Thursday, February 10, 2011

North Carolina Tarheels 2010 Review

2010 Record: 8-5 (4-4), Tied 3rd ACC Coastal
2010 Bowl Game: Music City Bowl, Defeated Tennessee 30-27 (2OT)
2010 Schedule/Result
LSU, L 30-24
Georgia Tech, L 30-24
@ Rutgers, W 17-3
East Carolina, W 42-17
Clemson, W 21-16
@ Virginia, W 44-10
@ Miami, L 33-10
William & Mary, W 21-17
@ Florida State, 37-35
Virginia Tech, L 26-10
North Carolina State, L 29-25
@ Duke, W 24-19
Tennessee, W 30-27 (2OT)

390.1 Yards per game

UNC finally got out of TJ Yates what they always thought they would, a breakout season. Yates blew up for 3418 yards and 19 TDs. He held the picks down to 9, and so even though the TD numbers were a bit low, he still managed to move the ball, averaging 262.9 yards per game. Yates will be back next season, and productivity should be on the upswing. Bryn Renner was the primary backup as a freshman, and will be pushed in that role by incoming freshman Marquise Williams, who is a potential long term starter and star.
One area that the Heels will need to develop in 2011 will be their running game. They will need to find one guy that can carry the load as the A back. Johnny White did an OK job in 2010, avaeraging 80 yards per game while leading the team with 7 TDs. He is moving on, so it will be up to Shaun Draughn and Anthony Elzy. One key element for 2011 is incoming freshman Travis Riley, a 6-1, 210 lb. power back. ESPN rated him as a 4 star, but the other services rated him at 3. He certainly has the build to carry the load, but what remains to be seen is his skill set.
Yates certainly found his target in the WR corps, which was a challenge considering the suspension of Greg Jones. Dwight Jones took the opportunity as a sophomore and ran with it, catching 62 passes for a team leading 946 yards and 4 scores. He'll be back, and those numbers should be even better this fall. Erik Highsmith was not nearly as productive, but has enough promise to get UNC fans hyped about his upcoming sophomore season opposite Dwight Jones. Jheranie Boyd and Joshua Adams return as the 3 and 4 receiver, but incoming freshman TJ Thorpe will push for major time.
The TE position was led by Ryan Taylor, who had 36 catches for 330 yards, and the position was very senior on the depth chart, and by senior, I mean that the top three ends were all seniors. The most experienced TE coming back is Nelson Hurst, who had all of one catch in 2011. Eric Ebron and Jack Tabb are coming in as freshmen, and should get some serious playing time.
RT Mike Ingersoll will be the lone departure on the offensive line as far as starters are concerned, and reserve center Alan Pelc will be the lone departure amongst the reserve. A total of 8 linemen return on the two deep, making UNC especially deep and experienced up front. The Tarheels also bring in 4 new recruits with Kiaro Holts (OT) and Landon Turner (OG) being the stars of the class. Look for Holt to get a shot at replacing Ingersoll right out of the gate. If he does not, Brennan Williams and Carl Gaskins will both be in the competiton.

338.5 yards allowed per game

UNC's pre-season mass suspensions hit the defense like a hammer, and Butch Davis and company had to rely on many kids who were not supposed to be ready to step it up. It was a time of vast opportunity, and many young players did step up, and big. That was evident on the D line. Quinton Coples and Donte Paige-Moss were dominant up front, combining for 29 TFLs on the season. They combined for 17 sacks. When the season was over, Coples had 59 tackles, and Paige-Moss had collected another 49 on the year, and a new wave of dominant UNC D lineme was born. Consider that both were just sophomores, and you realize how good they can be next fall. With Jared McAdoo and Tydreke Powell also returning, UNC is going to be a force to be wreckoned with in 2011 on defense. Every one of the reserves comes back from the two deep as well. There will also be 5 more incoming freshmen to add to this talented batch, including potential star DT Delvon Simmons.
The problem with having such a force up front, is that they don't leave many scraps for the LBs. That being said, this group was solid if not spectacular. Quan Sturdivant was the leader of the group, but finished just 3rd in tackles with 61 on the season. He is the lone starting departure, as both Kevin Riddick and Zach Brown return for another go. Herman Davidson should get a crack at replacing Sturdivant next season, as Bruce Carter has also departed. Where there is depth in most spots on the UNC roster, LB does not boast that fact. If Davidson wins that job, Dion Guy will be the lone returning reserve from the two deep. Luckily the Tarheels are really high on incoming 4 star prospects Tarvis Hughes and Norkeithus Otis.
Da'Norris Searcy was the playmaker in the secondary, but he is now gone. Replacing him will be a huge priority going into spring ball. The secondary was a bit of a weak link at times for this defense, and at times let down the front seven by giving up the big play. Kendric Burney, also departs, leaving another huge void. The news does not get any better when you consider that safety Deunta Williams also departs, leaving a void at both safety slots. Jabari Price, who started by the end of the year as a freshman, will be the lone returnee as a starter in the secondary, something that brings chills to the spine. LeCount Fantroy, Mywan Jackson, and Tre Boston will compete for the open corner slot, while Gene Robinson, Matt Merletti, and Pete Mangum will compete for the safety jobs. There are 5 new DBs coming in the recruiting class, but none look ready for the big time right out of the gate.


Casey Barth was just rock solid at PK in 2010, having hit on 19 of his 22 FGs on the season, as well as nailing all 38 of his PATs. Barth will be back as a senior in 2011, making Butch Davis feel comfortable in the most important area of his special teams.
Where Davis has to worry is at Punter. CJ Feagles handled the job as a freshman in 2010, but lacked any kind of consistencey required of the position, and managed a measley 37.5 yards per punt. He will likely be pushed this spring by Grant Schallock, but Schallock never could push him in 2010. This is a potential weak spot.
Todd Harrelson shared duties with Searcy when it came to kick returns, and he will be the main man in that area in 2011 after averaging 23 yards per return. 7 other players returned kicks in 2010, and all of them are back to take a crack at the other kick return spot.
That group will also be heavily engaged in winning the PR job as well, as everyone who returned punts in 2010 has departed.


The Tarheels had no good right to win 8 games, including a bowl, during a season where there were massive suspensions and a ton of drama in regards to a cheating scandal that rocked the campus. Severla young players found their legs and took advantage of the many opportunities that popped up, and quite frankly, that burning sprirt likely saved Davis' job  by the end of the season. This character building season did nothing but make UNC better for the future, as many young freshmen and sophomores started to develop early. Davis still has some work to do in key areas, but UNC could push to be a dark horse title contender in the ACC in 2011.

9/3 Louisville, 9/10 Rutgers, 10/1 East Carolina

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