Tuesday, August 01, 2006

2006 Spring Opponent Preview - North Carolina Tarheels

Top player: Ronnie McGill, Sr., RB
Make-or-break player coach: Frank Cignetti, Offensive Coordinator
Biggest offensive strength: Running backs
Biggest offensive weakness: Quarterback
Biggest defensive strength: Secondary
Biggest defensive weakness: Defensive Line depth
Spring Depth Chart

North Carolina will be a middling ACC team this year, just like they have been going back forever. The biggest questions in the North Carolina program this spring are all on the offensive side of the ball. Their offensive coordinator for the past several years retired, and replacing him is Fresno State Coordinator Frank Cignetti. Cignetti has a daunting task ahead of him to install his offensive scheme. The quarterback situation is unsettled, as Nebraska transfer Joe Dailey and Redshirt Freshman Cam Sexton battle it out for the vacant starting position left by Matt Baker's graduation. In addition to losing their starting QB, they must replace 4 of their top 5 receivers from a year ago. However, their running game should be solid enough to keep this offense in games, with the tandem of Ronnie McGill and Barrington Edwards leading the charge.
The defense is a little more settled, with some good experience and talent returning to the secondary. Their safeties in particular are worth noting - Kareen Taylor and Trimane Goddard. Last year's leading tackler returns to the linebacking corps in Larry Edwards, but their is little experience behind him. The most precarious part of this defense is the line, which has some solid starters, but very little depth behind them. There is no Julius Peppers in this group, so don't expect too much pass rush.
Overall, this should be a good, physical team. However, their lack of playmakers on either side of the ball will keep them from breaking out this year.
Notre Dame should handle this team easily, unless they come in distracted and unfocused. They need to be disciplined on special teams, with speedy and shifty Brandon Tate toting the ball. As long as the Irish play within themselves and don't get sloppy, this game should be over early in the second half.

9/9Virginia TechL
9/16Furman (Div. I-A)W
9/23at ClemsonL
10/7at MiamiL
10/14South FloridaW
10/19at VirginiaL
10/28Wake ForestW
11/4at Notre DameL
11/11Georgia TechL
11/18North Carolina StateL
11/25at DukeW

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