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The Good, Bad, and Ugly Report: James Madison

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Now that's the way to start.

UNC opened the 2011 season with a convincing victory over an admittedly overmatched opponent, but looked relatively sharp in doing so. The offense was extremely efficient and the defense only allowed one touchdown, and even that happened on a short field after a blocked punt.

With that in mind, here is the GBU report for JMU:


Bryn Renner: What else can you say but wow? Renner set an ACC record for pass completion percentage (and missed the NCAA record by one-tenths of a percentage point), going 22-23 for 277 yards, a passing TD, and a rushing TD (And the one pass Renner did not complete was intercepted, so not a single pass the guy threw hit the ground). Offensive coordinator John Shoop called a good game for the sophomore QB, giving him lots of short looks and crossing routes and stretching the field a couple of times as well.

Ryan Houston and Gio Bernard: If you didn't know, it would have been hard to tell neither of these guys took a snap last season. Houston looked like the bruiser of 2009 and Bernard, who we already knew was fast, showed a great feel for finding the holes and letting the pay develop while getting his blockers ahead of him. Effectiveness in the running game eases the pressure on Renner as well.

Receivers: Dwight Jones showed why he is a preseason all-ACC pick with athletic moves and dragging guys to the end zone on the second TD reception. More important, as noted in the comments on Renner, there was not a single drop all day, whether it be wideouts or backs who were thrown to.

Everett Withers: First test passed. For the most part, UNC looked sharp, focused, and disciplined. Withers seemed in control and the team responded.


Pass Defense: As expected, the young and banged up UNC secondary struggled against the pass, a situation that was not helped by UNC's lack of significant pressure on the QB until late in the 3rd quarter when the D-line finally wore down JMU's offensive line. But this "bad" ranking comes with an asterisk in that we knew going in that this was an area of concern. If this is still in the "bad" category in three weeks, then UNC has a real problem.

Devon Ramsey's Injury: Poor guy. He fought the law and won, gets back on the field, and gets hurt and has to leave on the sports medicine cart. Initial reports indicated a sprained knee. Hope he returns soon


Special Teams: Hard to find too much fault with a 42-10 win, but UNC's special teams really struggled. There was a delay of game penalty on a punt, poor tackling in kick coverage all afternoon, the dropped snap that led to a blocked punt, and a JMU punt return that went 98 yards for a TD but was called back by a penalty that happened before the catch and 20 yards from the ball. Plus it's telling that freshman punter Thomas Hibbard, who dropped the punt snap, beat out incumbent Chris Feagles for the job in the past few weeks. As the competition gets tougher, this kind of stuff can cost ball games.

Even though this was a solid first effort, the Heels must improve each week as the quality of competition improves each week. Still, the mood should be positive as the team moves forward in preparing for Rutgers.