2002 Final Rankings
AP-UR, Coaches-UR, BCS-UR
is clearly nowhere to go but up for the
Tar Heels after a dismal 2002 season. What
was most disturbing was the way the team
totally collapsed late. In one four-game
stretch, Carolina was outscored 172-33.
season was a painful transition year for
Head Coach John Bunting and his staff. In
2001, Bunting's first season at the helm,
he still had some veterans who had been
recruited into the program by former Coach
Mack Brown. In 2002, those veterans were
gone and had been replaced by ones recruited
by Brown's replacement, Carl Torbush.
failed in his three years as head coach,
largely due to that volatile, untraceable
mix of poor attitude(s) and work ethic(s)
in many of his recruits, and marginally
weak coaching. Understandably, Bunting was
unable to effectively coach many of these
jaded seniors. This, along with a rash of
serious injuries, resulted in an embarrassing
downward spiral that did not stop until
the season-ending win over Duke.
more of Bunting's recruits set to receive
significant playing time, 2003's quality
of play will be better. There are a few
players in the skill positions who could
have outstanding seasons, but without the
foundation of a strong front seven and a
solid offensive line, Carolina faces another
losing season. The Heels will undoubtedly
be more competitive. But a difficult out-of-conference
schedule, along with a balanced (strong)
ACC, mean drastic improvement(s) on their
3-8 2002 record is unlikely.
something has to give - either better statistical
results, or more wins, will need to occur
for the present coaching staff to stay intact.
Only so much blame can be put on the players.
They are kids, and in college they are still
working their way up that steep learning
curve of life, let alone football. More
responsibility is put on the coaches to
motivate and shape impressionable young
minds into well-rounded, personally capacitated
men. The failure of the staff to gear 2002's
squad properly has to markedly improve in
2003. The offense (line), especially, has
to emerge as a coherent unit for Tranquill,
and possibly Bunting, to keep his (their)
job(s). Many coaches have done more with
just as little, so it is tell-tale time
for Tar Heels on many levels. Look for many
improvements to be the result, enough for
at least Bunting to stay.
2003 record: 5-7
Darian Durant, 248-147-9, 2122 yds., 16
Rushing: Jacque Lewis, 130 att.,
574 yds., 2 TD
Receiving: Jarwarski Pollock, 31
rec., 464 yds., 4 TD
Scoring: Dan Orner, 9-14 FG, 26-27
PAT, 53 pts.
Punting: John Lafferty, 61 punts,
Kicking: Dan Orner, 9-14 FG, 26-27
PAT, 53 pts.
Tackles: Dexter Reid, 166 tot., 107
Sacks: Jocques Dumas, Donti Coats,
Clarence Gaddy - 2 sacks each
Interceptions: Michael Waddell, 2
for 33 yds.
Kickoff returns: Wallace Wright,
28 ret., 21.8 avg.
Punt returns: Michael Waddell, 17
ret., 4.2 avg.
Sam Aiken-WR, Zach Hilton-TE, Chesley Borders-WR
Stewart-WLB, DeFonte Coleman-SS, Kevin Knight-CB
by James Johnson
passing offense set school records last season
for total yardage, completions, and attempts.
This was primarily due to the efforts of quarterback
Darian Durant, who returns for his junior season
minus the turmoil of last off-season. Durant announced
his desire to transfer, then reconsidered and
returned to Chapel Hill. His performance last
season offers great promise for this year, where
he will be focused and healthy. His average of
8.73 yards per pass attempt vouches for his ability
to get the ball downfield. Durant also showed
the ability to pull the ball down to run for positive
yardage. He will be somewhat overshadowed in a
league with quarterbacks like NC State's Philip
Rivers and Virginia's Matt Schaub, but he will
be a very dangerous weapon in his own right.
group of wide receivers consists of inexperienced
and generally average players. The one possible
exception to that label is junior Jarwarski Pollock.
The small receiver averaged 15 yards per reception,
so he does have the speed and quickness to be
a serious downfield threat. But you don't see
another wide receiver on the roster that can draw
a defense's attention away from Pollock. Tight
end Bobby Blizzard (senior, 6'3", 276 lbs.)
will be the Tar Heels' most experienced receiver
this season. Blizzard averaged 15.7 yards per
catch, an amazing number for someone of that size.
He should be an even bigger part of Carolina's
passing game this season. The team will excel
if it can develop a possession-type downfield
Jacque Lewis (5'10", 184 lbs.) showed some
promise as 2002's lead UNC running back. He didn't
get a lot of touches (since the Tar Heels were
frequently forced to play catch-up, and, accordingly,
ignored their running game), but Lewis still averaged
4.4 yards-per-carry. He has deceptive speed and
can be an impact receiver coming out of the backfield.
But North Carolina has to commit to this offensive
dimension if it is to improve 2002 average of
just over 100 yards-per-game. He will perform
if tapped. Chad Scott has provided a challenge
to Lewis' starting job in Spring ball. Scott is
a third team freshman All-American transfer from
Kentucky. He sat out 2002, but look for him to
eventually emerge as the team's focus for their
running future. Wait, there is more good news
for their quickly-recovering ground arsenal.
is an underdeveloped position at Chapel Hill.
Accordingly, we prognosticate that transfer Rikki
Cook (New Jersey's 2000 Gatorade Player of the
Year) needs to emerge (after sitting out 2002.)
He is a sprinter in a fullback's body, a position
he played well in prep ball. The team needs both
a FB and a running game - Rikki should solve both
dilemmas with his ability to make defenses look
his way. But he is so far untapped in anything
the Tar Heels are doing in Spring scrimmages.
