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UNC Football Preview, 2013-2014

UNC Football Preview, 2013-2014

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Published by The Daily Tar Heel
Preview issue for UNC Football for the 2013 - 2014 season.
Preview issue for UNC Football for the 2013 - 2014 season.

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Published by: The Daily Tar Heel on Aug 29, 2013
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FOOTBALL PREVIEW
20132014
Renner, the comfortable captain
dth/katie sweeney
By Brooke Pryor
Sports Editor
Leading up to North Carolina’sseason opener against South Carolina,one name has been on the lips of every coach, player and analyst associated with the game.Except for Bryn Renner’s.“What’s his name?” Renner asked.“I thought he quit. I thought heretired early.”Renner, of course, was joking. Heknows exactly what’s coming for himThursday night. Jadeveon Clowney  will be gunning for him from theother side. Renner will be protected by an offensive line anchored by pre-season first team All-ACC linemanJames Hurst.Renner enters the season with a  year of a new playbook under his belt,looking nothing like the inconsistentsignal caller from early last season.
A rocky start
In the beginning of the 2012 sea-son, Renner’s three interceptionsthrough the first three games showedhe wasn't completely comfortablemaking decisions in coach Larry Fedora’s new system. Renner had pre- viously started under Everett Withersin a pro-style offense and threw formore than 3,000 yards in his sopho-more season.But in the first few games of Fedora's inaugural year, Rennerstruggled to replicate the same pro-duction from the year before.Renner admits to often forcing theoffense, rather than trusting the playsto naturally develop.“I was threading the needle whenI didn't have to, which is just my mentality that I had to grow out of,”Renner said. “I was trying to go fora deep ball here and there and really forcing my will on the offense.“But I realized the offense is goingto take care of itself if I do my job.”
Mowing through opponents
Learning a new playbook in thefew weeks of the preseason is no easy feat, and Renner admits that the teamoften felt frenzied in trying to keep up with a frantic no-huddle offense.But as the season went on, Rennercomfortably settled into Fedora’soffense, and it showed. Renner threw 13 touchdowns in the final six gamesof the season.The same playful personality shown at UNC’s pre-South Carolina interviews manifested on the field
see
RenneR,
Page 8
Morris and Blue take charge
Soph receiverdriven for more
dth file/chloe stePhenson
Romar Morris is one of two seasoned running backs faced with the task of replacing Giovani Bernard.
By Henry Gargan
Senior Writer
 When you add a RomarMorris to an A.J. Blue, does thesum equal a Giovani Bernard? With the record-break-ing tailback beginning tomake waves for the NFL’sCincinnati Bengals , NorthCarolina’s offense hopes theefforts of Morris and Blue canprovide a ground attack aspotent as the threat Bernardposed last season.But perhaps that’s not a fair question. After all, Blueand Morris both played cru-cial roles alongside Bernardlast season.Morris is a redshirt sopho-more who spent his fresh-man season returning punts, blocking kicks and picking up yardage in all sorts of ways.Blue is a redshirt senior whorecently turned 24. Injuriesand other adversity have pro-longed his stay at UNC.This season he and histeammates hope his experi-ence will anchor the other- wise youthful backfield.Freshmen runners KhrisFrancis and T.J. Logan arefalling into the support-ing roles Morris and Blueoccupied last season, andthe older backs have takenit upon themselves to makesure the freshman duo will beprepared to step up when thetime comes.It’s been clear since thespring that the task of fillingBernard’s shoes will fall toMorris and Blue.“(Bernard) was a greatplayer, he was a game-break-er, but Blue and Romar have been there, they’ve had plenty of time themselves, and Itrust those guys to get the jobdone,” senior offensive line-man James Hurst said.Blue’s nine rushing touch-downs were second only toBernard’s 12 last season.Morris rushed for two scoreslast season, but after impres-sive performances in thespring game and preseasonpractices, the Salisbury, NCnative has emerged this sea-son as Blue’s equal in compe-tition for Bernard’s job.“I think Romar has beenthe guy that’s really steppedup out there,” coach Larry Fedora said on his weekly radio show last spring.But regardless of who linesup for the opening snap inColumbia, S.C. on Thursday,Hurst said he and the rest of the Tar Heels know it will takethe combined, complementary efforts of Blue and Morris toachieve the desired result —an ACC championship.“Blue is a veteran, he’shard-nosed, he’s really goingto run downhill and get thetough yards that you need—third and short, third andgoal, whatever,” Hurst said.“Romar, he’s kind of yourhome run. You look up andhe’s in the endzone. I think it’sgreat that we’re going to havetwo backs like that workingtogether.”
sports@dailytarheel.com
The duo is tskedwith replcingGiovni Bernrd.Quinshd Dviswnts to build on lstseson’s success.
By Robbie Harms
Senior Writer
Quinshad Davis is, accord-ing to his Twitter, just a youngman trying to make it, andthe sophomore receiver could be well on his way.He has the frame — 6-foot-4 and 205 pounds, and grow-ing — the talent — 61 catchesfor 776 yards last season, both UNC freshman records— and, perhaps most impor-tantly, the desire.Davis, from Gaffney, S.C.,emerged as one of UNC’stop options last season as a true freshman, and he has noplans to regress.“We should be the onesthat y’all look to see and belike, ‘Oh man, what a catch, what a run,’” he said of this year’s corps of receivers. “Weshould be that group.”It’s not often a kid two years out of high school is thespecter in ACC cornerbacks’dreams, but it’s not often a freshman has a season likeDavis’ last year.He played in all 12 games,starting 10, and had a catchin each one. He tied the ACC record for catches inone game with 16. He was
INSIDE:
SCHEDULEJAMES HURSTNON-ACC FOESSTARTERSFRESHMEN
dth file/sPencer herlong
Quinshad Davis (left) cel-ebrates with quarterback BrynRenner (right) in a Thursdaynight win against Virginia.
named an honorable men-tion freshman All-America by CollegeFootballNews.com.“He’s so athletic and hassuch great body control in theair,” coach Larry Fedora said.Davis was a cherishedrecruit, South Carolina’sGatorade Player of the Yearas a senior, and came to UNCcarrying a set of expectationsrare for an 18-year-old. And it took fewer than 10minutes for Davis to show the world he’d arrived. The catchcame late in the first quar-ter of UNC’s season openeragainst Elon. Quarterback 
see
Davis,
Page 8
Thursdy, august 29, 2013dilytrheel.com
 
