2013 North Carolina football's 10 things to know: Success, failure, bandits, and life without Gio

Jamie Rhodes-US PRESSWIRE

UNC has weathered an NCAA storm and won 39 games in the last five years. Life is better for the Heels than it was when Butch Davis took over, but can Larry Fedora and his second-year Heels kick things up a notch or two?

Confused? Check out the glossary here.

1. Butch Davis succeeded (sort of)

In 2007, Butch Davis was hired to restore pride for a program that didn't have much. Always a basketball-first school, UNC had still experienced solid recent success, first with four straight top-20 appearances under Dick Crum in the early-1980s, then with a 21-3 run and two top-10 finishes under Mack Brown in the mid-1990s. When Brown left for Texas, however, things went south quickly. Carl Torbush won seven games in his first post-Mack season, then won nine in his next two. John Bunting took over, went 8-5 in his first year, then never again finished above .500. Bunting's final team, in 2006, was plain awful, going 3-9 and placing 93rd in the F/+ rankings.

UNC had won just 19 games in the five years before Davis arrived and went just 4-8 in his first season. But in the last five years, the Tar Heels have won 39 games and have generated five straight top-50 appearances in the F/+ rankings. They won at Florida State in 2010 and seven of their final nine and tied for the division lead in 2012. My friend Paul Myerberg opened his UNC preview by saying, "Don't look now, but we're entering an exciting age of North Carolina football." I'm not sure if I can go that far, but things certainly look better in Larry Fedora's second year than they did in Davis'.

So ... the Davis era, while over, was kind of a success then, right? He was hired to turn the program, and he did, and now his replacement, Larry Fedora, has people truly optimistic about the team's near and distant future.

Oh yeah, and the Davis era also produced vacated wins, scholarship reductions, a postseason ban, and probation following a series of violations encompassing academic transgressions, agent benefits, and ineligible players.

This is in no way a black-and-white world, no matter how badly we want that to be the case. We label coaches good and bad, successful and unsuccessful. But while the Davis era is generally regarded as one of John Blake, sanctions, frustration (they were supposed to win more games), underachieving recruits, and Dwight Jones' birthday party, when it comes to wins and setting the table for wins, Davis succeeded. Odd.

Regardless of how it got here, the North Carolina program is in better shape than it had been for a while. The Heels went 8-4 in a postseason-free 2012 season, with three losses coming by a combined nine points.

UNC did only place 46th in the F/+ rankings, about the same as the previous three seasons (and quite a bit worse than 2008); and the Heels do now have to hit the field without by far their biggest offensive weapon (running back Giovani Bernard) and possibly their two best defenders (linebacker Kevin Reddick, tackle Sylvester Williams). The 4-2-5 defense Larry Fedora brought to town didn't necessarily take, and in all, we should probably tap the brakes before we get too hyped about UNC in 2013. But things have gone from "no hope" to "hope." That's something.

2012 Schedule & Results

Record: 8-4 | Adj. Record: 10-2 | Final F/+ Rk: 46
Date Opponent Score W-L Adj. Score Adj. W-L
1-Sep Elon 62-0 W 32.2 - 8.1 W
8-Sep at Wake Forest 27-28 L 25.2 - 44.2 L
15-Sep at Louisville 34-39 L 41.2 - 33.8 W
22-Sep East Carolina 27-6 W 29.4 - 13.8 W
29-Sep Idaho 66-0 W 32.9 - 11.7 W
6-Oct Virginia Tech 48-34 W 52.7 - 26.2 W
13-Oct at Miami 18-14 W 25.9 - 18.1 W
20-Oct at Duke 30-33 L 23.8 - 32.2 L
27-Oct N.C. State 43-35 W 36.5 - 34.8 W
10-Nov Georgia Tech 50-68 L 39.5 - 35.2 W
15-Nov at Virginia 37-13 W 37.8 - 21.1 W
24-Nov Maryland 45-38 W 42.7 - 39.4 W
Category Offense Rk Defense Rk
Points Per Game 40.6 8 25.7 53
Adj. Points Per Game 35.0 19 26.6 53

2. Three plays from 11-1 (and three from 5-7)

There's a lot you can use to spin UNC's 2012 season in either direction. The Heels lost to both Duke and Wake Forest, allowed 38 points to Maryland's no-QB offense, and basically came within three plays of finishing 5-7. Again, 46th is decent for a program undergoing NCAA sanctions and a coaching change, but it isn't just amazing overall.

