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The Daily Tar Heel

Struggling UNC offense looks to remedy its ills

TV/Radio: TV coverage will be provided by ESPN360.com. Radio coverage will be broadcast by WCHL 1360 AM, WRDU 106.1.

A visit from another Football Championship Subdivision team should be just what the doctor ordered for a North Carolina offense that’s ailing, both mentally and physically.

Injuries early in the season knocked out two starters from an offensive line that already lacked depth.

T.J. Yates’ security blanket in the passing game, tight end Zack Pianalto, also remains absent from the offensive huddle with a bum foot.

Furthermore, the Tar Heels are dealing with the fallout from a pair of offensive showings they’d rather forget.

UNC’s offense failed to gain 200 yards in its last two games against Georgia Tech and Virginia, and it put a total of just 10 points on the scoreboard in those contests.

In its game against the Cavaliers, North Carolina failed to move the ball into the red zone even once.

That all should change against a Georgia Southern team that should be overmatched from the opening snap.

Coach Butch Davis talked of simplifying his team’s offense in order to get it back on track, and it won’t get any more simple for UNC than the worst defense remaining on its schedule.

Yates, who has been hounded relentlessly with pressure, should be able to stand in the pocket an extra second or two against the Eagles, giving him time to get in a rhythm with his young receivers and look farther downfield.

 Running backs Shaun Draughn and Ryan Houston should also benefit from the Tar Heels’ physical advantage. UNC’s ground game has had problems finding running lanes, but they should find some more space and bigger holes.

One area North Carolina has had no problems with has been the play of its defense. The veteran unit ranks No. 8 nationally in total defense, allowing just more than 251 yards per game.

Georgia Southern Lee Chapple has thrown for 991 yards and six touchdowns on the season, but he’s also tossed six interceptions.

Deunta Williams and the secondary should force a few turnovers to put UNC’s offense in good field position. Yates and Co. should be able to convert those opportunities blow off some frustration with a couple touchdowns.

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