North Carolina's first half of football this season had a little bit of everything — positive and negative — that could be expected of first-year coach, true freshman quarterback and several newcomers feeling out new roles.
With South Carolina leading 13-6, the Tar Heels have to feel good about what's transpired in the big picture, but some disappointment that the game isn't at least tied.
The Good for Carolina
- Chazz Surratt has been better than could ever be expected from a guy making his debut at linebacker, finishing the half with six tackles while teaming Jeremiah Gemmell for a key sack. Surratt also had a third-down quarterback hurry in the first quarter.
- Sam Howell hasn't chanced anything in terms of throwing the ball, completing 7 of 11 attempts for 94 yards.
- The offensive line has given Michael Carter an opportunity to hit his gaps, and he's made the best of it, rushing for 66 yards on 12 carries.
- After allowing 90 yards on nine carries in the first quarter, the Tar Heels tightened up in the second, allowing four yards on seven carries.
- South Carolina has had several opportunities to blow the game wide open, and each time, the Tar Heels have fought back. That's a big step for a team that hasn't played with much confidence in the past two seasons.
The Bad for Carolina
- One priority for Mack Brown was cleaning up mistakes, and so far, Carolina is on pace to exceed last year's penalty average with six for 50 yards. The Tar Heels just arent' good enough to overcome that rate of penalties.
- Howell is clearly fearless, which is a positive, but he's repeatedly subjected himself to big hits. With two scholarship quarterbacks on the roster, he's going to have to learn to slide or get himself out of the way.
- Trey Morrison was injured in the first quarter, which is a major blow for an already-thin secondary.
- Of the 12 offensive plays Carolina has run inside the South Carolina 25-yard line, 11 have been runs. There's clearly a trust issue in either the quarterback or receivers when it matters the most.