Issue date: 10/17/07 Section: Sports
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Like the rest of the student body, the North Carolina football team has this weekend off from competition to rest up over fall break.
And if there was ever a perfect time to have a bye week, it is now for the Tar Heels, who are coming off a deadly stretch of their schedule.
In the last five weeks, UNC has played against teams with a combined 28-6 record, three of which - South Florida, Virginia Tech and South Carolina - were ranked in the Top 25.
"I think it's probably the most difficult schedule in the history of Carolina," coach Butch Davis said.
And while UNC lost four of those five, their margin of defeat was a touchdown or less in three of them.
"We may be closer than we think, but yet we're still not over the hump," Davis said. "There's things that we have done that we've missed some opportunities. We've done some things that have put us in the position to win games, but we haven't done enough to get over the hump."
Davis and the coaching staff have begun a meticulous evaluation period, which will continue until the team returns to action at Wake Forest on Oct. 27.
Tar Heels mix in trickery
The North Carolina offense mixed in some new wrinkles to the playbook last Saturday against South Carolina.
Freshman wide receiver Greg Little and senior wideout Joe Dailey, formerly a quarterback, lined up under center to take some direct snaps and run the option.
And Davis offered a lighthearted explanation of the inspiration behind these trick plays Tuesday.
"Right off of Xbox," he said. "During the week we go straight to Madden and Xbox, and we look for special plays and we just try to pull them in."
One of the usual suspects involved in such plays, junior wide receiver and kick returner Brandon Tate, was knocked out of the game on Saturday in the second quarter.
Davis said that Tate underwent the typical evaluations for a concussion and that "he's going to be fine."
Three-headed RB continues
On Saturday, UNC had its third leading rusher in the last four games, as freshman Johnny White stepped up and gained 37 rushing yards.
But it was his explosiveness that stood out, as his gains included a 21-yard scamper and a 33-yard catch.
"He certainly brought in a little bit of speed," Davis said of White. "Certainly the catching part out of the backfield, he showed some burst and got it downfield."
White adds another facet to the running game to complement Anthony Elzy and Ryan Houston.