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Spring Practice Primer: North Carolina

Posted on: March 21, 2011 4:37 pm
Edited on: March 21, 2011 4:39 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson

College Football has no offseason. Every coach knows that the preparation for September begins now, in Spring Practice . So we here at the Eye on College Football  will get you ready as teams open spring ball with our Spring Practice Primers . Today, we look at North Carolina , who started spring practice last Wednesday

Is it possible that the suspensions of 2010 better prepared the Tar Heels for 2011?

With how publicized the program has been in the last 12 months, it is easy to forget that North Carolina head coach Butch Davis is only entering his fifth year in Chapel Hill. Davis had plans of bringing top notch talent to North Carolina, and the records show that it has worked. After going 4-8 in year one, Davis has rattled off three straight 8-5 seasons and in 2010 delivered the first bowl win for North Carolina since 2001.

But the dark cloud has not completely been lifted off the North Carolina football program. After finishing with that Music Bowl victory, too many Tar Heel fans were left saying "what if?" What if North Carolina had all of their suspended players for the whole season? Bruce Feldman of wrote that if all of North Carolina's suspended players had played the Tar Heels might have contended for a national championship. Obviously this claim is a little far-fetched, but with 12 Tar Heels showing their stuff in the NFL combine, it is easy to see why fans are asking the "what ifs'."

With all that talent at the NFL combine, you would think that there would be a drop-off for North Carolina coming into 2011. But the players, and those close to the program do not expect a drop-off at all. When you have a recruiter like Butch Davis you don't need to rebuild, you just reload.

With all of those players missing action early in the season (and some for the entire year), a crop of young talent got to see the field much earlier than expected. Those players are back for 2011, and are ready to form their own impressive combine group. At least 12 backups saw much more action than they ever expected in last year's season opener against LSU. The game, played in the Georgia Dome, was a real taste of big-time southern football for those players. They will take those experiences on the field, and enter spring practice hungry.

On the defensive side of the ball the Tar Heels only return six starters, but many of the reserves saw significant action on the field due to suspension and/or injury. The playmaking ability of Bruce Carter and Quan Sturdivant will be missed, but look this spring for significant changes in the attitudes of Zach Brown and Kevin Reddick. It will be their duty to carry on the torch from the previous two star linebackers. The line is back with even more depth, and most of the secondary got to see the field during the suspensions of Deuntae Williams (4 games) and Kendrick Burney (6 games).

Things are less certain for the offense. Most important for the Tar Heels offense will be seeing how Bryn Renner does stepping into the starting role. In his four years on the field, Yates set the school records for career and single-season passing yards, as well as single season total offense. Now he passes the torch to Renner, who has been taking notes for the last two years.

"I learned everything I knew to be a college quarterback from him," Renner said after his first practice as the starting signal-caller. "Just the way he handled himself on and off the field, and the way he conducted himself on the field, so I learned a lot from him."

Renner enters spring practice as the starter, but he will be pushed for the job. With A.J. Blue healthy, there will be an open competition for the backup spot with Braden Hanson and the highly sought-after Marquise Williams, who enrolled early. The hope being that the competition will only improve all of the quarterbacks, giving offensive coordinator John Shoop some comfortable depth at the quarterback position.

One thing that Renner does have going for him from the beginning is a talented crop of returning wide receivers. Dwight Jones, Erik Highsmith, and Jheranie Boyd are all familiar with Renner from practice in previous years and should waste no time getting their timing back. Ryan Houston, who led the Tar Heels in rushing TD's in 2009, is back after redshirting a year ago and should help take the pressure off the first-time starter.

"We are really excited to get Ryan back, that was a big help," Renner explained. "I'm really excited to see Giovanni [Bernard], I think he's going to be a great player and has great upside. I'm really looking forward to handing the ball off to those two guys."

Despite the optimism and excitement from the players, there still is an unresolved NCAA investigation. While the athletic department remains optimistic that no major sanctions will be placed on the program, there is the possibility that a punishment will be handed down from the NCAA that could hurt the Tar Heels' chances of continuing the postseason streak that Davis has established.

But until then, the expectations are the same in Chapel Hill, and the campaign to return to a bowl in 2011 has already begun.

