Running backs, quarterbacks and linemen(oh my!)
Having listened to Butch Davis answer different questions at ACC Football Kickoff, it was interesting to watch his emotional responses or the degree to which he checks what he says when answering an NCAA questions versus a football one. With the NCAA questions he has to be careful, make calculated statements and stick to certain talking points. When football questions get asked Davis is still guarded in his response but you can tell that is the topic he really wants to discuss. Davis wants to answer the question about how Bryn Renner will do or which part of the team concerns him most. I am sure he would love nothing better than to come back next season and deal with nothing but football questions, that is if he is still UNC's coach next year.
Anyway, because the NCAA questions took up so much time, we only got nuggets when it came to actual football. The question Davis heard the most was concerning QB Bryn Renner. The quick story on Renner is he has the arm, the talent and the confidence. What he lacks is the experience which can only come by playing. Davis thinks Renner that quality you see in mobile QBs to extend plays and make something happen. In short Renner has the tools just not the game experience which tells me we should be prepared for the occasional bad decision. However there is also the possibility Renner can make the spectacular play as well. Or better stated, Renner might be able to turn a five yard loss into a 15 yard gain but will he have the wits about him to spike the football with one second left and 15 players on the field?
Here is a quick hit of some of the other items Davis covered.
- Transfer DT Brandon Willis who committed to Tennessee, then left for UCLA, sat out the required year only to decide he wanted to come back to UNC is still waiting NCAA approval to play this season. Color me shocked.
- RB Ryan Houston will not be taking contact in practice until mid-August as he continues to rehab from shoulder surgery. Houston is the only running back UNC has with any kind of real experience so it is an understatement to say having him back is a big deal.
- Davis called the linebackers "an area of concern." This strikes me as low balling it a bit. UNC has Zach Brown and Kevin Reddick in two positions. All that is left is to fill the third and there are plenty of players fighting for that spot. The secondary on the other hand will keep people awake at night yet Davis did not seem concerned about that unit. Misdirection? Intentionally screwing with people? Coachspeak gone wild? I have no idea.
- JUCO transfer Sylvester Williams is getting a fair amount of attention. Davis said Williams has dealt with some difficult times and is "impressive" as a person. His football isn't bad either based on various reports since spring practice.
- The defensive and offensive lines are strengths. I think the OL will merit watching since they have not necessarily always performed consistently and with a rookie QB behind them ratchets up their value even more.
Inside Carolina has a summary piece on Davis who also alluded to recruiting being tougher this season. I think that is evident looking at the commit list which had more in the way of highly rated players at this point a year ago. It would not surprise me to see the upcoming recruiting class ranked much lower than the previous years.