North Carolina’s offense goes fast.
The Tar Heels ranked No. 19 in the country last year with 1,005 plays. That’s an average of 77 per game. South Carolina’s defense faced 70 per game a year ago.
"It’s going to come down to us getting back to the line of scrimmage, getting calls and getting lined up," said Gamecocks defensive line coach Deke Adams, who spent four season coaching under North Carolina head coach Larry Fedora.
That could be difficult with so many new faces in new places this season.
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"They are going to do everything they can do to wear us out up front," said sophomore defensive tackle Dante Sawyer, one of those new faces, "but we’re in great shape."
The tempo is hard for scout team offenses to simulate in practice, which is one reason preparing for up tempo teams is so difficult, but there’s at least one South Carolina defender who is well prepared. Senior safety Isaiah Johnson, who transferred this season from Kansas, said the Tar Heels offense looks very much like the offenses he faced in the Big 12.
"I am used to seeing it," he said.
And he’s trying to pass along that knowledge to his younger teammates.
"I know we are going to be prepared come Thursday," he said.
The high temperature in Charlotte on Thursday is forecast to be 92 degrees, and the low is forecast to be 69. In case you were wondering.