2007 ACC Preview: North Carolina
Hakeem Nicks
Hakeem Nicks
Posted Jul 18, 2007

It doesn’t matter who the coach guiding this team is if the quarterback play continues to be as awful as it was last year.

2006 RECORD: 3-9 overall, 2-6 ACC (5th in Coastal Division).

HEAD COACH: Butch Davis 51-20 overall in six seasons; first season at North Carolina.

RETURNING STARTERS: Offense: 6; Defense: 4.

KEY SIGNEES: DT Marvin Austin, LB Da’Norris Searcy, LB Quan Sturdivant, DL Tydreke Powell, QB Mike Paulus, WR Greg Little, WR Rashad Mason, WR Dwight Jones, RB Ryan Houston, TE Zack Pianalto, OL Kevin Bryant.

KEY LOSSES: TB Ronnie McGill, OT Brian Chacos, WR Jesse Holley, S Kareen Taylor, S D.J. Walker, LB Larry Edwards, LB Victor Worsley, CB Jacoby Watkins, TE Jon Hamlett.

OFFENSE: It doesn’t matter who the coach guiding this team is if the quarterback play continues to be awful as it was last year. Sophomore Cameron Sexton couldn’t have been much worse a season ago and if he doesn’t get drastically better very quickly, the Tar Heels’ hopes for a better season are doomed. There are two more to keep an eye for this position. Redshirt freshman T.J. Yates had a very good spring and could challenge. But most fans will be looking to incoming freshman Mike Paulus, who is looked upon as possibly the savior of the program. Whoever is the quarterback, they will have plenty of stud receivers to throw to. Not only are there a bevy of incoming freshmen at the position, but the Heels also return sophomore Hakeem Nicks, junior Brooks Foster, junior Brandon Tate. Joe Dailey has moved from quarterback to receiver and is one of the fastest players in the nation. Running back is a trouble spot as Barrington Edwards was suspended indefinitely, which leaves Johnny White and Anthony Elzy as the logical starters.

DEFENSE: As one of the worst defenses in the nation last year, there’s seems to be no conceivable way that North Carolina can get any worse on this side of the ball. Three seniors are across the front line and all have shown the ability to be solid. However, they haven’t done it on a consistent basis. The linebackers have leading tackler Durell Mapp returning, but the other two spots are wide open. This situation is in such dire straits that Joey Bozich moved from fullback to linebacker and that Davis will have to hope that some freshmen can help out immediately. The secondary could be in deep, deep trouble as three starters from last year’s horrid defense is gone. It might be a good thing that there is new blood back there, but if these new starters weren’t good enough to handle the duties last year, what does that say about them? The only returning player is cornerback Quinton Person, but his job could be in trouble.

BY THE NUMBERS: 0 – Number of field goals missed by kicker Connor Barth.

WR Hakeem Nicks

QB Cam Sexton

WR Joe Dailey

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