NC State defensive coordinator Mike Archer broke down the North Carolina offense after practice on Tuesday. A full transcript of what the coach had to say is below:
What have you seen from the Carolina offense?
It's up-tempo, spread. The quarterback has experience. The running back is, without question, the best that we've played, he's got 800 yards in six games. The offensive line is the best, most athletic and probably all five guys will play in the NFL. They're big, very strong and do a good job of running what they do.
Their receivers were young coming into the season, but No. 14, [Quinshad] Davis, has emerged; we've played against [Erik] Highsmith and No. 6 [Sean Tapley] has done a good job. The tight end, [Eric] Ebron, is a very strong tight end that can stretch you down the field vertically.
They're the best offense that we'll face. Athletically, they're outstanding. If you look at what they've done, they've been able to move the ball against everybody. They're going to get a lot of plays in, that's what college football is now.
Do they compare to the Clemson offense?
It's a similar offense. [It's like] when Rich Rodriguez was at West Virginia, Michigan and now Arizona. They'll spread you out and get your isolated in space. It's similar to what we saw from Clemson, similar to what we saw earlier in the year in some of our other games. It will be a great test for us because of them tempo and playing on the road.
The pressure your defense creates always seems to be the key.
They're going to throw the ball quick, they're going to use their screen game. He's only been sacked five times this year. That's a credit to their offensive line and the scheme. They utilize what they do best - throw the ball and get it out on the perimeter. It's similar to what Florida State tried to do to attack us.
Dontae Johnson has been playing in the nickel a lot this year, but is that because Juston Burris has played so well on the outside?
Juston is young and Juston is typical of playing his first year at this level - he has good moments and bad moments. Florida State was probably his best game, Saturday, he had some moments where he played well, then there are other times he didn't play well. I think, young players, and in particular redshirt freshmen, every game is a learning experience and hopefully he learned from last week. That's what you hope and hopefully he'll continue to get better.
He did stay home on the pass Stefon Diggs tried last week.
He stayed home on the halfback pass, we had repped that a couple of times and said that there was an opportunity that they would do it in the red zone, and they did. He's a very coachable kid, he listens and you just hope that he continues to grow.
Is UNC different because they use their tight end as such a focal point?
He's a very talented tight end. He's a big, strong guy and they'll flex him out as a receiver. It's a four wide look - he's to the field as much as he is to the boundary. Highsmith is the leading receiver with 39, but he has 31. He looks like he is the go-to guy. He's very strong, he goes after you and attacks the ball. If it's in his area, he's going to come down with the ball. It's a matchup problem for everyone that has played them, whether it's man or zone. They're going to try to isolate him on the linebackers, so it's going to be a situation where we have to do a good job on him.
How does Giovani Bernard compare to some other running backs you've seen this year?
They use him in everything. The two guys at Miami, Johnson and James, were similar. James is a little bit bigger, Johnson is similar in size. Gio is hard to see, he reminds me a lot of the Thompson kid from Florida State that just got hurt.
He's a very quick, north-south guy, he's very hard to get off of his feet and they use him in all phases of the game - they use him in the screen, they use him on check downs, he blocks on blitzes; they're not going to take him out, he's a complete back.
He's been that way, he was that way in high school - we evaluated him in high school. He's very important to their offense, the two games that they lost, he wasn't in there. Since he's been back, you can see their offense has taken off.
How important is it to make sure you line up correctly against UNC?
You've got to go through the tempo in practice, it's hard to emulate it in practice because you only have so many bodies on the scout team. You have to see it on the film and it doesn't always show up on the film - how fast it's happening. It's communication, it's understanding where the ball is, finding the ball, getting the signal and being ready to play.