Where: Kenan Stadium, Chapel Hill, NC
When: Saturday, August 30th, 6:00 PM
TV: NONE Radio: Tar Heel Sports Network
Records: UNC 0-0, MSU 0-0
Butch Davis: Year #2
McNeese State comes in having finished 11-0 during the regular season in 2007 and by all accounts is a good football team on the I-AA level. UNC opens the season with as much hype and anticipation surrounding any season since Mack Brown was running the program. The expectation is that UNC will easily handle the Cowboys and perhaps prove, at least in small measure, that the preseason exaltation of the Heels was well deserved.
For UNC, this game will be about getting some indication as to how the question marks surrounding certain facets of the team might be answered going forward. In facing a McNeese St team that uses the spread offense and employs some quick receivers, focus will be on how well the thin secondary responds. Help for that group can come from the talented defensive line dominating the line of scrimmage and pressuring the QB as well as seeing if the linebackers can perform. So far we have no idea what to expect from the linebackers and while games versus I-AA teams are not taken with a grain of salt, a great game from the defense could serve to set the tone moving forward.
On the offensive side of the ball, all eyes will be on Greg Little and his teammates in the backfield. The emergence of an effective running game has significant bearing on how the passing game will work. The offensive line will also be under pressure to prove they have blossomed into a cohesive and effective unit. So much of what happens on offense starts with the line and hinges on a balance between the passing and running games. There is no doubt the passing game can be extremely potent but only if the Heels can run the ball enough to keep opposing defenses honest. It would be nice to see signs of this, even if it is the opener versus a lower division opponent.
After a decade of bad football, UNC comes in with the promise of a good season on the horizon. It starts with this game and hopefully launches the Heels forward into a wildly successful season of football.
UNC 38 McNeese St. 10