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Final Football Notes

  • Deunta Williams was named ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year earlier this week giving UNC one significant postseason player honor. Williams started at safety tallying three INTs and 57 tackles. Actually Williams had four INTs on the season but the ineptitude of the ACC officials on hand for the game against SCAR saw fit to rule his INT an incomplete pass. Since the ACC officials in the replay booth only confirm calls mainly because they are too busy watching SEC football, Williams was basically robbed of an additional INT.
  • UNC had four second team All-ACC selections. Kentawn Balmer, Durell Mapp, Hilee Taylor and Hakeem Nicks. Among the honorable mentions was Connor Barth and Brandon Tate. And yes, the first three were all defensive players and also all seniors. I think I just got a little sick thinking about losing three of the front seven who also happen to be All-ACC caliber players.
  • T.J. Yates finished second behind Wake's Josh Adams for ACC Rookie of the Year as well as the offensive version of that award. Yates was better than we all expected coming in, mainly because Davis had downplayed the position as being one that was expected to perform decently and not make mistakes on a regular basis. Yates did this and then some. However as well as Yates performed he did get a little INT prone near the end of the season and it would appear also had issue seeing the whole field, especially the linebackers. The question heading into the spring is whether Mike Paulus can take his job from him. Paulus did not come to sit on the bench and I expect a full blown QB debate come spring practice.
  • None of the established running backs on the depth chart provided anything substantive. This is led to Davis using Greg Little from the tailback slot against Georgia Tech and Duke. Little did not disappoint running for 89 yards versus the Jackets(which included one play for a 26 yard loss) and 154 yards versus Duke, the most by any Heel this season. This set off a IC message board frenzy of speculation on why no one thought of this until now and if Little has what it takes to be in the backfield exclusively. Little's development will be interesting to watch heading into the spring to see if Davis opts for him to line up behind the QB.[Edit Note: The above section was massively rewritten to account for the fact I totally forgot about the Georgia Tech game until my vigilant commenters pointed it out. This is what happens when you get both sports going at the same time]
  • UNC ended up the season 4-8 which was precisely where I thought they would end up. I also believed they would be competitive and they were with six of the eight losses coming by a combined total of 24 points. Converting half those chances puts you in at 7-5 not 4-8. UNC was 3-5 in the ACC with wins over Miami, Maryland and Duke.
  • As I have said way too many times since last spring, I firmly believe there was so much more to this season than the scoreboard at the end of the game. The fact UNC was in all of those games represents such a grand departure from the madness of last season. Aside from that, Davis' presence seems to generate excitement for the program as well as a general fee that the Heels are capable of being in the game against almost anyone. The football program is on the rise with serious discussion about how to expand Kenan, signs of good recruiting and provisions made to keep the coach in place for the foreseeable future.
  • So I look at the first season as a considerable success as it compares to previous seasons especially as it pertains to the obvious upgrade in coaching skills. The culture is changing and UNC, beind Davis, is slowly getting the ship off the ground on the way to creating a perennial member of the Top 25 football team. It is a tough but interesting journey UNC football has embarked on and it will be nice to start seeing some results come next year.