A Quick Note: Return to Posting

Through a combination of factors (all related to my non-internet life) I haven’t been posting anything, but with football fast approaching the need to write has returned. This season has the potential to be either the most interesting UNC football season of my lifetime a trip to the Car Care Bowl against Cincinatti. Either way these are exciting times,and with less than two weeks until kickoff against LSU I have some catching up to do, so…let’s get to it.

ACC Roundtable: Undead of Chestnut Hill Edition

This week I decided to change things up a bit. Instead of answering From The Rumble Seat‘s questions directly, I will answer them with Freakazoid clips.

1. Alright fellas, this is your turn to apologize to the Boston College Eagles who went to Hell and back and have now arrived as the 3rd team for the ACC (and only team in the Atlantic) to be bowl eligible. You know you were snickering in the preseason. Also, give a high five to Mark Herzlich for finishing his last treatment of chemo.

I extend my congratulations in particular to Herzlich, who has made it through the toughest six months of his life, and Frank Spaziani, who took the least desirable situation in the ACC and may turn it into another division title. However, I am not entirely convinced that this is a real football team and not 85 zombies on scholarship. After burying them so many times, the press may have turned BC Football into the undead. Like Jack Valenti.

2. An Orange Bowl victory over a Boise/ TCU or an Orange Bowl victory over a Penn State/ Cincy team – which means more for the conference? Is there even a difference?

There is no difference whatsoever. No matter who the ACC Champion plays, America’s reaction to the 2010 Orange Bowl will be the following:

3. Enough with the CJ Spillers, the Christian Ponders, and the Jacory Harrises.  We wanna talk defense.  Who is the defensive POTY thus far in the ACC?

I’m inclined to be biased and give my nomination to Robert Quinn. UNC might have the best defense in the conference, about the only thing keeping us on the path to bowl eligibility. That’s in part because Quinn toys with offensive tackles the way Narwhals do with viking ships.

4. Recently, Bird compared the Atlantic to the Big 12 North. Is this a fair comparison?  The Coastal is currently 8-2 against the Atlantic.  There are still 8 interdivision games left.  Can the Atlantic redeem itself this season?

In all honesty, and with all due respect to the Chestnut Hill Undead All-Stars, there is only one way for the Atlantic division to redeem itself this year: Clemson needs to win the damn thing. It will bring 50,000 extra fans into Tampa for the Championship game and send the Dab-O-Meter into the red. If the title game becomes BC-Georgia Tech, then expect a crowd more sparse than our solar system.

5. Tailgating is essential to all things football. In Atlanta, the tailgating game of choice is cornhole. What is your game of choice to pass the time?

You mean everyone at Tech walks around the parking with their shirt over their head chugging Red Bull? Eh. Would make as much sense as anything else I’ve seen in Atlanta.

At any tailgate all activities must, in some form, be related to meat.

6. Let’s cut to the chase. There are two kinds of people: sheep and sharks. Sharks are winners and they don’t look back ’cause they don’t have necks. Necks are for sheep. Is your team full of sharks or is your team full of sheep?

Defense = Sharks

Offense = Cheese-Eating Surrender monkeys

7. Create a cocktail in the spirit of your school and explain it to us. Non-edible ingredients are allowed and encouraged.

It doesn’t matter what there is to drink. Just don’t drink with this guy.

Meet The Newbies! Josh Adams

Football Season: It’s creeping up a lot faster than you think. It makes no sense to cover the important players you already know. That’s the MSM’s job. Instead, let’s talk about the players with whom you may be less familiar: The players who will get significant PT for the first time. Today we look at Josh Adams, a man soon to become the preying mantis of the ACC. I have no idea what that metaphor means.

What We Know: 6’4″ Josh Adams enrolled early this past January, getting a head start on his true freshman peers. This decision has allowed him to move up the depth chart faster than other highly touted freshman like fellow WR Jheranie Boyd and top high school defensive end Donte Moss. (Mind you, Moss was the #1 DE in the nation when he signed, and the Heels are thinner at DE than at WR right now.) Adams had 1131 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns on just 56 catches his senior year in high school, averaging 20 yards per catch. (Detractors say those numbers were inflated by inferior opponents, but eh.) Adams’ first college football experience was spring practice, which makes him just as qualified as anyone else on this team to be a starting receiver.

