Home Football ACC ACC Preview: North Carolina

ACC Preview: North Carolina

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It was a roller-coaster type season for North Carolina last year. After starting out the season 1-5, the Tar Heels rallied to win six out of their last seven games, finishing 7-6.

It is now year three in the Larry Fedora era and the the program is inserting a new offensive coordinator after long time running mate Blake Anderson left for the Arkansas State head coach position. In comes Seth Littrell, who was Indiana’s co-offensive coordinator last season. He guided the Hoosiers to their best offensive year in school history and finished ninth in the country in total offense.

Offense

Although quarterback Marquise Williams had a productive season last year after starting quarterback Bryn Renner went down with an injury, he finds himself in a battle with redshirt freshman Mitch Trubisky. Williams threw for 1698 yards and 15 touchdowns while only throwing six interceptions. He also can beat you with his legs, and proved it by rushing for 536 yards and six touchdowns. The Tar Heels will have to replace two All-ACC starters on the offensive line, left tackle James Hurst (first-team) and center Russell Bodine (honorable-mention)

Although star tight end Eric Ebron is gone, North Carolina should have weapons to put points on the scoreboard. Running back T.J. Logan (533 rushing yards, four touchdowns) returns along with wide receivers Quinshad Davis (730 receiving yards, 10 touchdowns) and Ryan Switzer (878 all-purpose yards, eight touchdowns).

Defense
North Carolina’s defense was sub-par last season but picked up its play toward the end of the season. The presence of defensive end Kareem Martin, a first-team All-ACC selection, and defensive backs Tre Boston and Jabari Parker will surely be missed. However, the return of linebackers Jeff Schoettmer, Norkeithus Otis, Travis Hughes is huge for the defense and will be a very formidable linebacking corps.

Special Teams
Ryan Switzer is one of the most electrifying return men in the country. The sophomore ran back five punt returns for touchdowns during his freshman campaign, which led the nation. If Switzer can duplicator even repeat his success in year two, the offense can flourish even more with a smaller field to work with.

Newcomer to Watch
True freshman running back Elijah hood (5’11,220).

Hood was a five-star recruit on many recruiting services’ player rankings. A once Notre Dame commit, Hood decided to stay home in his native North Carolina and play for the Tar Heels. He should certainly see playing time his first year on campus and is a player to watch because he will surely get touches.

Prediction

7-9 wins

The Tar Heels should come out of the gates guns blazing this upcoming season. Their first three games are versus Liberty and San Diego State at home before traveling to East Carolina for their third game of the season. The schedule gets a little tricky after that. Carolina has tough road games at Clemson (Sept. 27), Notre Dame (Oct.11), Miami (Nov.1), and Duke (Nov. 27). They do, however, have a favorable home schedule. Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech pose the biggest threats to the Heels, and will travel to Chapel Hill where the boys in Carolina blue will have the edge.

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