...in the form of the preseason All-ACC picks.
Three Tar Heels were named to the preseason All-ACC defensive team: DE Marvin Austin, LB Quan Sturdivant and CB Kendric Burney. Virginia Tech had two players named to the defensive team which is to say UNC's defense is expected to do great things this season. Well that is assuming there is a decent scheme to utilize the talent such as one that, I don't know, puts pressure on the QB. In fact there is no reason we should not see copious instances of Austin and Sturdivant finding their way to the backfield to tackle RBs for a loss or attempting to take out an opposing QB. Let us not forget the likes of Deunta Williams alongside Burney in the secondary and Bruce Carter playing with Sturdivant. In short, UNC has the talent. If there are issues on defense this season like we saw in 2008 then we can safely assume it is the coaching and we can probably starting taking odds on when Everett Withers gets his walking papers.
The great fear with this season is we end up with games like the losses to Virginia Tech, Maryland and Virginia which saw the Heels lose games giving up 20 points or less. Of course that was hardly about the Heels' defense but rather a poor offensive performance from the other team. UNC still had issues stopping teams when it counted late in the fourth quarter thanks to a prevent defense that could not have stopped Charlotte Independence was scoring if it was so inclined. Needless to say there are no excuses for a porous defense this season unless the coaching comes up short again.