Tudor: Heels can't get complacent, time for away games

Staff WriterSeptember 18, 2011 

— The perfectionist side of Kevin Reddick's personality left him upset that Virginia was able to rush for 170 yards in Kenan Stadium on Saturday.

North Carolina's top linebacker then learned that Georgia Tech earlier in the afternoon had rushed for 604 yards in a 66-24 win over Kansas.

"Oooh. Really?" Reddick said. "Six hundred yards. Six hundred yards is a lot. A whole lot."

With those words, the Tar Heels' celebration of a fairly routine 28-17 victory over the Cavaliers began to wane.

The win left UNC in exactly the position expected by many ACC fans - 3-0 overall and 1-0 in the league after three straight home games under interim head coach Everett Withers.

Virginia (2-1, 0-1) added a dash of mystery a week after Rutgers took advantage of five UNC turnovers to make it interesting. The opening-season romp over James Madison went according to assumptions.

But now comes the tough part. It begins with a trip to Georgia Tech this Saturday (time TBA), followed by another to ECU on Oct. 1.

"This is when we'll find out a lot more about ourselves - where we really stand," said Reddick, a 240-pound junior from New Bern.

"It's time for a road game. I think we're ready, but we've got a lot of work to do against the run. Virginia was tough, but we made too many mistakes on gap responsibilities."

Assignment mistakes against Georgia Tech's deceptive option offense could result in a rushing yardage double the 170 Virginia managed with its traditional formation.

The early schedule has established that UNC has its share of weapons.

Some turnover problems aside, new quarterback starter Bryn Renner has emerged an accurate thrower who is capable of making the full range of passes from the pocket.

Thanks to redshirt freshman Giovani Bernard, the rushing attack is more explosive than it has been in years.

Led by Dwight Jones, the cast of wide-outs may be the best in the ACC.

The offensive line has been effective. The defense certainly hasn't been pushed around.

"But," Reddick said, "I think we can be a lot better than we've shown. We have the talent to be one of the best defenses out there, but we have to show it all game. Today, we had too many breakdowns, and that took away from the game we could have had."

Virginia didn't score a touchdown until about five minutes into the third quarter until the Heels got caught in an awkward blitz and misplayed a play-action, boot-leg pass by Cavalier quarterback Michael Rocco to fullback Max Millen. What was designed to be a 10-yard gain would end up being a 41-yard touchdown.

Later, Renner fumbled a snap exchange on Virginia's 2-yard-line and put his team ahead 28-10.

"But I think we're close to getting everything together," Jones said. "But it's tougher playing on the road. We've got a lot of new players who aren't used to it. We're not where we want to be, but I can see us doing big things."

And considering the way Georgia Tech has destroyed three opponents, the first "big thing" of the season is at hand for the Heels.

caulton.tudor@newsobserver.com or 919-829-8946

News & Observer is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service