The Sunday Sampler – UNC

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Devin Wallace lined up across from Dwight Jones for the first play of the game, but the coverage call was for a zone defense.

Not a whole lot went right for the Virginia football team on Saturday as North Carolina rolled to a 44-10 victory and halted its long Charlottesville losing streak in the process. The Cavaliers’ night started on the wrong foot when the Tar Heels scored in just 17 seconds and things scarcely improved the rest of the way.

When asked after the game how giving up a big touchdown play so early affects a team battling a losing streak, UVa coach Mike London said it does have an impact but that you have to learn to bounce back against adversity.

“It takes the wind out of your sails. Things happen in the game like that. Your ability to respond back to that is something where you find out what your team is made of,” London said.

So what happened on the play? The Hoos didn’t execute the called coverage well enough. Live, it appeared that cornerback Devin Wallace lost track of Carolina receiver Dwight Jones on the play as he started his crossing route, something I typed as I took notes during the game. The replay immediately showed that Wallace appeared to release Jones to other coverage so I noted that too.

Looking further at the replay on, after asking defensive coordinator Jim Reid for clarification after the game, it’s easier to dissect where the breakdown occurred. And the missed tackle on the edge really was a chance to prevent further damage on missed coverage.

First, looking at the defense, the Cavaliers lined up in a base 4-3 defense with the strong side slanted to the defense’s right. Ausar Walcott , the strong side backer, is lined up just one yard off the line of scrimmage to the outside shoulder of defensive end Cam Johnson. The other two linebackers, Aaron Taliaferro and LaRoy Reynolds, split the right hash, where the ball is located, in a two-point stance; the Hoos’