If they can figure out how to get him some action,
he will somehow be key in carrying the team to
running success, either smacking head-to-head
with some unsuspecting LB on a lead block, or
carrying the ball. Probably both. But where is
he? Coaching jobs will roll if the running game
offensive line could improve over last season
and still not be all that great. The Heels finished
with a starting line consisting of one junior,
three sophomores, and a freshman (only two months
past his 18th birthday.) Inexperience was obviously
a factor in their struggles, but it does not totally
explain allowing 46 sacks and managing only three
yards per rushing attempt. None of the returning
starters weigh less than 280 pounds. C Jason Brown
(junior) and G Kyle Ralph (sophomore) are considered
to be the best of the group - Brown could be the
best center in the ACC. They will need to hasten
their unit's development and lead their teammates
toward marked improvement for Carolina to even
be competitive. Durant's experience and a bevy
of quality backs should help them along, too.
CAROLINA 2003 DEPTH CHART
Returning Starters in bold
by James Johnson
a defense gives up over 32 points and over 200
yards rushing per tilt, there are not many good
things to surmise. Injuries devastated the Tar
Heels' defense last season, with four veteran
starters down for the count by the end of the
year. The experience their replacements gained
was often painful to watch, but should pay dividends
in 2003. There was even one three-game stretch
late in the season where Carolina gave up 47 points
per game, so improvements are needed in all areas.
much of that was S Dexter Reid's fault. Reid led
the Tar Heels with over 150 tackles, and is regarded
as one of the best safties in the nation (3rd
team NationalChamps.net All-American). He is strong
on pass coverage with deceptive closing speed,
and also a big hitter - a rare combination in
a collegiate defensive back.
the rest of the DBs have to utilize their speed
to improve on a mere six INTs. The return of CB
Waddell should help. His broken leg has not hampered
his quickness as evident throughout Spring ball.
But this is their best returning defensive unit,
so UNC has to work forward with regards to what
they can rely on with any confidence.
defense had accumulated only 14 sacks in their
first 11 games before Duke's offensive line collapsed
and gave up seven in Carolina's season ending
victory. The Tar Heels were also only credited
with six quarterback hurries, meaning that opposing
quarterbacks could enjoy coffee and a roll before
throwing the ball.
only one projected starter on the defensive line
weighing in at over 265 pounds, the Tar Heels
defense will spend a lot of time being pushed
around by any team with a decent running game,
which includes most of the ACC for 2003. An eighth
man in the box seems like it will be a regular
occurrence. Sophomores DE Tommy Davis and DT Kendall
High are Carolina's best hopes for improved DL
play. Both started and took their lumps. But enough
new blood and talent is there for this unit to
overcome allowing 4.8 yards-per-rush. The Tar
Heels need some punishment out of them this year.
The big guys up front will also have a new position
coach. Brad Lawing comes to Chapel Hill after
helping Michigan State to the top of many Big
Ten defensive statistics in 1999 and 2000.
LBs are very small. Among those likely to see
extensive playing time this season, sophomore
Jeff Longhany is the only player listed at over
240. Doug Justice, a starter as a redshirt freshman,
was the closest thing to an impact player Carolina
had on the front seven. Justice should develop
into a force with another year in the weight room
(and on the field) under his belt.
CAROLINA 2003 DEPTH CHART
Returning Starters in bold
Richardson-So / Mahlon Carey-So
place kicking duties are in good hands/feet of Dan Orner.
Orner, a senior, had an amazing game at Syracuse converting
three attempts from beyond the 50-yard line. Overall,
he converted on 8-of-11 kicks and made all 24 of his
extra-points. Senior Torpher Roberts will again handle
kickoffs. He has a very strong leg as he demonstrated
in the Heels trip to Arizona State with five touchbacks
on five kicks in the desert air.
John Lafferty will again handle the punting chores.
He kicked to a mediocre average of 36.5, but his hang
time is adequate. UNC is going to need more than 31
net yards when they punt, or this weaker part could
offset any superiority the return game may provide.
Wallace Wright will return kickoffs again. He had plenty
of opportunities on a team that allowed 421 points.
Jarwarski Pollock earned the punt return job late in
2002 and showed the promise of becoming a dangerous
weapon. His speed (4.3 in the 40 at Spring drills),
especially the fear he creates in just his first step,
should be the difference in a game or two.
freshman Ronnie McGill rushed for 104 yards in his Kenan
Stadium debut on Saturday to lead the White team to
a 21-10 victory over the Blue team in North Carolina's
annual spring football game.
McGill and quarterback C.J. Stephens, who completed
11 of 17 passes for 113 yards, led the White team offense,
while sophomore cornerback Cedrick Holt added an interception
for the White defense.
"Throughout the entire spring, we [the offense]
had the edge over the defense," Durant said. "They
came out today fighting and they fought to win. I was
very surprised at the way they played."
Ronnie McGill 24-104
Chad Scott 5-13
Jacque Lewis 6-33
Willie Parker 10-52
Jarwarski Pollock 2-6
Drayton Henderson 1-1
Andre' Williams 1-1
Passing (comp-att-int, yards, TD)
Darian Durant 9-19-0, 115 yards
C.J. Stephens 11-17-1, 113 yards
Matt Baker 7-16-0, 68 yards, 1 TD
Landon Mariani, 1-4, 3 yards
Tom O'Leary 1-2, 24 yards
Jeff Longhany 8 solo, 3 assists
Devllen Bullard, 5 solo, 1 assist
Rashaad Tindall, 5 solo, 1 assist
Melik Brown, 5 solo, 1 assist
Tommy Richardson, 6 solo
Cedrick Holt, 5 solo, 1 INT