>> Sunday, June 28, 2009
When you think of Carolina Blue and the town of Chapel Hill, basketball is the first thing that comes to mind. Butch Davis is beginning to change that perception. The former Miami coach has taken on the responsibility of turning UNC into something other than just a basketball school, and that perception began to change last season. The Tar Heels made their first bowl appearance in several years (31-30 lost to WVU in Car Care) and hope to continue to improve this season. They possessed a dominant offense last season, but John Shoop has a lot of talent to replace.
Last season the Tar Heels possessed one of the best corps of wide receivers in the country, but graduation has been rough on that unit. The Loss of Hakeem Nicks, Brandon Tate and Brooks Foster will be a blow to the Tar Heels offense, but they hope that junior quarterback T.J. Yates can overcome the lack of targets on the outside. Yates had an excellent freshman campaign, setting several school records, but suffered through an injury plagued sophomore year. Yates needs new wide recievers Dwight Jones and Greg Little to step up and provide him with some help on the outside, and if that happens, he'll have another big year. Davis needs running back Shaun Draughn and his mediocre offensive line to improve and alleviate the pressure on Yates. Yates doesn't need to establish astounding numbers, because a veteran defense will keep UNC in games.
Everett Wither's defense is full of speed, including blazing linebacker Zach Brown. Brown ran a sub 4.3 40 time this spring and he headlines a talented defense. Joining Brown at the linebacker position is leading tackler Quan Studivant and Bruce Carter, giving Wither a capable and playmaking unit. The defensive backfield is stout, as well. All-American candidate, Deaunta Williams, leads a ball hawking pack of defenders from the free safety position. Kendric Burney and Jordan Hemby are both capable corners who can be drive stoppers. However, the defensive line is a question mark within the unit. While all four starters return from last seasons squad, the unit only garnered five sacks all last season. E.J. Wilson and Robert Quinn have to get more pressure from the outside to keep the talented defensive backfield off an island.
Davis helped return Miami to a national power with his ridiculous recruiting classes and he has brought that same effort to Chapel Hill. Davis landed the ninth ranked class in the country (Rivals.com) and it is not short on talent. The class is headlined by 5-star defensive end Donte Moss, who will immediately help the lack of pass rush on the defensive line. Davis attempted to alleviate the loss of his talented wide receivers with the recruitment of Jheranie Boyd, a 6'2" 184 pound burner on the outside. The class was rounded out with the #5 ranked quarterback in the class, Bryn Renner. Renner has a strong arm and will eventually develop into an excellent starting quarterback for the Heels.
September 19th-East Carolina-Win
September 26th-@Georgia Tech-Loss
October 10th-Georgia Southern-Win
October 22nd-Florida State-Win
October 29th-@Virginia Tech-Loss
November 21st-@Boston College-Win
November 28th-@N.C. State-Loss
Season Projection: 9-3 (ACC 5-3)