Today Is The Day…

Oh yeah, I’m ready. Kenan Stadium is ready. Are you?


I’m a little more anxious about this matchup now. If Michigan can lose to a I-AA team in the Big House (albeit the 2-time defending champs), UNC is certainly not immune to an embarrassing upset.

This Tar Heel team is very, very unknown. With our talent and schedule, a 4-0 start is not implausible. Unfortunately, neither is 0-5. We have no way of knowing until tonight, which is why it should be so intriguing.

I’ll be in Kenan Stadium tonight for the game. I have to go. I can hear the band from my window.


Tar Heels Won’t Be Getting Cooter Anytime Soon

Cooter Arnold, that is. The junior safety has been suspended from the football team indefinitely. Wait a minute…you didn’t think I meant…you have a sick, sick mind, you know that?


 If only someone named Wang was somehow affiliated with this team. The joke possibilities would be endless.

UNC Depth Chart Released

Yesterday the team put out their depth chart for the game against James Madison this Saturday. You can read it at Inside Carolina.

Some interesting points:


  • Cam Sexton is listed at #2 on the QB depth chart. All I can say is, I hope that T.J. Yates does well, because I’m not sure if I’m prepared to see Cam behind center again.


This picture came from an image search of “Cam Sexton”. This guy looks just as interception-prone.

  • Only one offensive starter is a senior, center Scott Lenehan.
  • He’s only listed as the #4 or #5 receiver, but watch out for Kenton Thornton. He is a true talent and, at 6’4″ and 230 lbs, will be a mismatch for almost any cornerback.
  • A lot of running backs will get the ball on Saturday. But will any of them be effective?
  • With the addition of the H-back this year, UNC could have two lead blockers in the backfield on run plays. This should make the halfback’s (and the line’s) job a bit easier.


At this point, I think that only three positions are set in stone, barring injury:

  • DE Hilee Taylor.
  • DT Kentwan Balmer.
  • Linebacker Durell Mapp.

I’m tempted to add Tramaine Goddard to that list because of previous performance, but we’ll need to see how well he’s recovered from injury. If he can get back to his 2005 form, he’s a lock.

  • All other positions should see a lot of rotation, as I don’t see many clear starters among the rest. I would be very dis appointed if I didn’t see Marvin Austin play on Saturday. You’ll know him when you see him: he’s the guy in the #9 jersey who looks like he ate T-Pain.


  • Speaking of Austin, our strength on defense certainly seems to be the offensive line this year. He have some solid veterans (Taylor, Balmer, Kyandrus Guy) along with some very talented newcomers (Austin, Aleric Mullins, Tavares Brown).
  • We need to hope that the D-line will come through for us, because the secondary isn’t looking too good.

Special Teams:

  • Connor Barth and Brandon Tate will continue to be very good.
  • Whomever our punter will be, he’s going to suck. Instead of a shanked 25 yard punt after a 3-and-out, may I suggest this?


Overall, the depth chart is not that surprising, but it will be little more than a formality. A lot of players will see action against JMU, and probably for the entire season, as Butch Davis tries to figure this team out.

Emmanuel Moody: Coming To UNC?

According to Inside Carolina, former Southern Cal running back Emmanuel Moody is visiting the UNC campus in Chapel Hill this afternoon, and one can only hope that it’s because he wants to transfer here.


On the one hand, this could be big news. Butch Davis has yet to coach a single game here at Carolina, and already we might be snatching a player from perhaps the best college football program in the nation. Running back has been this team’s biggest weakness since the departure of John Linton (boy, that’s a flashback), and the solution may about to fall into our lap.

But I’m also a tad skeptical. Moody is just visiting; he hasn’t come anywhere close to a decision. Three other schools, two of which are powerhouses (Texas, Florida), are also on Moody’s radar. Even if he transfers, it won’t help the major problems we have this year. If a good or great running back emerges this season, we may have some big controversy if the transfer happens. And there’s no guarantee of success. We thought we had gotten the next great UNC running back when Barrington Edwards transferred from LSU. In his senior year he’s 3rd on the depth chart, at best.

Yes, Moody had some good games last year at USC, and is a very talented running back, but he’s still somewhat of an unknown entity. Still, the mere possibility of a Trojan in Chapel Hill is better news than anything that happened last season.

UPDATE: Moody is going to Florida. Can’t say that I’m very surprised.

And Our Starting Quarterback Is…

T.J. Yates!


North Carolina head coach Butch Davis has chosen Yates, the redshirt freshman from Marietta, Georgia to start at quarterback when the Tar Heels open the season against James Madison on September 1st, beating out Cam Sexton and Mike Paulus.

Yates is very much an unknown entity. He hasn’t played a down in college, and he didn’t play organized football until his senior year in high school. However, the decision didn’t surprise me. While the spring game is rarely indicative of future performance, he was clearly the QB most comfortable with the offense, making good passes and allowing for yardage after the catch. He’s been taking the lion’s share of snaps throughout training camp. And after the Cam Sexton/Joe Dailey tag team of last season, almost any QB change should be somewhat of an improvement. Unfortunately, the UNC offense will rely heavily on Yates as they don’t have much of a running game, which also means he’s going to take a lot of hits…oh, so many hits. But if he’s able to get the ball to the Heels’ many talented receivers, it could open the rest of the offense.