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Since: Dec 10, 2007
Posted on: March 23, 2011 2:33 pm

Spring Practice Primer: North Carolina

well said HilbyPirates...not a word about the tutor who wrote papers for the players who didn't even attend classes...and of course that tutor was hired by none other than? got it!!...Head Coach Bruce about "Lack of Institutional Control"!......the UNCHeaters "self-imposed" sanctions are a crock of S...!  NO scholarhips taken away, NO coaches relieved of their duties...NOTHING!..and of course old Butch has plead the 5th..."I didn't know that my coach was accepting credit cards and steering players"...of course not, Gary Whichard was a model of compliance throughout his whole career...right!....and now it appears the NCAA is going to do absolutely nothing....what a useless, hypocritical organization that is!... So, it appears that last year's transgressions have simply been swept under the rug with the hopes that everyone has completely forgotten about the misdeads of the program....many of us have not and hope that UNC will get their due.

Since: Mar 16, 2008
Posted on: March 23, 2011 1:48 pm

Spring Practice Primer: North Carolina

What an idiot you are!  Get ready to see alot of Carolina blue from now on in the BCS.  Sooners.....ha!

Since: Mar 19, 2007
Posted on: March 22, 2011 10:24 pm

Spring Practice Primer: North Carolina

Blue Heaven,

The school was punished?  What punishment did the school get? Sanctions?  Loss of scholarships?  No Bowl?

The school has not been punished.

The NCAA did not suspend the players?  They declared them ineligible...some of them permanently...the school had no choice but to suspend them or else any wins would be voided.

The reality of the UNC situation is that their asst coach and head recruiter was taking money from an agent and at least one of his players was steered to that same agent.  And the Compliance office at "the school" missed 10 or so football players accepting gifts.  That sounds like the school has a bit of a problem.

And by the way, the agent involved is dead.  Guess you missed that part of the story since you know so much and are impartial.

UNCHeats football program has 0 credibility.  Coaches are abandoning ship at mention of that in the article.  The Strength Coach left after 10 years, New DL coach left after a month, and lets not forget all of the ACADEMIC issues with the players.

But you still assert that it was the NCAA and Agents fault....typical UNC way..."Move on, Nothing to see here"

Since: Oct 14, 2007
Posted on: March 22, 2011 10:05 pm

Spring Practice Primer: North Carolina

Well you can't have lofty expectations or be too intelligent if you're going to play football for NC in the ACC.

Since: Oct 14, 2007
Posted on: March 22, 2011 10:03 pm

Spring Practice Primer: North Carolina

Hey my Sooner brother.....I see you're slumming like me reading articles about ACC football!  

Too bad these low life, parasites will never understand the lofty standards and expectations WE have at OU.   Lofty for them is .500!

Sooner Nation....get ready for number 8!

Since: Oct 14, 2007
Posted on: March 22, 2011 9:58 pm

Spring Practice Primer: North Carolina

This article was written by a ignorant dislusionary.    NC has so much talent....they reload, not rebuild?   What has this pathetic Always Craving Cash conference program done?   Absolutely nothing!

Oklahoma, Ohio State, Alabama reload their guns each year with top caliber talent and compete for a national title.   What does this sad program compete for.....a bowl game?

Gimme a break all of you sad ACC football fans.   You're teams and your league are completely irrelevant on a national level.   And the only ones that ever were are teams you invited or stole from the Big East.  

Want more proof?   Look at the recruits that Clemson gets year after year and does absolutely NOTHING!

P.S.   Love your BCS bowl record Swofford....HA HA HA

Since: Aug 19, 2006
Posted on: March 22, 2011 7:20 pm

Spring Practice Primer: North Carolina

I really hope Butch Davis can keep his College coaching job because after the way he took Randy Lerner and the Cleveland Browns to the cleaners, he will NEVER EVER coach in the NFL again. Oh by the way... could haves and should haves don't count when you violate NCAA rules.
Remember the Reggie Bush kid who played for USC?
If you step foot on the campus, you would NEVER know he went there.
See also The Fab Thieves at Mishitgan.

Since: Dec 18, 2008
Posted on: March 22, 2011 5:48 pm

Spring Practice Primer: North Carolina

Predicting that UNC will be in a bowl...aka that they will go at least 6-6. That's a bold prediction. Nobody saw it coming. Thank goodness we tuned in to this blog or else we wouldn't have witnessed the future viewing abilities that are apparent. Sheesh, what a joke.

Since: Mar 19, 2008
Posted on: March 22, 2011 12:03 pm

Spring Practice Primer: North Carolina

LMAO @soonerskip....too funny man!

Since: Apr 10, 2010
Posted on: March 22, 2011 11:56 am

Spring Practice Primer: North Carolina

get back in a bowl? well no sh*t. you only have to be 500 to get to a bowl

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