What They’re Saying: As directed by the UNC Football Ministry of Propaganda, quarterback T. J. Yates has praised Adams as a dream in convenient wide receiver form:

“He’s one of the hardest working receivers I’ve been around. Especially for his young age. Coming right into school, he was 100 percent ball, all the time. He was watching film everyday, catching the ball. Even when he was hurt he was catching the ball, running routes, so his work ethic is really going to pay off for him. He’s definitely going to contribute for us. He’s got great hands, he runs really good routes, and he can go up there and make the catches guys aren’t supposed to, so he’s definitely going to make some plays for us.”

Until September 5th, no one outside of UNC’s practices has any way of substantiating this claim.

What We Can Expect: I don’t see him moving ahead of Greg Little or Dwight Jones into the starting lineup. However, Josh Adams seems to have established himself in spring practice as the #3 wide receiver for the Heels. If he stays there and plays well, he could put up Brooks Foster-type numbers this season: 25-35 catches and 300-450 yards. I have no idea if this will actually happen, but in UNC’s pro-style offense it’s a reasonable ceiling.

(Photo: IC)

Super Speedy UNC Spring Football Review

The offseason is a tremendous lull for most sports, but we Americans have found out that if you poke at football long enough during hibernation, you can find something to talk about. So let’s all grab a stick, shall we?

Players Who Should Get You Really, Really Excited for September

WR Dwight Jones: Will burning the redshirt last November pay off? For the moment, the answer is yes. Jones, the man in the center of that practice photo, has developed rapidly since the 2008 season, and while he certainly hasn’t reached Hakeem Nicks-levels of route running, he doesn’t have to. The projected top 3 receivers (Jones, Greg Little and Josh Adams/Rashad Mason) are all 6’4″ or taller, leaving  T.J. Yates with the ideal “throw it up and see if they catch it” scenario when things go wrong. If it brought down the undefeated Patriots, it can bring down Virginia Tech, right?

TB Jamal Womble: Aside from the spring game, very little is known about Womble except for all the records that he broke in high school. The Spring Game has proven to be an unreliable data set, but it seems apparent that Womble will get a lot of carries this season. He’s has speed and strength, but most importantly he has vision. He seems to have a keen eye for which alleys to attack at the line and in the secondary. With less than 10 carries in an exhibition game, he has shown more vision and elusiveness than Draughn and Houston showed last season.  Unlike Draughn and Houston, Womble will also be an effective receiver out of the backfield. Having lost the top three receivers from 2008 and looking for T.J. Yates to stay healthy, UNC will need to bolster its backfield production in 2009. Jamal Womble looks like he can make an immediate impact.

LB Zach Brown: Bruce Carter and HIS HIGHNESS QUANTAVIUS have established themselves as two of the most athletic linebackers in the ACC. Zach is faster than both of them. Whether that translates to pure defensive awesomeness is yet to be seen, but Everett Withers would be hard-pressed to find a better college linebacking corps to suit his Cover 2-esque scheme.

Really Tall Punter Guy: I don’t remember this guy’s name, but he’s the tallest player on the team, he wore #39 at the spring game, and he has a cannon for a leg. He punted three or four times, and each of them went for about 60 yards and had tremendous hangtime.

Players Who You Really Hope Made the Most of the Offseason

CB Jordan Hemby: Kendric Burney is a lockdown corner, but Hemby is still a projected starter by his side. This should concern you because his play in 2008 was, to put it diplomatically, enigmatic and inconsistent.

SS Da’Norris Searcy: Trimane Goddard left some pretty big shoes to fill. Searcy is talented, and he displayed flashes of brilliance against West Virginia in the bowl game. Still, it’s yet to be seen how easily he can fill Goddard’s role.

Defensive-End-By-Committee: It’s close to certain that Robert Quinn will spearhead one side of the line, but the other side looks to be a revolving door of inconsistent veterans and talented but inexperienced freshmen.

The Offensive Line: The offensive line kept some stability from 2008, but the absences of Garrett Reynolds (graduation/NFL) and Aaron Stahl (foregoing last year of eligibility due to injury) will be felt.

WR Greg Little: Greg goes back to his natural position this season as the most experienced receiver on the team and, perhaps ironically, the non-QB best acquainted with John Shoop’s playbook. Fans are beginiing to wonder if he will justify the hype surrounding his arrival in Chapel Hill. This is the year where he will either silecne the critics or prove them right. I think he’ll do well, but the jury is out for now.

T.J. Yates’ Health: Wolfpack Fans, if I don’t see frisbees on the field at Carter-Finley this November, I will be severely disappointed in you.

