The North Carolina football team (0-2) travels to Norfolk, Virginia, this weekend to play Old Dominion University. Ron Thulin, who has worked with Turner Sports and Fox Sports, will be the play-by-play commentator for Saturday’s game. In a conversation with sports editor Chapel Fowler, Thulin offered some insight on UNC’s opponent.
The Daily Tar Heel: Old Dominion has recorded 15 sacks in just two games. What makes its defensive line so successful?
Ron Thulin: They really run an eight-man rotation. So every four plays, they change defensive linemen. Guys can go longer but defensive coordinator Rich Nagy really wants these guys to be fresh. And that has really helped. Guys like Bunmi Rotimi, Pat Toal Jr., Miles Fox, Oshane Ximines — that’s the front four. But you look at the 15 sacks, 13 and a half are by the defensive linemen. That’s pretty special … And these guys are playing with a lot of confidence. And I remember a couple of years ago talking to Rich and he knew that this would be the year that the defense would be a lot better than people thought they would … What makes them go is the defensive line.
DTH: Just like UNC, Old Dominion has used two quarterbacks this season. How is that competition progressing?
RT: You’ve got Blake LaRussa and Jordan Hoy, both sophomores. Both are still learning. Both are probably going to play … They’re still learning. (Head coach) Bobby Wilder told me in July they need reps. He knew that. One is a better passer than the other. I think LaRussa is probably the better passer. Hoy is the better runner. He’s good on option reads. Now, how he’s going to do against a Power Five conference? I don’t know. This is going to be a big test for these guys, because they are going to see a lot of things from the defense from North Carolina that they haven’t seen in their last two games.