At the same time, however, losing at Louisville by five points isn't exactly embarrassing. According to Adj. Points, UNC played good enough to beat an average team in 10 of 12 games. (The Georgia Tech result is a little odd in this regard; Tech was quite average, and the Heels lost by 18, but special teams and bad breaks made that game look worse than it was -- GT averaged 7.4 yards per play, UNC 7.2, which accounts for at least some of the oddity. UNC's offense was almost as good as its defense was bad.)

As the season progressed, UNC's offense improved dramatically, but not quite as quickly as the defense regressed.

Adj. Points Per Game (first 8 games): UNC 32.9, Opponent 23.5 (plus-9.4)
Adj. Points Per Game (last 4 games): UNC 39.1, Opponent 32.6 (plus-6.5)

This really does leave UNC in an interesting position in 2013. The offense that improved is without Bernard and a good chunk of its line this fall, while the defense that faded is rich with experience overall.

Offense

Category Yards/
Game Rk
S&P+ Rk Success
Rt. Rk
PPP+ Rk
OVERALL 14 26 22 31
RUSHING 33 42 43 41
PASSING 26 29 10 36
Standard Downs 22 20 24
Passing Downs 41 25 49
Redzone 91 89 90
Q1 Rk 25 1st Down Rk 31
Q2 Rk 39 2nd Down Rk 34
Q3 Rk 35 3rd Down Rk 77
Q4 Rk 59

3. Best against best

North Carolina's offense nearly broke the Covariance scale last season, saving some of its best performances for its best opponents and vice versa. Granted, the Heels didn't really face many truly good defenses, but good luck finding a pattern.

  • vs. Virginia Tech (22nd in Def. F/+): 7.1 yards per play
    vs. Louisville (48th): 7.1
    vs. Georgia Tech (58th): 7.2
  • vs. East Carolina (91st): 5.8 yards per play
    vs. Miami (88th): 5.8
    vs. Duke (116th): 5.8
    vs. Wake Forest (77th): 5.2

This was a solid offense regardless, and perhaps it's encouraging that different players starred in the Heels' best performances (against VT, Louisville, and GT). Yes, Gio Bernard had a downright silly day versus Virginia Tech (23 carries, 262 yards), but Bernard was out for the Louisville game and Romar Morris managed 172 yards and two scores in nine touches in his absence. And against Georgia Tech, Bernard was held more-or-less in check (16 carries for 78 yards, plus, yes, a 78-yard reception), but then-freshman Quinshad Davis caught seven passes for 104 yards from Bryn Renner. Renner, Davis, Morris, and other pieces do return.

Quarterback

Note: players in bold below are 2013 returnees. Players in italics are questionable with injury/suspension.

Player Ht, Wt 2013
Year
Rivals Comp Att Yards Comp
Rate
TD INT Sacks Sack Rate Yards/
Att.
Bryn Renner 6'3, 225 Sr. **** (5.9) 276 422 3,356 65.4% 28 7 11 2.5% 7.6
Marquise Williams 6'2, 215 So. **** (5.8) 10 17 127 58.8% 1 0 0 0.0% 7.5
Mitch Trubisky 6'3, 210 Fr. *** (5.6)







Running Back

Player Pos. Ht, Wt 2013
Year
Rivals Rushes Yards Yards/
Carry
Hlt Yds/
Carry
TD Adj.
POE
Giovani Bernard RB 184 1,228 6.7 6.7 12 -0.6
A.J. Blue RB 6'2, 215 Sr. **** (5.8) 82 433 5.3 3.7 9 +2.2
Romar Morris RB 5'10, 185 So. *** (5.6) 69 386 5.6 4.3 2 +3.4
Bryn Renner QB 6'3, 225 Sr. **** (5.9) 50 111 2.2 2.3 1 -11.9
Marquise Williams QB 6'2, 215 So. **** (5.8) 29 186 6.4 4.2 3 +2.9
Kenny Owens FB 9 19 2.1 0.7 0 -2.9
Travis Riley RB 6'1, 215 So. *** (5.5) 7 18 2.6 2.4 0 -2.0

