The 2015 North Carolina football team was known for one thing in particular: offense. The question is, can they do it again? Under first year offensive coordinator Chris Kapilovic, can the Tar Heels provide us with another record-breaking season?
Last year’s squad was nothing short of incredible. Aside from winning 11 games, they set 62 team records. These include points in a season (570), points per game (40.7), total yards of offense in a season (6,817), total yards of offense per game in a season (486.9), most touchdowns (73), most rushing yards in a season (3,142), most rushing touchdowns (40), most passing yards (3,675) and most passing touchdowns (31). Let’s not bore you with all of them because the statistical list goes on and on, and that doesn’t even take into consideration individual records set last year. The fact is, this team set a boatload of records.
However, this year’s team could be poised for another record-breaking season. The offense brings back seven starters, with the major key loss being quarterback Marquise Williams. Insert junior quarterback Mitch Trubisky into the role and the offense should not miss a beat. The former Mr. Football in the state of Ohio completed 40 of 47 passes for 555 yards, six touchdowns, and zero interceptions at the backup role last year. Trubisky looked impressive in the spring game starting off 10 of 11 passing, while finishing the game 13 of 22 for 148 yards and a touchdown.
Despite the departure of Quinshad Davis, Trubisky will have help surrounding him with returning wide receivers Mack Hollins, Ryan Switzer, and Bug Howard. Hollins is coming off of a 30 receptions, 745 yards, eight touchdowns season. Switzer looks to build onto his 55 receptions, 697 yards, six touchdowns season. Howard’s numbers aren’t as impressive as Hollins or Switzer (29 receptions, 488 yards, four touchdowns), but he will play a more prominent role in this year’s offensive scheme.
So what about the ground game? The offensive line is returning four starters, and Trubisky did have 101 yards on the ground and three touchdowns in his limited action this past year. However, the load of the carries will fall upon returning starting running back Elijah Hood, who was 16th in the country last year in total yards with 1,463. The preseason Maxwell Award Watch List nominee will look to be the cornerstone of the offense this year with an “inexperienced” quarterback at the helm.
It will be a daunting task for this year’s group to keep up with a team that ranked 18th nationally in total offense in 2015. However, a more experienced squad led by a more accurate quarterback at the helm combined with his ability to run, we may see records fall once again this year.