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Yates: I Took A Step Back

Or three. Or stumbled backwards and fell down. I will say this, at least he is owning it:

Rarely if ever could you find a game where T.J. Yates scorched secondaries for bundles of points and yards, and he's willing to admit it.

"It definitely has been up and down. I definitely feel like I could have played a lot better," the junior quarterback said. "As far as progression goes and being a quarterback in your four years I think I kind of took a step back."

Sort of lost in the discussion here is the whole chicken or the egg thing. Did T.J. Yates really take a step back? Or is Yates exactly where he was a season ago but the rest of the offense went through such notable attrition, Yates was merely exposed as ordinary. From 2008 to 2009 the offensive line got thinner which hurt the running game. UNC lost two prolific receivers, one of which was the best in UNC history and was last seen catching a long TD pass on Sunday night for New York. In almost every way the offense as a whole took a step back mostly due to loss of personnel via graduation, injury or the NFL. As a result, Yates was called upon to do things he probably wasn't capable of doing but no one really knew that since the talent surrounding him last season masked his shortcomings. I also think not having Cam Sexton around to push him did not help his case either.

Here at THF, Yates has bore a ton of criticism, most of it deserved and some of it just to be funny. I do appreciate he is a stand-up guy who willingly goes before the media and says: Yes, I did not play as well as I could have and it hurt the team. From that attitude you can almost certainly assume, Yates will work exceptionally hard to improve his play for the bowl game and next season. Most of us assume Butch Davis will open up spring practice for a full QB competition with all eyes on redshirt freshman Bryn Renner as a possibility to step into the starting role for 2010. That being said it is still possible Yates can figure out these nagging issues with plague his decision-making and pass accuracy. I have no idea if he will get there, but his desire to take responsibility for his play this season tells me not to count him out.