4. If Gio had returned...

In just two seasons, Gio Bernard put up 2,481 rushing yards, 852 receiving yards, and 31 combined touchdowns from scrimmage. Plus he returned two punts for touchdowns in 2012, including one in the waning seconds against rival N.C. State. (That's seriously one of the most exciting plays you'll ever see. And they even accidentally got a two-point conversion afterward as well.) He was an all-conference back and a third-team AP All-American, and he still may have been underrated. Thanks to a redshirt year, he was already eligible for the NFL Draft, and it made perfect sense for him to declare.

But oh man, if he had returned for another year in Chapel Hill, this offense would have been something. Because there are some other exciting pieces afoot here.

Bernard's greatest value was in his versatility; yes, he averaged 6.7 yards per carry, but behind a good line he could have averaged 8.0. (UNC featured two all-conference linemen and did a decent enough job of keeping defenders out of the backfield, but short-yardage blocking was lacking, and opportunity rates were only decent considering iffy competition.) That he combined his nearly 1,300 rushing yards with 47 receptions (at 8.5 yards per target, higher than the top two wideouts) was truly special and tough to replace.

A.J. Blue and Romar Morris both showed a decent ability to follow blocks, but they weren't nearly as explosive, and UNC will almost certainly suffer a bit more on the ground because of that. That all-conference guard Jonathan Cooper and tackles Travis Bond and Brennan Williams are gone will only add to that.

Receiving Corps

Player Pos. Ht, Wt 2013
Year
Rivals Targets Catches Yards Catch Rate Yds/
Target
Target
Rate
%SD Real Yds/
Target
RYPR
Quinshad Davis WR 6'4, 205 So. **** (5.8) 96 61 776 63.5% 8.1 22.7% 54.2% 8.0 110.7
Erik Highsmith WR 82 54 596 65.9% 7.3 19.4% 68.3% 6.9 85.0
Eric Ebron TE 6'4, 245 Jr. *** (5.7) 73 40 630 54.8% 8.6 17.3% 45.2% 8.7 89.9
Giovani Bernard RB 57 47 483 82.5% 8.5 13.5% 57.9% 8.5 68.9
Sean Tapley WR 6'1, 185 Jr. *** (5.7) 38 26 361 68.4% 9.5 9.0% 65.8% 9.1 51.5
Jack Tabb TE 6'3, 240 Jr. *** (5.6) 17 12 144 70.6% 8.5 4.0% 76.5% 9.6 20.5
Romar Morris RB 5'10, 185 So. *** (5.6) 16 12 204 75.0% 12.8 3.8% 56.3% 13.3 29.1
A.J. Blue RB 6'2, 215 Sr. **** (5.8) 14 9 80 64.3% 5.7 3.3% 57.1% 5.7 11.4
Mark McNeill WR 6'4, 215 Jr. NR 11 10 71 90.9% 6.5 2.6% 90.9% 8.3 10.1
Nic Platt WR 6'2, 205 Jr. NR 5 5 46 100.0% 9.2 1.2% 100.0% 5.6 6.6
Jheranie Boyd WR 5 4 44 80.0% 8.8 1.2% 100.0% 5.3 6.3
Kendrick Singleton WR 6'2, 200 So. *** (5.6)








T.J. Thorpe WR 6'0, 200 So. **** (5.8)








Jordan Darty WR 5'11, 175 Jr. NR







Jordan Fieulleteau WR 6'3, 205 Fr. *** (5.5)








5. Quinshad Davis set a bad example

As fans, we tend to assume immediate greatness for our star recruits. And it actually works out just enough that we continue to assume it. But for every Stefon Diggs (the No. 2 receiver in the 2012 class according to Rivals.com), there are a couple of Dorial Green-Beckhams (No. 1) or Nelson Agholors (No. 3), guys who have incredible star potential but don't necessarily become stars from the first game. For every Amari Cooper (No. 6), there are a few Cayleb Joneses (No. 5) or Durron Neals (No. 9). And for every Quinshad Davis (No. 34), there are quite a few Amara Darbohs (No. 30), Derrick Woodses (No. 31), Keny Lawlers (No. 33), Jody Fullers (No. 37), and Marvin Bracies (No. 39).

