The 2010 season held a lot of promise for North Carolina before it was derailed by NCAA suspensions. The 2011 season had its own ominous start as head coach Butch Davis was let go just prior to the start of summer camp. With an NCAA investigation still swirling in Chapel Hill, interim head coach Everett Withers is charged with leading the team out of the chaos.
A Closer Look At The Tar Heels
Coach: Everett Winters 1st Season As Tar Heels Coach
Last Season: 8-5, 4-4 ACC Coastal
Returning Starters: 12 (six offensive, six defensive)
Key Players: WR Dwight Jones, DE Quinton Coples, DE Donte Paige-Moss
The first job facing Withers is replacing last year's starting quarterback T.J. Yates who had a career year as a senior. Sophomore Bryn Renner will get the first chance after playing sparingly in 2010. The running game also will be overhauled but it may not be as big of a drop off as it first appears thanks to the return of senior Ryan Houston who sat out all of last season as one of the NCAA suspensions. Dwight Jones is a solid No. 1 wide out but how Renner settles in as the leader of the offense will ultimately determine the success of this unit.
Last season's suspensions hit the Carolina defense the hardest and the group never quite performed up to expectations. This season's squad will be led by defensive ends Quinton Coples and Donte Paige-Moss. The linebacking core lost two big time players in Quan Sturdivant and Bruce Carter but return Kevin Reddick and Zach Brown who each topped 70 tackles last season. The secondary will receive a boost from Charles Brown who returns from suspension for his senior season.