of the screen. The go to tell on RPO vs play-action is usually an OL working second level, which the left guard (LG) does below.

For the defensive breakdown, I’m taking a look at the Virginia Tech vs UNC game, and you’ve seen pieces of it against the Noles from the preview for the FSU/Miami game.

Above, the UNC defense vs 20 personnel

That’s a pretty standard 4-2-5 you’re obviously seeing a ton of around college football. They’re sticking to a 2-high shell which cuts down on your “6” or 4-verts type stuff but also leaves running lanes with a 6 man box.

Above, the UNC defense vs 20 personnel, again

One thing I’ve noticed is UNC getting the 3-tech opposite the tailback versus to the side of the fullback/h-back. This means they’re trying to stop inside zone first an foremost, which is a bad sign for Miami. Look at both shots, the QB pulling has a lot of potential, especially from the split-zone. The nearest alley player in both is almost 15 yards deep (safety).

Above, the UNC defense vs 21 personnel with jet motion

UNC’s overall confusion led to a touchdown here. VT using jet motion from the Z and outnumbering UNC to the point of attack (the bottom of the screen).

Above, the UNC defense vs 21 personnel with jet motion

UNC lined up a little better here but they look weak to a counter play to the bottom of the screen.

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