AJC: Heels Fifth in the Coastal

The Atlanta-Journal Constitution puts together some capsules on each ACC team coming out of spring practice and where they might end up come early December. Tar Heels are predicted to go absolutely nowhere from their fifth place spot a season ago.

NORTH CAROLINA

• Fall forecast: Fifth in Coastal

WHAT WE LEARNED

Joe Dailey
could make a better receiver than a quarterback. The former Nebraska and UNC signal caller had an impressive spring after considering giving up football entirely. … New coach Butch Davis wishes he could have had 15 more days of spring practice. “Even then I’m not sure that I would have been comfortable but there is so much that we have to do here,” he said. … Fans can’t wait for Marvin Austin to show up. Rated the nation’s No. 1 recruit by some services and compared to Julius Peppers, he’s expected to help take a solid defensive line to the next level.

WHAT WE DIDN’T

Will Marietta’s T.J. Yates get the nod at quarterback? The redshirt freshman and former Pope High star had the best spring game effort — 10-for-15, 163 yards — but will get camp competition from sophomore Cameron Sexton and highly regarded recruit Mike Paulus. For now, Davis is keeping the job open. … We’re not sure how much trouble the Tar Heels could be in at tailback. But it doesn’t look good. Barrington Edwards, the back with the most experience, has been suspended indefinitely. The other returnees have a grand total of eight carries. Seven of those came from a walk-on. … How quickly can Davis, who won big at Miami, turn things around in Chapel Hill? “These guys are so tired of losing that they are willing to buy in to what we’re selling,” said the coach, who inherits a 3-9 team.

Here is the upside. I think UNC is going to be rated lower because there are way too many factors which cannot be nailed down at this point. The fact no one knows if Barrington Edwards will be back or not is a big deal as well as how the QB race will turn out and how much production they can get from some very young players. In other words it could be 6-6 or 3-9, no one can say for sure because no one knows that the depth chart is going to look like when James Madison hits town.

The other side of this for me is I am entrenched in the idea that this season is less about the record and more about simply getting the fans back into football in Chapel Hill. I know that sounds like a contradiction because winning usually brings the fans back but at the same time I think the presence of Davis, the attitude he brings, and the fact I do think we will see a more competitive product on the field this season versus the past six will move this ship in the right direction.

As for these predictions I think it absolutely strains credibility to think that Georgia Tech is going to beat Virginia Tech in the Coastal. The Hokies return Sean Glennon at QB(and if not the backup is good as well) plus Brandon Ore(1137 yards and 16 TDs as a sophomore) at RB not to mention all of their starters on defense but one. By the way that defense was ranked #1 in scoring defense. Also, if you read the capsule for VT the only concern mentioned for actual on-the-field issues is a new placekicker and punter. I think they will be fine. Georgia Tech has a new QB and no Calvin Johnson. A new QB has to be an upgrade from Reggie Ball(of course the starting QB at Independence in Charlotte would be an upgrade over Ball) but Calvin Johnson went to the NFL so who are they going to throw the ball to? I do not see the Jackets topping VT.

And NC State in sixth place? That seems a little low for them given I think they will be a smarter team under O’Brien.

The next thing you know the AJC may also tell us that Duke will win a game.

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10 Responses to AJC: Heels Fifth in the Coastal

  1. Chris says:

    I bet we win 4 games this year. Winning enough games to get to a bowl game requires a solid defense and a dominant, experienced, team leading quarterback. I doubt that we will have either this year. I look at this entire season as a warm-up to beating Notre Dame in Kenan Stadium next year. As an aside, Duke actually travels to Notre Dame this year; Notre Dame will never be beating USC at the end of the season if it continues to schedule teams like Army, Navy, and Duke, and Carolina last year.

  2. Wayne says:

    I hope Barrington Edwards is not back. I was never impressed with his work ethic and have never perceived him as a “hard runner.” Famous Amos, the Natrone Bomb, Leon Johnson & others have proven you don’t have to be a veteran to be an effective running back, especially a veteran with virtually prior accomplishments.

    Georgia Tech vs. Virginia Tech is a no-brainer (VPI is better) unless you work for an Atlanta newspaper.

  3. rbl says:

    I live in Columbus, Ohio, but have purchased season football tickets in anticipation of much bigger things to come on the gridiron. At this point we are basically in the same position as during my last year on the Hill, which happened to be Bill Dooley’s first. That 1967 team had no talent, but managed to win 2 games, and you just knew things were going to get better. And they did.

  4. 52BigGameJames says:

    rbl: here’s to the next coming of Don McCauley…cheers! The first famous #23 at UNC!

  5. Chris says:

    I agree completely. Where’s the next great running back? Why didn’t Ronnie McGill progress like he should have. Hopefully that great back is hiding in this year’s freshman class…..it ain’t Barrington………

  6. Burger says:

    And, of course, only one person in the ACC could keep Willie Parker under 1,000 yards per year. Unfortunately, that person was the coach!

  7. w says:

    didn’t parker fumble a lot in his days at unc? don’t blame bunting…look forward……

  8. Tar Heel Fan says:

    The truth on Parker was that he was fumble prone and by his own admission in subsequent interviews since leaving UNC he was not a hard worker. As for Bunting’s part in it, he had a tendency to try and shoe horn players into this scheme or that instead of adjusting the offense of defense to maximize the personnel. This is the first thing I noticed about Butch Davis was he basically threw the depth chart and in some respects the position roster out the window in favor of seeing what everyone could do and how best to utilize them.

  9. Burger says:

    I would suggest if the Pittsburgh coaching staff could figure out how to keep Fast Willie from fumbling, maybe the UNC coaching staff should have been able to figure it out. And, I don’t have any evidence to support Willie as being fumble prone or not fumble prone. I’ll take your word for it.

  10. Mike White says:

    I think that we may end up relying heavily on the pass this year. If Butch davis can adjust the playbook accordingly, and and the incoming wide receivers (Jones, Mason, Little, Thornton) can make an immediate impact receiving, our passing game could become one of the best in the conference.

    I was at the Spring game, and as of right now I would probably give the starting job to Yates. He has better delivery, especially in short yardage situations where yards after the catch is key.

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