None of the above players are busts yet by any means, but four-star freshmen aren't supposed to just become the No. 1 receiver for a top-30 passing game right out of the box. Davis did. The Gaffney, South Carolina, product was an instant success, giving Bryn Renner a big possession target to go alongside tight end Eric Ebron, then-senior Erik Highsmith, and some good receiving running backs. And he was perhaps the primary reason for UNC's late offensive explosion. He had already put together a pretty decent freshman campaign, but he went nuclear in November, catching seven passes for 104 yards versus Georgia Tech, 16 (!) for 178 versus Virginia, and nine for 135 and two scores versus Maryland. UNC might not be able to trust its running game as much, but it was already weaker than the passing game. And as long as Renner isn't throwing every pass on second-and-11 or third-and-9, there's no reason to think UNC won't once again have at least a top-30 passing game.

Besides Davis, you've got Ebron, a sleeper Mackey Award candidate who averaged more yards per target than Davis, Highsmith, or even Bernard. You've got Sean Tapley, who as a sophomore was better than Davis in terms of both catch rate and yards per catch. You've got another potentially strong pass catcher out of the backfield in Morris, you've got a decent backup tight end in Jack Tabb, and you've got four-star sophomore T.J. Thorpe, who might actually be healthy for the first time (well, maybe). That's not bad at all.

Offensive Line

Category Adj.
Line Yds
Std.
Downs
LY/carry
Pass.
Downs
LY/carry
Opp.
Rate
Power
Success
Rate
Stuff
Rate
Adj.
Sack Rate
Std.
Downs
Sack Rt.
Pass.
Downs
Sack Rt.
Team 105.4 3.08 3.40 42.0% 72.3% 16.1% 198.3 1.5% 4.1%
Rank 45 47 48 31 41 19 15 8 23
Player Pos. Ht, Wt 2013
Year
Rivals Career Starts/Honors/Notes
Jonathan Cooper LG 47 career starts; 2012 1st All-ACC
James Hurst LT 6'7, 305 Sr. **** (6.0) 36 career starts; 2012 1st All-ACC
Travis Bond RT 29 career starts
Brennan Williams RT 22 career starts
Russell Bodine C 6'4, 310 Jr. *** (5.7) 14 career starts
Landon Turner RG 6'4, 320 So. **** (5.8) 4 career starts
Kiaro Holts RT 6'4, 295 So. **** (5.8) 1 career start
Peyton Jenest LG
David Collins LG 6'8, 310 Sr. *** (5.7)
Nick Appel LT 6'6, 310 Jr. *** (5.5)
Jarrod James C 6'3, 290 So. **** (5.8)
J.J. Patterson RG 6'4, 310 RSFr. **** (5.8)
Caleb Peterson LG 6'5, 300 RSFr. *** (5.7)
Jon Heck LT 6'6, 300 RSFr. *** (5.5)
John Ferranto RT 6'5, 290 RSFr. ** (5.4)

Defense

Category Yards/
Game Rk
S&P+ Rk Success
Rt. Rk
PPP+ Rk
OVERALL 57 84 74 86
RUSHING 41 94 81 105
PASSING 83 71 65 78
Standard Downs 62 52 73
Passing Downs 103 108 102
Redzone 52 52 59
Q1 Rk 106 1st Down Rk 59
Q2 Rk 120 2nd Down Rk 81
Q3 Rk 13 3rd Down Rk 87
Q4 Rk 10

