2012 North Carolina Tar Heels Football Preview
2011 Record: 7-6 (3-5 ACC)
Head Coach: Larry Fedora, first season (34-19 overall)
Projected Returning Starters: 15
Spring Game: April 14th (Blue 44 White 21)
Notes: The days of Butch Davis’s pro style offense are gone. Last off-season, Davis was fired amid allegations of NCAA violations. Everett Withers replaced Davis as interim coach, leading the Tar Heels to a bowl game. Withers is now the defensive coordinator at Ohio State. All in all, Withers did a decent job as head coach, especially considering the attention the North Carolina program had and the distractions that went along with it. Coach Larry Fedora, formerly of Southern Miss, probably takes over the most prestigious job that was available in the college football offseason. Much of his staff is new to Chapel Hil, although Gunter Brewer and Tom Myslinski, wide receivers coach and strength and conditioning coordinator, respectively, are returning. Fedora brought much of his staff with him, including offensive coordinator Blake Anderson and defensive coordinator Dan Disch. Vic Koenning will also share duties on the defensive side with Disch, having been formerly at Illinois.
BVTSB Take: Many programs struggle with the transition from pro style to spread, so expect North Carolina to have some growing pains this season. Its probably a good season for this to occur, as the Tar Heels are ineligible for the Coastal Division Title, ACC Title, and a bowl game. UNC also loses five scholarships for each of the next three seasons, beginning with the recruiting class of 2013. Bryn Renner will be the starting quarterback in the fall. As a first year starter in Chapel Hill, Renner threw for over 3000 yards, completing 68% of his passes and 26 touchdowns. Expect Marquise Williams to back up Renner. Freshman phenom Giovani Bernard will lead the run game for the Heels. He rushed for over 1200 yards and 13 touchdowns in 2011. Leading receiver Dwight Jones will be playing for the NFL’s Houston Texans – he had nearly 1200 receiving yards and 12 of the team’s 26 receiving touchdowns. Second leading receiving Erik Highsmith does return, though (726 receiving yards, 14.2 per catch average, and five receiving touchdowns). North Carolina faced James Madison, Rutgers, East Carolina, and Louisville in non-conference, winning each game. After starting the season 5-1, North Carolina went 2-5 down the stretch. The Heels face Elon, Louisville, East Carolina, and Idaho in non-conference. The Tar Heels could go 3-1 or even 4-0 in those games, though the trip to Louisville will be tough. North Carolina faces Wake Forest, North Carolina State, and Maryland in cross-over games from the Atlantic Division. Games at Miami (FL) and Virginia could pose problems, as well as home games against Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech. I said earlier about UNC’s learning curve – expect a regression in wins in 2012.
2012 Early Projection: 6-6
To see the 2012 ACC composite schedule, click here.
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