Am I being a bit opitmistic here? Probably. But the summer is the time for optimism, a time for anticipating what’s to come. Grumbling, cynicism and reduction of expectaion should wait, at least, until UConn scores on a devastating 90-yard drive in the third quarter. Until then RESERVE THE HOTEL TO MIAMI WERE GOING 11-1 OMG WHOOOOOO!!!

Photos: The venerable Inside Carolina.

HeelTube: The Last Time UNC and West Virginia Met…

…it was the 1997 Gator Bowl. Dre’ Bly took only one year to become one of the great corners in UNC history. His freshman season was bonkers, and he continued his stellar play that year with two of his 13 interceptions against the Mountaineers. Oscar Davenport also had a good game, throwing a touchdown pass and running for another. Carolina eventually won the game 20-13, capping their best season in more than a decade. 2008 has been easily the Heels’ best season since 1997, and in the Car Care Bowl they face none other than the Mountaineers. Freaky.

Much more posting about UNC’s bowl opponent will come in the next two weeks.

UNC vs. Michigan State Live Blog

I’ll be over at Storming The Floor to cover tonight’s game, which may of may not be Tyler-free (much to Michigan State’s apparent disappointment). See you there at 9pm.

Carolina is 8-4. WHOOOOOOO

Considering where we were two years ago, this is a very, very big deal. This not lost on most Heels fans; if 41-10 freaked you out and took your mind off of the big picture for a while, you’re forgiven. Just as long as you also remember 44-12, 38-12, 45-24 and 28-7 with equal intensity. Carolina has had the most regular season wins and the fewest losses since 1997, and the greatest improvement in wins since 1990.

Back in August I said I would be elated with anything above 7-5. As disappointing as the losses may have been for their own reasons, this team has made vast improvements from 2007, and as the stats show, they have been overachieving this season.

What is more impressive about the Heels the season is that they have won without much of the offensive starting lineup from August (Little, Yates, Tate, Pianalto, and two offensive linemen) for most of the season.

It is very, very important not to underestimate the level to which this team has surprised and overachieved. If you had told any fan that the Heels would win most of their games with Cam Sexton at Quarterback and Shaun Draughn and Ryan Houston at tailback, that fan would have slapped you to knock the crazy out of you. And then they would have slapped you again for saying something so blasphemous. And then, just for good measure, he would have kicked you in the nuts thinking that you were a Wolfpack fan trying to trick him and probably deserved some testicular trauma. And then you would follow him to his car, write down his license plate,find out his real name, call that lawyer in Raleigh who was played by Tom Cruise in that movie, and win a $700,000 lawsuit. And the aforementioned fan would be asking God why He would allow this to happen while you get on the phone inquiring about a beach house. And then that fan would realize that the Judge’s gavel is an ice cream cone, the defendant’s chair is a thigh drawn by Salvador Dali, and outside the Courthouse Godzilla is giving kids piggy back rides for beer money. And then he will realize that this is all a dream, and no one would be so stupid as to tell him that UNC would be led to a winning season by Cam Sexton and Shaun Draughn. That is how unlikely this season’s success has been. That is how far ahead of schedule we are. That is how much UNC Football has changed in two years.

That is not to say that this season has been without its share of warts. As talented as the starting lineup is, UNC still does not have a deep enough team to avoid in-season fatigue, and it showed this November. The offense stagnated, and the defense spent way too much time on the field. And as exciting as it was to we the defense force so many turnovers, it was equally frustrating to watch the entire team struggle when the Heels didn’t win the turnover battle. UNC committed 21 turnovers on the year, of which 15 were relinquished in their four losses to only 3 turnovers forced. And the apparent allergy to blitzes hurt the Heels on many occasions, most notably the Withers Special against Virginia.

But there is much to look forward to. In all likelihood UNC can do no worse than the Music City Bowl (where, insanely enough, 2007 Champion LSU is a likely opponent). Butch Davis can stop talking about other jobs (at least until Tommy Tuberville leaves Auburn in 2009) and is poised to bring in another top recruiting class. Although you can say this about every other team I’m the Coastal division, this will be a much better team in 2009.

So how to assess 2008? Hopefully, we will look back on this season as the start of something great. The year that UNCbecomes not only a good team, but a good program.

