A.J. Blue Must Get on Track for North Carolina Tar Heels

By Tyler Brett
aj blue
Daniel Shirey – USA TODAY Sports

The North Carolina Tar Heels were expecting to contend for the ACC title in 2013 with an up-tempo offense with experienced leadership at every level. Things haven’t worked out that way, however, as the Heels sit at just 1-4 and 0-2 in conference play with a date against the No. 13 Miami Hurricanes looming next Thursday night. With the team on bye this week, Larry Fedora needs to find a way to get A.J. Blue on track and unlock his running game.

When the Heels lost Giovani Bernard last season to the NFL, many believed there would be a drop-off in production from the running game but that it would be minimal with the committee approach with Blue and sophomore Romar Morris. So far this season, however, the running game has been missing in action, averaging just 100 yards rushing a game as a team with Blue managing a mere 37.4 yards per contest and has yet to score a touchdown.

The senior running back has to be a bigger part of the offense moving forward and find some consistent production. Last year, he was averaging over five yards per carry in relief of Bernard and looked strong as he found the endzone nine times. Now as the No. 1 back in the offense, he’s spinning his wheels. He hasn’t come close to breaking the 100-yard mark in a game this year and has carried the ball fewer than 10 times in three of the team’s five games.

Part of the problem could be the offensive line, which has had to replace some excellent blockers from last season. But Fedora needs to figure it out and fast because the lack of balance in the offense has absolutely killed the Heels so far this season. If Blue can’t get on track, North Carolina will struggle to find many more wins this season.

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