#74 North Carolina Football 2012 Preview

North Carolina Tar Heels

2012 Overall Rank #74
#10 Atlantic Coast Conference
North Carolina College Football 2012 Team Preview
North Carolina Team Page


North Carolina has been a program with some elite athletes but has been under scrutiny from the NCAA for violations. This has taken its toll on this program and will continue to do so in the future. As part of these violations and their struggles the Tar Heels now have a new head coach, Larry Fedora, who is a proven winner and who hopes to turn the Tar Heel talent into victories.  

2011 Record: (7-6, 3-5)
2011 Bowl: Independence Bowl VS Missouri (L 24-41)
Coach: Larry Fedora (0-0 at North Carolina, 34-19 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Blake Anderson
Defensive Coordinator: Dan Disch

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Giovani Bernard, RB, 1,324 yards
Passing: Bryn Renner, QB, 3,086 yards
Receiving: Erik Highsmith, WR, 726 yards
Tackles: Kevin Reddick, LB, 71
Sacks: Kareem Martin, DE, 4
Interceptions: Tre Boston, S, 3

Other Key Returnees: DT Sylvester Williams, S Gene Robinson

Key Losses: DL Quinton Coples, LB Zach Brown, WR Dwight Jones

This Tar Heel team brings back its two best offensive players in signal caller Bryn Renner and running back Giovani Bernard, who was just a freshman last year. This means their offense should be locked and loaded heading into 2012. The aerial assault is the true key to this offense, ranking 36th in passing yards per game a season ago. That trend should continue this season. They are able to complete a high percentage of their passes to keep the chains moving and supplement the running game. In theory this will open up more running lanes this season to add balance to their thriving offense. Their defense, although losing several key players, should be solid against the run, just as they were a season ago.

The Tar Heels lost six games last year thanks in large part to their inability to protect the football and generate enough turnovers. They had a negative turnover margin, which ranked 74th in the nation and 8th in the conference. Teams who turn the ball over a lot are not going to win many football games, especially in tight contests, as North Carolina found out a season ago. Expect them to focus on the fundamentals of the game and protect the football this season. Additionally, despite having a potent passing attack, they allowed over two sacks per contest, a trend that needs to be fixed in order to improve. This can be done by running the football more, something they lacked in 2011. Shoring up their offensive line is likely another priority for the Tar Heels.  

The Bottom Line:
The Tar Heels play in the competitive ACC and have struggled in conference play recently. They always have some of the best athletes and elite talent but never seem to be able to put it all together to win football games. Now under their new leader they have another opportunity to put their talent together and become a scary opponent.  If they are able to do this, they can be a dangerous team. But Coach Fedora has his work cut out for him and will need more time before this program is a legitimate threat on a national stage.

Projected Bowl: None

2011 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 138.85 (76th in the nation, 7th in conference)
Passing Offense: 254.38 (36, 4)
Total Offense: 393.23 (53, 5)
Scoring Offense: 28.00 (56, 5)
Rushing Defense: 123.92 (27, 3)
Pass Defense: 241.31 (78, 10)
Total Defense: 365.23 (49, 7)
Scoring Defense: 24.85 (56, 7)
Turnover Margin: -.15 (74, 8)
Sacks: 1.92 (T59, 5)
Sacks Allowed: 2.08 (68,8)

Madness 2013 NFL Draft Rankings:
#57 Jonathan Cooper
#85 Kareem Martin
#95 Sylvester Williams
#97 Kevin Reddick
#101 Erik Highsmith

Madness 2012 Football Recruit Rankings:
#235 Quinshad Davis


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