You’d Be Amazed At The Things People Write When They’re Mad

Of course I’m disappointed at the Maryland loss. The offense couldn’t sustain drives, and the Maryland offense, while not too impressive, did not make mistakes on which the defense could capitalize. And of course there’s the matter of losing UNC’s third (and probably last) opportunity to win the Coastal division title. But this team has made great strides this season, and have overcome serious obstacles to get to 7-3. If Butch Stays at Carolina, this is going to be a very good team for a very long time. As much as the short term hurts, the long term is no less bright.

Some people, however, are a bit more short-sighted. Take, for example, these, um, gems from the Inside Carolina boards, guaranteed to combust after a loss:

“I’m tired of watching my football team lose when it matters most YEAR after YEAR.”

Because the sheer amount of important games we’ve had for the past decade is just EARTH SHATTERING.

“THE” Official bench Cam Sexton thread

Well, Sexton was a HUGE reason we lost this game…..I will be extremely disapointed if he remains the start….he completely sucked this game…

I went and sat in the rain to watch this ******* lose us the game?…Wow.

I can’t believe BD didn’t bench him after the first drive of the second half…..
that was one of the worst performances that i think i have ever seen. he just looked completely confused out there. i have no f-ing clue why he was not yanked out of the game. he couldnt even complete a simple slant at least 3 times and also overthrew Nicks on a 5 yard pass play on the last drive. However, it is not just on him. It is also on Butch. Cam should have been taken out after the drive where he missed Foster wide open in the end zone.

The UNC-Maryland game was played during a storm that, just 12 hours and a few hundred miles earlier, produced tornadoes. It was played either in driving rain or in a green slip-n-slide. These are conditions that are, by nature, not conducive to a passing game. John Shoop decides to run more pass plays than run plays. When UNC did run the ball they only got 71 total yards. And somehow this is all the fault of a quarterback who, to that point, was a 5-1 starter with 8 touchdowns and 3 interceptions.

“[Casey] Barth should have to run till he pukes out his mouth and butt!!! Laughing on the sideline… UUGGGGHHH!!!”

So many legitimate reasons to be infuriated about this game…and you pick the emotional state of a freshman kicker after he missed a field goal by about two inches in the green soup that qualified as a field in College Park on Saturday. Had UNC won the game, this would have been considered amazing emotional resilience. Instead, it haunts your nightmares. Unless he’s being choked by the long snapper, I doubt that the a kicker’s sideline emotions are that important in a game.

Also, I wouldn’t wish butt-puke on anyone. That just sounds awful.

A reason for Butch Davis to leave Carolina

Two years ago, Carolina finished 3-9, with losses by big margins (anyone remember the score of the Clemson game?).

Now Carolina is 7-3, with the losses by a combined scores of 8 points (including an OT loss). Yet this board is populated tonight by the usual fairweather fans and trolls who always show up after a loss, moaning and whining like a bunch of 10 year old girls who just learned they’re not going to the Hannah Montana concert. Some are even questioning whether Butch is worth the money or deserves a raise. These people NEVER show up here after a win to congratulate the the team or coaches, but they’re always here after a loss.

And not enough supportive fans show up here after a loss. It’s one thing to be disappointed after a loss—–I’m really p.o.’d tonight—–but I’m not going to throw our team and coach under the bus after every loss. I’m very pleased with the progress made over the last two years. I’m a Tar Heel born, a Tar Heel bred, and one day I’ll be a Tar Heel dead. But we have too many “fans” posting here—-gosh, remember the good old days when the moderators actually, ya know, moderated?—–who are Tar Heels only when it’s convenient and pain-free.

So take the money from Tennessee or wherever and run, Coach Davis. These “fans” deserve no better than a Torbush or Bunting. And if you don’t believe me, Coach Davis, give Mack Brown a call.

Ah, yes. Tell the greatest thing that’s happened to Carolina Football in more than a decade get out of town because we have angry fans with computers. Angry fans with computers are a characteristic completely unique to UNC and none of the die-hard SEC fans with computers would dare act like this.

UNC vs. Maryland Live Blog

The Tar Heels today face the biggest road block between them and Tampa in the Maryland Terrapins. The Terps are notoriously Jekkyl-and-Hydeish this season, but their scary team tends to show up at home. This game is going to be exciting.

This game has 99% of my attention today, and it would have 100% of it if not for the BEST COLLEGE BASKETBALL TEAM IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD EVER playing their opener at the same time. So you will get periodic updates of that game as well.

Live blog link is below.

