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.
• 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.