Football 2013
Thursday, August 29, 2013
The Daily Tar Heel
2
2013 FOOTBALL SCHEDULE
DateOpponentLocatonTme
Thursday, Aug. 29
Saturday, Sept. 7
Saturday, Sept. 21
Saturday, Sept. 28
Saturday, Oct. 5
Thursday, Oct. 17Saturday, Oct. 26
Saturday, Nov. 2
Saturday, Nov. 9
 Saturday, Nov. 16
Saturday, Nov. 23Saturday, Nov. 30
 South Carolina
Mddle Tennessee State
Georgia Tech
East Carolna
Virginia Tech
MamBoston Collee
N.C. State
Vrna
Pittsburgh
Old DomnonDue
Columbia, S.C.
Chapel Hll
Atlanta, Ga.
Chapel Hll
Blacksburg, Va.
Chapel HllChapel Hll
Raleigh
Chapel Hll
Pittsburgh, Pa.
Chapel HllChapel Hll
6 p.m.
12:30 p.m.
TBA
TBA
TBA
TBATBA
 TBA
TBA
TBA
TBATBA
 Veteran Rettig leads the Eagles
By Wesley Lima
Staff Writer
In a top-heavy AtlanticDivision that boasts confer-ence favorites Clemson andFlorida State, first-year BostonCollege coach Steve Addazioand the Eagles face a tall task of clawing their way back intothe ACC elites.Facing the Seminoles inthe fourth game of the season just one week aftera WestCoast visitto No. 24SouthernCalifornia  will be a trial by fire for a teamcoming off a 2-10 campaignlast season.“To get our program pre-pared for what we have to beprepared for in a short amountof time is really challenging,” Addazio said. “I tell them every day we’re in a foot race.”Fortunately for the formerTemple head coach, the manat the helm of the offense isfourth-year starting quarter- back Chase Rettig.Rettig threw for more than3,000 yards last season.Despite playing for a slew of offensive coordinatorssince he started as a truefreshman, Rettig said hehasn’t had difficulty with any 
qUiCk HiTS:BOSTON COLLEgE
Head coach: Steve Addazio2012 record: 2-10, 1-7 ACC2012 Atlantic Divisionfinish: Sixth placeProjected Atlantic Divisonfinish: Seventh placeDate with North Carolina:Oct. 26
of the transitions.“This is my fifth system inthree-and-a-half years, so it’snot the most ideal situation, but you’ve got to approachthe game as a professional,”Rettig said.For this season, Addazio has brought in a familiar face torun his offense. Ryan Day — who served as a receivers coachat Boston College before leav-ing to join Addazio at Templefor one season — is back withthe Eagles, and is re-establish-ing his relationship with Rettig.“He really thought highly of me, so obviously I respecthim a lot,” Rettig said. “Ithink it’s been a good rela -tionship since he’s been outhere. We’ve been gettingcloser with each other.”
sports@dailytarheel.com
 