Click Here

ACC Roundtable #3

EDIT: I probably should have mentioned when I first posted this that this week’s roundtable is hosted by GT blog The Legacy x4.

1. There is no question as to whether the ACC is one of the toughest conferences this year as far as its constituents are concerned (as well as outsiders). Currently, 4 teams are bowl eligible while 5 are within one game of reaching eligibility. Is it mediocrity, or is the ACC on its way to being the powerhouse that expansion was supposed to bring?

The easy answer for outsiders is that the conference is still mediocre. In most conferences there are a few bread winners, a middle tier and a few terrible teams. Up until the expansion, this was the case with the ACC: Florida State ruling the roost, with several teams taking turns in the bourgeoisie, and Wake and Duke consistently bringing up the rear. Now, we have about as close to the opposite of that situation as one could reach. Eleven teams are .500 or better, everyone is bowl eligible, everyone has at least two losses, and even NC State has been competitive in defeat.

Point is, every other conference can safely rely on at least a few terrible teams. The ACC has no such team right now. And since most of the could-be-elite programs are either rebuilding (Virginia Tech, Virginia, FSU, Clemson), plateauing (Wake, Maryland, BC) or just too damn young (UNC, NC State, Miami, Georgia Tech) there is no dominant force in the conference, and it puts everyone at about the same level.

But this conference will be good soon. With the continued stream of good talent and an influx of new coaches in the past few years, it is only a matter of time before these teams bear the fruits of conference expansion.

As you must have figured out by now, I’m an optimist.

2. With a few notable exceptions, quarterback play in the ACC has been poor across the past couple of seasons, contributing at least in some part to the lack of offensive potency in the conference. Where does the ACC stand today in terms of quarterback play, and do you think our offenses are improving?

One Carolina quarterback politely begs to differ with that statement.

To answer the question, only five teams began this season with quarterbacks with one full season worth of games under their belt. Of those five, only Sean Glennonhad more than one full season of experience. Two of those QBs, Glennon and Cullen Harpe have been benched at some point in the season due to their play. It can be argued that QBs like Colt McCoy, Graham Harrell, Chase Daniel and Tim Tebow are all very good because they are all in their third year as the go-to QB. However, all of those players started performing well immediately upon being thrown into the fire.

I think what we see in the ACC is in part due to the coaches. Back in 2006 and 2007, there wasn’t much creative playcalling anywhere in the conference. and the results spoke for themselves. Now there will be a lot of talented quartebacks in this conference over the next few years: T.J. Yates, Russell Wilson, Tyrod Taylor, Chris Turner, Josh Nesbitt, Christian Ponder, Willy Korn, and whomever wins the QB battle in Miami. IN addition there has been a vast influx of new coaches in to the conference. QB play in the ACC has left a lot to be desired in the last few years, but by no means will that be a permanent fixture.

3. There are 5 out-of-conference games left for the ACC – BC/Notre Dame, Wake Forest/Vandy, Clemson/USC, GT/Georgia, and FSU/Florida. We went 3-2 in those games last year, and then 2-5 in bowl play (with the only wins coming over Michigan State and UConn). How do you feel we as a conference will compete against the rest of the NCAA in the final weeks of the season, and are you confident in our bowl play?

The ACC stands a very good chance to win four of those games. After watching Florida demolish Kentucky and Georgia in quick succesion, I’m not even remotely confident in FSU. I’ll say 3-2.

4. As far as (Georgia) Tech (As Virginia Tech is the real “Tech”) fans are concerned, ACC officiating is absolutely atrocious, both in conference (helmet-to-helmet, lack of holding calls) and out of conference (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tobqLJlxDBs). Are you in agreement? List any specific, obvious grievances, or use this opportunity to verbally assault ACC refs.

(looks into mirror)

Ron Cherry Ron Cherry Ron Cherry

(Ron Cherry magically appears behind shoulder)

Personal foul…criticism…Tar Heel Mania. 15 point penalty for your team.


You gotta problem? You gotta problem?

It’s bad enough that Cherry and his crew have made particularly egregious calls, not only against UNC but many other ACC teams. But he seems to enjoy calling attention to himself in these situations, and that is unacceptable for any referee.

5. Every college football fan has a favorite player not on their team. Who is that player for you in the ACC?

As much as I love the play of Shaun Drughn, I’m going to have to go with Johnathan Dwyer of Georgia Tech. He may be the conference’s best all-around back, and he’s flourishing under Paul Johnson’s system.