6. Get off the field (on PDs)

Speaking of bad examples, TCU has made the 4-2-5 defense look a little bit too easy. TCU head coach Gary Patterson literally wrote the book on the 4-2-5 and has made it a pretty trendy thing in recent years. If you have the right parts, the 4-2-5 can react and swarm with incredible effectiveness. But if you don't, you can get pushed around on standard downs and struggle to develop enough of a pass rush to get off the field on passing downs; you have to react and swarm for three-yard gains, not eight-yard gains. And while UNC defensive coordinator Dan Disch certainly saw success with this alignment in Fedora's last year at Southern Miss (with a brilliant front four, the Golden Eagles ranked 19th in Def. F/+), he didn't necessarily find the pieces he needed in his first year in Chapel Hill, especially as the season progressed and the secondary (in particular) got thinner.

A defense that allowed a combined 422 yards versus ECU and Idaho (impressive even considering the competition) faltered to say the least. The Heels allowed 467 passing yards to N.C. State and 380 rushing yards to Georgia Tech, then allowed three long touchdown drives in the first half against a Maryland team that was starting a true freshman linebacker at quarterback. The D made enough stops for the Heels to indeed win seven of their final nine games but allowed a combined 1,098 yards in losses to Duke and Georgia Tech.

The biggest problem this defense had was in getting off the field. UNC was at least mediocre on standard downs, ranking 62nd overall; but the Heels were an egregious 103rd on passing downs. There was no blitz, and opponents knew they had no reason to fear sitting in the pocket and picking the defense apart on second- or third-and-long.

If you've got a stout front four, one that can generate pressure without the need of blitzing, then your 4-2-5 will click (any defense will, actually). But if middle linebacker Kevin Reddick or tackle Sly Williams weren't bringing down the quarterback, it's pretty to assume nobody was. Those two are gone now.

Defensive Line

Category Adj.
Line Yds
Std.
Downs
LY/carry
Pass.
Downs
LY/carry
Opp.
Rate
Power
Success
Rate
Stuff
Rate
Adj.
Sack Rate
Std.
Downs
Sack Rt.
Pass.
Downs
Sack Rt.
Team 96.7 2.70 3.36 37.7% 70.3% 21.3% 102.0 5.8% 6.0%
Rank 71 29 76 50 81 37 59 27 71
Name Pos Ht, Wt 2013
Year
Rivals GP Tackles % of Team TFL Sacks Int PBU FF FR
Dion Guy BANDIT 12 39.5 5.4% 3.5 1 1 1 0 0
Sylvester Williams DT 12 31.5 4.3% 13.5 6 0 0 0 0
Kareem Martin DE 6'6, 265 Sr. *** (5.7) 12 29.5 4.1% 15.5 4 0 3 1 1
Shakeel Rashad BANDIT 6'2, 245 So. *** (5.7) 11 15.5 2.1% 3.5 1.5 1 2 1 0
Shawn Underwood DT 6'1, 305 Jr. *** (5.5) 11 15.5 2.1% 2.5 0 0 0 0 1
Tim Jackson NT 6'5, 285 Sr. *** (5.5) 10 13.5 1.9% 4 1 0 0 0 0
Devonte Brown NT 6'3, 280 Jr. **** (5.8) 10 11.0 1.5% 1 1 0 0 0 0
Ethan Farmer DT 6'3, 295 Jr. *** (5.7) 12 6.5 0.9% 1 0 0 0 0 0
Jessie Rogers DE 6'4, 260 So. *** (5.5) 12 6.0 0.8% 0.5 0 0 0 0 0
Justin Thomason DT 6'4, 265 So. *** (5.5) 5 4.5 0.6% 2 2 0 0 0 0
Norkeithus Otis BANDIT 6'1, 240 Jr. **** (5.8) 10 2.5 0.3% 1 1 0 0 1 0
Junior Gnonkonde BANDIT 6'4, 240 RSFr. *** (5.7)
Greg Webb DT 6'2, 290 Fr. **** (5.8)






7. More Bandit, please

The 4-2-5 relies on hybrids galore. The defense is incredibly multiple, but one of the key positions is the BANDIT position, one that serves as a defensive end/OLB. The Bandit is a playmaker's playmaker, but UNC got almost no plays out of the position last season. Dion Guy was a decent tackler, but let's put it this way: In 2011, Southern Miss Bandit Jamie Collins had 19.5 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks. Guy had 3.5 and one in 2012.