Football 2013
Thursday, August 29, 2013
The Daily Tar Heel
3
Hurst ready to lead UNCs line
dth file/katie sweeney
James Hurst (68) celebrates after tailback A.J. Blue (15) scores a touchdown against Virginia Tech lastseason. Hurst is the most experienced player on UNC’s offensive line, having made 36 career starts.
By Jonathan LaMantia
Senior Writer
For an offensive tacklelike North Carolina seniorJames Hurst, the prospect of  your assignment blowing by  you and drilling your team-mate — with little you can do but trail behind and pick theteammate off the ground — isdevastating.“Our job is to protect thoseguys in the backfield,” offen-sive line coach Chris Kapilovicsaid. “You miss a block, yourquarterback could be in thehospital that day. They trustus and in turn we have to haveunbelievable focus.”South Carolina defensiveend Jadeveon Clowney is thekind of player who tests thattrust.The 6-foot-6, 274-poundHeisman Trophy candidaterecorded 13 sacks and 23.5tackles for loss last season.Most memorably, on a play immortalized as “The Hit,”Clowney broke through theMichigan offensive line andswallowed up running back  Vincent Smith.Clowney’s legend grows with each replay of “The Hit,and he was recently called“He Who Cannot BeBlocked”in a New York Times profile.Hurst — the most seasonedUNC veteran with 36 starts— intends to block him.“It’s going to be 60 minutesof probably the best player I’veever got to block, but I’m look -ing forward to it,” Hurst said.“He’s a great player, and if you want to take your game to thenext level, you’re going to haveto play the best player.”Hurst, who at 6-foot-7,305-pounds was selected tothe preseason All-ACC firstteam, has NFL aspirations,and his matchup againstClowney will likely be watchedclosely by NFL scouts.CBSSports.com projects Hurstas the sixth best offensivetacklein the 2014 draft class, which could land him in thedraft’s first two rounds.“If you’re going to have togo into a contest where their best guy is out there, you want to put your best guy outthere, and I have 100 per-cent confidence in (Hurst),Kapilovic said.Though Thursday’s testlooms large, UNC has a sea-son beyond Clowney andSouth Carolina, and it is by that body of work that Hurst’soffensive line will be judged. After three years of play-ing with veterans, Hurstnow holds seniority, and hasadjusted to his new role as vocal leader of the line.“Middle of the game, say wehave some adversity and aredown a few scores, I feel likeI’ve got to say something to theguys to get them going a little bit, and turn the tide,” he said. Vocality doesn’t necessarily come naturally to the hulk-ing yet relatively soft-spokenHurst, but Kapilovic believesHurst acts as a perfect foil tothe coach’s bad cop role, liftinghis teammates’ spirits after theposition coach scolds them.Offensive coordinatorBlake Anderson said Hurst isthe right kind of role modelfor the offensive line, whichalso features redshirt juniorcenter Russell Bodine andredshirt sophomore left guardLandon Turner, who have 18combined starts.“With some guys thatare young, that haven’t hada whole lot of experience, Anderson said, “to be able todraw from a guy that’s calm,that’s experienced, that’s beenthrough the fire as many repsas he has, that’s got to behelpful for everybody.”
sports@dailytarheel.com
PEOPLE TO WATCH:
Martin returns as a starterfor his senior season withgreat expectations. The6-foot-6, 265-pounder wasselected to the 2012 All-ACCSecond Team and enters thisyear with Preseason All-ACChonors.As a junior, Martin regis-tered 40 tackles — 15.5 fora loss. Martin also notchedfour sacks for a total loss of 32yards.Martin recorded a season-high seven tackles againstDuke last year and is project-ed to be North Carolina’s topreturner on defense.
 The 2012 Tar Heel defense ranked fifth in the ACC, allowing an aver-age of 25.7 points per game. UNC lost many defensive players, includ-ing linebacker Kevin Reddick and defensive tackle Sylvester Williams.
Jackson is a flexibledefender with the capabil-ity of playing both defensiveend and tackle. The 6-foot-5285-pound senior recorded18 tackles last season, half of which were unassisted.His four tackles againstDuke last year matched a sea-son high.Jackson also had fourtackles for a loss in the 2012campaign, including onesack.An Exercise and SportScience major, he earnedAll-ACC academic honors lastseason.Price, a returning starter, isexpected to be a leader in thesecondary for North Carolinathis season. The 6-foot-0, 200-poundsenior has started 17 games inhis three years at UNC, 11 of which were during his junioryear.Price had the third-mosttackles for the Tar Heels lastseason with 76 and lead theteam with nine pass break-ups.Parker was a key compo-nent for UNC in 2012, regis-tering at least four tackles inevery game.Boston returns for hissenior season after leadingNorth Carolina in tackles lastseason with 86 — 49 of whichwere solo stops. Those numbers earnedthe 6-foot-1, 205-poundsafety an All-ACC HonorableMention last season and 2013Preseason All-ACC honors.Boston also earned ACCDefensive Back of the Week honors two times last season. The senior started all 12games at safety in 2012, andleads all returning starters ininterceptions with four lastseason and eight for his career.
Kareem Martin, Defensive endTim Jackson, Defensive tackle Jabari Price, CornerbackTre Boston, Free safety
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