So, was throwing Yates into the fire a good choice? I’ll give you an answer on September 2nd. In the meantime, I wish him the best of luck; he’s going to need it.

Stay tuned for some thorough UNC season previews in the coming days. 

118 Days To Football Season…

I can’t wait for college football to start again. Hopefully it won’t pan out like last year. This video captures the exact sentiment of UNC football fans in 2006.

We have some very good recruits coming in, and last years class will no longer be redshirted. With luck, we can finish a whopping 5-7!

UNC Spring Game Notes: Practice? You Talkin ‘Bout Practice?

I attended the Spring Game on April 14th, and I have to say it wasn’t as exciting an event as I had hoped. Here are a few observations from the scrimmage/practice:

  • During the warmpus, I noticed that a few of the UNC players’ stretches were basic yoga poses (such as downward dog). What this means, I have no idea. Hopefully it means that our team will be less injury prone this season, but it could just as easily mean that they will play like girly-men. But hey, whatever gets wins.


  • It looks like the battle for starting quarterback is down to incumbent Cam Sexton (#11) and redshirt freshman T.J. Yates (#13). Mike Paulus did not play, so where he stands in the race remains unseen. I will say that Yates has the stronger arm, and is able to quickly deliver the ball on passes that lead to good runs after the catch. For a conservative offense or an inexperienced quarterback, delivering the ball for yards after the catch is very important. The best example of this was a WR screen pass he fired to Hakeem Nicks on the right side; he was able to avoid tacklers and take the ball for a 65 yard touchdown. Yates ended up completing 10 of 15 passes (although 2 passes were near interceptions) for 3 touchdowns.


  • Even when Joe Dailey is a wide receiver, passes thrown to him get intercepted. I’m not kidding.


  • UNC played four tailbacks during the scrimmage. Of the four, two played well: Anthony Elzy and Justin Warren. If the Heels play with two backs, Elzy would likely take runs to the inside, while Warren would be able to make inside and outside rushes. Richie Rich and Anthony Parker-Boyd did not accomplish much when in the game.
  • I’m anxious to see how our wide receivers will fare this season. Hakeem Nicks and Brooks Foster were rare bright spots from 2006, and the arrival of Greg Little, Rashad Mason, and Dwight Jones from this year’s recruiting class makes the position one of UNC’s biggest strengths. But the best athlete I saw at the Spring game was 6-4, 225 pound sophomore WR Kenton Thornton. His game is unrefined, but he definitely has the capacity to be a big contributor in the passing game.
  • Both in the warmups and in the scrimmage, UNC’s defensive line seemed to have a clear advantage over the offensive line. I like to think that means the D-line is a strength rather then to think the O-line is going to suck. It is likely a combination for the two, but we’ll see.
  • Secondary may also be a concern. Overall they played solid, knocking down intermediate passes and making good tackles. For the first time in a while, I saw a UNC player, Jermaine Strong (#38), deliver a decleater. Those are the kinds of plays that make me a football fan. Still, they allowed a few big plays, including that screen pass and a big run by Justin Warren. Brian Dixon (#30, Safety) had several chances to intercept passes, but he appears to have hands of stone.
  • I was concerned by special teams. Brandon Tate is an excellent returner, and we now have not one but two good placekickers (Connor Barth and Lane Clemmons). However, our punter can’t kick the ball 40 yards, and the long snapper botched several snaps both in kicks and punts. In the ACC, games can be lost with bad snaps in crucial situations, so this needs to be remedied before the season.


  • Butch Davis is trying to steal Jim Tressel’s thunder (or maybe after coaching in Miami, Chapel Hill is cold for him). He sported a navy blue sweater vest on the sidelines, and he is wearing the vest on promotional items. Let’s just hope that after chemotherapy, he can grow his hair back in time for the season. Recent history tells us that you can’t win championships in college football without good hair.
  • In the middle of scrimmage, there were several people talking on their cell phones, especially to wave to their friends in other parts of the stadium. It absolutely killed the atmosphere, especially since everyone could hear them. Speaking of atmosphere…
  • Considering this was the dawn of the Butch Davis era, the atmosphere at Kenan Stadium was decidedly underwhelming. Tar Heel Blue says about 10,000 fans attended, and I would agree with that number. There was no band, concessions were limited, and the Alumni Lunch before the scrimmage made me sick for two days. There wasn’t even any scorekeeping for the game; how were we supposed to know who was playing well? By actually paying attention? Please. By comparison, look at these attendance numbers:

Spring Game at the University of Alabama: 92,138 (sellout)


Spring Game at the University of Oklahoma: 40,000

Spring Game at the University of Florida: 70,000

Spring Game at Ohio State: 75,000

Late Night With Roy (UNC’s opening basketball practice): 21, 500 (sellout)

UNC Spring Game: 10,000

April 15 home opener for the New York Red Bulls, professional soccer team in the US’s most international city, coached by the U.S soccer coach who led America to their best World Cup finish in their modern history: 8,865


It’s comforting to know that meaningless practices by bad college football teams are still better attended than meaningful top-level soccer games in America. Take that, terrorists!

The Spring Game was fun, but it left a lot to be desired. At some point in the next couple of weeks I’ll write an article on If I Ran… about the college football Spring Game.