Guy wasn't recruited to be a Bandit, so it's not really his fault, but he was certainly replaceable … if there's anybody who can replace him, anyway. Shakeel Rashad, who ended up with as many TFLs as Guy and more sacks in minimal playing time, was intriguing, but he's out for the season with a knee injury. That leaves former four-star recruit Norkeithus Otis (the post-spring first-stringer), who did log a sack-and-strip as one his 2.5 tackles. And perhaps Junior Gnonkonde can step up.

The starting Bandit, whoever it is, is probably the most important player on the UNC defense; if he delivers quality Bandit play, everything else falls into place.

Linebackers

Name Pos Ht, Wt 2013
Year
Rivals GP Tackles % of Team TFL Sacks Int PBU FF FR
Kevin Reddick MIKE 12 67.0 9.2% 18.5 6.5 0 6 2 0
Tommy Heffernan WILL 6'1, 215 Jr. NR 11 55.5 7.6% 8.5 3 0 2 1 0
Travis Hughes WILL 6'2, 225 Jr. **** (5.8) 12 30.0 4.1% 1.5 0 0 1 2 2
Darius Lipford (2011) LB 6'3, 245 Jr. *** (5.6) 13 29.5 4.0% 1.5 0 0 4 0 0
Jeff Schoettmer MIKE 6'1, 220 So. NR 12 20.0 2.8% 2 1 0 0 0 1
Curtis Campbell LB 12 4.0 0.6% 0 0 0 0 0 0
Dan Mastromatteo MIKE 6'2, 230 RSFr. *** (5.6)
Nathan Staub MIKE 6'2, 240 RSFr. *** (5.5)







Secondary

Name Pos Ht, Wt 2013
Year
Rivals GP Tackles % of Team TFL Sacks Int PBU FF FR
Tre Boston FS 6'1, 205 Sr. *** (5.6) 12 67.5 9.3% 1 0 4 6 0 0
Jabari Price CB 6'0, 200 Sr. *** (5.6) 11 63.0 8.7% 4 1 1 9 1 0
Tim Scott CB 5'11, 190 Jr. *** (5.7) 12 42.0 5.8% 5.5 0 4 9 0 0
Darien Rankin FS 5'11, 200 So. *** (5.6) 11 36.5 5.0% 1 0 3 2 0 0
Gene Robinson RAM 11 35.0 4.8% 3 0 0 1 0 1
Pete Mangum RAM 6'0, 195 So. NR 12 26.5 3.7% 2 0 0 0 0 1
Terry Shankle CB 5'11, 190 Sr. **** (5.8) 9 22.5 3.1% 0 0 1 5 1 0
Sam Smiley SS 5'11, 185 So. ** (5.3) 7 19.0 2.6% 0 0 0 0 0 0
Alex Dixon CB 6'0, 185 So. *** (5.7) 12 12.0 1.7% 0 0 0 0 1 1
Kameron Jackson FS 5'11, 190 So. *** (5.5) 7 10.0 1.4% 1 0 0 0 0 0
Malik Simmons CB 5'11, 190 So. *** (5.6) 11 5.0 0.7% 0 0 0 0 0 1
T.J. Jiles CB 5'11, 165 So. *** (5.6) 11 4.0 0.6% 1 0 1 2 0 0
Tim Furr DB 5'10, 180 Jr. NR 2 2.0 0.3% 0 0 0 0 0 0
Ryan Mangum RAM 6'0, 195 So. NR 3 1.5 0.2% 0 0 0 0 0 0
Brandon Ellerbe RAM 6'0, 220 Jr. *** (5.5)
Clint Heaven S 6'0, 225 RSFr. *** (5.7)

Joe Jackson RAM 6'2, 210 RSFr. *** (5.6)

Brian Walker CB 5'11, 175 Fr. *** (5.7)

Dominique Green SS 5'11, 185 Fr. NR




8. Depth is not an issue

Sam Smiley has also been lost for the season with injury, but in all, 10 of the 12 DBs who made at least 4.0 tackles last year are back, including an aggressive pair of corners in Jabari Price and Tim Scott. The Ram position, another new one in the 4-2-5 (think hybrid safety/OLB), was also mostly devoid of playmaking in 2012 -- Gene Robinson and Pete Mangum combined for just five tackles for loss and one pass defensed, worse than Scott in both categories.

