We May Have Turned The Corner, Maybe
Just when I thought we could never lose a game that hurt as bad as the Arizona State loss, the Clemson loss may have exceeded last week's defeat. I really feel for Darian Durant because, all things considered, I thought this was one of his better games. He is not a great passer regardless of what the stats show, but the combination of passing and running skills makes him a real offensive threat every time he touches the ball. Glad I didn't have to sit next to him on the way back to Chapel Hill.
I saw some things in the Clemson game that gave me encouragement for this team and maybe, just maybe, we will look back in weeks to come as this being the game where the team finally found itself and became a respectable outfit.
Much could be said about the officiating, but I've given up on them as a lost cause some time ago. I've heard many people who watch a lot of football games say that the officials in the ACC are worse than they are in any other conference. Quite frankly, I don't know about other conferences, but there surely is room for improvement in the quality of officiating in the ACC.
I won't go into the last call on the goal line because I can't tell whether he crossed the plane of the goal line or not. The announcers were taking the line that it was a good call, but it was no clearer to me after watching several re-runs than it was live. The call that caused me to bristle was the one where Rabbit Waddell intercepted the pass. If I have ever seen a "clean" interception, that was it. Had I been Waddell I don't think I could have cleared my mind sufficiently to finish the game. Had interference not been called, we would have had the ball and only 5 points behind. I don't know which call had Coach Bunting going after an official after the game, but I could sympathize with him even though I know it was futile.
The most interesting play in the game to me was the next to last play of the first half. Arm chair quarterbacks and sofa coaches like me can think of all kinds of strategies in the calm of our den, but I was thinking that UNC players should have been instructed to grab the receiver by the jersey and NOT pull him to the ground until the clock ran out. It would have been dangerous but would have allowed the clock to run out before they called time out which, of course, enabled Clemson to kick a field goal. That field goal became an important part of the game in addition to providing Clemson with a momentum shift right before the end of the half. Something no coach wants to do.
I had never thought of it before, but that play caused me to wonder if an offensive team can call time out while the play is still live. I wouldn't think so, but you never know. I don't have a rule book so I don't know who is authorized to call time outs. In basketball, I don't believe a coach can call time out, but I'm not absolutely sure. You can tell I haven't completely cleared the game out of my memory bank yet.
So now, whatever pain was experienced in practice this past week will have to be endured again at an elevated level. And it doesn't get any easier because it's the Terrapins at their place. Lord, I remember that game last year. I sat through the entire game, but I'm not sure that I could sit through another game where the opponent scored 59 unanswered points on the Heels. If you remember, we scored first as we had the previous year in College Park, but then did practically nothing right for the rest of the game.
This the first time I have seen the Heels on TV this year and I am able to see some things on TV that I can't see in person. It may have something to do with my eyesight. At any rate, I'm more encouraged about the team this week than I was last week against AS. This team can play better defense, on occasions, than the stats show.