This is the first in a series created by @HokieGuru where he asks ACC bloggers and ACC fans from twitter post-spring questions about their respective ACC Teams.
The North Carolina Tar Heels are up first.
Past Ask A Blogger - ACC Spring Football Reports
Good evening from @HokieGuru. I’m here today to discuss the ACC spring football practice with each bloggers from each of the 12 Atlantic Coast Conference teams. What follows is our interview with@ztevans. Evans is from Princeton, NC and currently attends the University of North Carolina, graduating in December 2012. He is a staffer on The Daily Tar Heel’s Multimedia desk by day, tweeting too much about sports by night.. NOTE: He is not a sportswriter; he merely tweet/talk about sports from the perspective of a lifelong ACC fan “for fun.” The opinions presented are his alone and do not reflect the views of management or staff at The Daily Tar Heel. Here we go with our interview below!!!
@HokieGuru: Tell us about your spring game – how was the turnout? Was the team well received?
@ztevans: The announced attendance was 17,000. There’s no way they could have produced an actual head count, there were no turnstiles upon entrance, but there was a decent crowd at the start of the game. The folks that were there were supportive, especially whn en the game would be interrupted for ESPN3 interviews with various members of the new coaching staff. It’s going to be a strange year, with the postseason ban and whatnot, but the spring game turnout showed some promise.
@HokieGuru: What are some of the major strengths coming out of spring practice?
@ztevans: Everyone came hoping to get a glimpse of what the new regime of Carolina Football would look like. If you were hoping for lots of trickery and shenanigans, you probably left disappointed. It’s doubtful that the entire playbook has been installed already, and why would you show off the new toys in April?
That said, the tempo was MUCH higher, and that is something directly connected to the new staff. The two teams combined for 102 plays from scrimmage in the first half, which was the only half with standard clock rules. Even at that, Coach Fedora said the pace felt sluggish to him, so you can expect no shortage of excitement from the Heels on the field in 2012.
@HokieGuru: What are some of the major weaknesses coming out of spring practice? In other words, what do you think North Carolina will be working on in August before the first game? What are the questions that you think have to be resolved?
@ztevans: There’s certainly some concern about the defense, based on the relative ease with which the Blue squad scored, especially in the second quarter. I think some of that is just the nature of the Spring game…the “second-string” defense facing offensive starters, and vice versa. There were some procedural penalties by the offense in the first half, also, definitely the result of adjusting to the higher pace of play. Both of these, I believe, are things that should iron themselves out over the summer.
@HokieGuru: Fall will be here before we know it – what position concerns you the most?
@ztevans: I’ll be the first to admit that I’m new hat (FEDORA PUN!) at this multiple defensive front stuff, so maybe I’m making much ado about nothing, especially when dealing with a Spring game. However, we are looking at a defensive line that lost Quinton Coples, Donte Paige-Moss, and Tydreke Powell. Sylvester Williams and Kareem Martin played well in the Spring game, so hopefully that will continue. That’s what I’ll have my eye on, though.
@HokieGuru: Who are the new recruits that you are impressed with the most? Are there any that you think will get some major playing time right away?
@ztevans: There really weren’t any impact performances from true freshmen, but a couple of players who redshirted last year and will be taking the field for the first time in 2012 looked really sharp. Romar Morris saw plenty of action after Giovanni Bernard left the game with a cut, and took full advantage of the opportunity. He ran the ball nine times for forty yards and a score and caught three passes for 35 yards and two touchdowns. On the defensive side, Kameron Jackson led both teams with nine tackles, including a sack. It’s going to be huge for guys like these to step up, because with such a high-tempo, high-energy regime, there’s going to be plenty of opportunities for these guys to make impact plays in actual games.
@HokieGuru: Based on what you saw/read from spring practice, do you think North Carolina will be better than last year? Why or why not?
@ztevans: I think this year should be better. Granted, there’s no team goal to play towards, with the postseason ban, and that could lead to motivation issues. Last year’s team was just thoroughly disappointing, though. You really had the idea, especially after some of the tweets and chatter following the Independence Bowl, that there was a lot of division in the program last season. I really don’t think that will be a problem moving forward, and I think that will make a world of difference.
@HokieGuru: Give us the pulse of the North Carolina football program – what are the Tar Heels bloggers/fans thinking right now on the status of the program?
@ztevans: It can be summed up by looking at the tenure of the graduating class of 2013 at UNC, from a student standpoint. The year these folks came in as freshmen was also the year that UNC got that primetime Thursday night home game against Florida State. That was supposed to be the sign that UNC was on the cusp of becoming one of the elite programs in college football. Of course, UNC lost that game, lost their bowl game that year, began the NCAA Investigation…the whole mess, everybody is aware of the timeline. That has been the football experience for the UNC graduating class of 2013, and it will culminate with a postseason-less year, even if UNC wins every game.
Is there a very real possibility that this year will suck, either because of a lot of losses or, because of the postseason ban, a lot of wins and nothing to show for it? Absolutely. And that is particularly unfortunate for the seniors on this year’s team. I think we’ve reached the point now, hopefully – maybe I should write about it – where UNC fans can put what happened in the past four years behind us and start looking towards the future.