Former safety Brandon Ellerbe joins the mix at Ram, as does redshirt freshman Joe Jackson. But as with the Bandit position, there is no obvious reason to assume much improvement aside from the general "the second year in a new scheme is smoother than the first." With Price, Scott, and free safety Tre Boston leading the way, this experienced unit should at least be solid. But since the pass rush cannot assume improvement overall, the secondary will have to be downright good to get off the field in a more timely fashion.

Special Teams

Punter Ht, Wt 2013
Year
Punts Avg TB FC I20 FC/I20
Ratio
Tommy Hibbard 5'10, 190 Jr. 50 43.0 3 10 19 58.0%
Kicker Ht, Wt 2013
Year
Kickoffs Avg TB TB%
Casey Barth 72 61.2 19 26.4%
Thomas Moore 5'10, 200 Jr. 19 57.2 1 5.3%
Place-Kicker Ht, Wt 2013
Year
PAT FG
(0-39)
Pct FG
(40+)
Pct
Casey Barth 44-44 10-12 83.3% 5-7 71.4%
Thomas Moore 5'10, 200 Jr. 12-12 2-2 100.0% 0-1 0.0%
Returner Pos. Ht, Wt 2013
Year
Returns Avg. TD
Sean Tapley KR 6'1, 185 Jr. 31 23.4 1
Romar Morris KR 5'10, 185 So. 17 23.5 0
Giovani Bernard PR 16 16.4 2
Roy Smith PR 5'9, 170 Jr. 12 13.7 0
Category Rk
Special Teams F/+ 44
Net Punting 11
Net Kickoffs 103
Touchback Pct 102
Field Goal Pct 37
Kick Returns Avg 33
Punt Returns Avg 11

9. Well, if you have to lose Gio…

Roy Smith and his nearly 14 yards per punt return might do. Now, about those kickoffs...

2013 Schedule & Projection Factors

2013 Schedule
Date Opponent Proj. Rk
29-Aug at South Carolina 14
7-Sep Middle Tennessee 99
21-Sep at Georgia Tech 32
28-Sep East Carolina 74
5-Oct at Virginia Tech 23
17-Oct Miami 25
26-Oct Boston College 69
2-Nov at N.C. State 61
9-Nov Virginia 71
16-Nov at Pittsburgh 35
23-Nov Old Dominion NR
30-Nov Duke 88
Five-Year F/+ Rk 31
Two-Year Recruiting Rk 44
TO Margin/Adj. TO Margin* +7 / +8.1
TO Luck/Game -0.5
Approx. Ret. Starters (Off. / Def.) 15 (6, 9)
Yds/Pt Margin** -3.2

10. Wins in the back half

There is indeed optimism in Chapel Hill, but I'll say this: if there is still optimism after six games, then this season is shaping up to be an all-timer. With trips to South Carolina, Georgia Tech, and Virginia Tech followed by a visit from Miami in the first half of the slate, UNC will have to prove its bona fides from the opening kickoff. It will take a top-40 team to start better than about 3-3, and it might take a top-30 team to start even 4-2.

There are certainly wins on the back end (home games against Virginia, Old Dominion and Duke in November are a cushy), but even if UNC is pretty good, this season might take on a disappointing tone by August 30.

More from SB Nation:

Bill Connelly’s 125-team preview series is almost done

The developing Johnny Manziel autographs scandal

How ULM’s two-quarterback offense works

Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwww look at Tulsa’s new golden retriever

Projecting every 2013 college football conference race

Today’s college football news headlines

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