QUARTERBACK – UM
Brock Berlin and his gang of misfits have finally coalesced into a dangerous quick-strike offense. Berlin has 11 touchdown passes in the last three games, one less than he threw all of last season. If Berlin keeps it up the home crowd will probably stop booing him.
Darian Durant has two weapons in his holster. He is a dangerous passer and has the ability to scramble when the pocket collapses. Mobile QBs have given the ‘Canes fits in the past. Durant isn’t perfect though, having an eight-to-six TD-to-interception ratio.
RUNNING BACK- Even
Frank Gore and Tyrone Moss’ performances have fallen off a bit, but it may have to do with the newfound passing game. These guys need to break off some big runs to reassert themselves.
The Tar Heels rotate between three different running backs but most of the time they just play the ones that are healthy. Jacque Lewis averages 7.1 yards a carry, but he and Ronnie McGill are both trying to return from injuries. Chad Scott is the third back.
WIDE RECEIVE – UM
Roscoe Parrish, Lance Leggett, Darnell Jenkins, Sinorice Moss and the tight ends have all stepped up with the injured Ryan Moore on the bench. They are making the big plays that the coaches knew they could.
Senior Jarwarski Pollock leads the team in catches with 28, but the most dangerous receiver on the team is actually Adarius Bowman, who was suspended indefinitely before the last game. Sophomore Jesse Holley needs to fill the void.
OFFENSIVE LINE – UM
Eric Winston: Lost for the season. Tyler McMeans: Out until further notice. If this list grows any longer the o-line might fall apart. Last week was the first game all season that they gave up zero sacks, and that was against the top defense in the country.
Jason Brown is a big center at 312 pounds and he is also one of the best in the ACC. Brown leads this o-line, which is missing starter Skip Seagraves.
DEFENSIVE LINE – UM
The d-line has not racked up too many sacks this season. No one on the line has more than two, but they are getting pressure on the quarterback. Kareem Brown stepped up last week after Santonio Thomas injured his knee.
There is no star player on this d-line, but freshman Khalif Mitchell made the biggest play of UNC’s season by tackling N.C. State running back T.A. McLendon and stripping the ball with six seconds left to preserve a victory.
LINEBACKERS – UM
Rocky McIntosh leads the team in tackles with 57, but this group has shown its youth in the past couple of games. McIntosh, along with Tavares Gooden and Leon Williams, need to get better at stopping the run.
Fred Sparkman, a sophomore, was suspended indefinitely before the Utah game two weeks ago. Losing the team’s middle linebacker and leading tackler is a big blow and it showed as Utah scored 46 points in that game.
SECONDARY – UM
The secondary has looked a little confused as of late, missing assignments and getting beaten for four touchdowns last week. Cornerback Antrel Rolle and safety Greg Threat need to lead this unit and stop allowing big plays.
Senior transfer Gerald Sensabaugh has a big mouth and claims that the UM offense is the simplest his team has seen this year. That is a big statement for someone on the NCAA’s second worst defense.
SPECIAL TEAMS – UM
Opposing teams don’t know where to kick the ball when Devin Hester is on the field. He’s a threat to score every time. Kicker Jon Peattie has hit just two-of-six from beyond 40 yards this season, but the coaches still have confidence in his long range.
Freshman kicker Connor Barth has hit on eight-of-nine field goal attempts this season. Receiver Mike Mason averages 23.6 yards per kick return, but the punt returning has not been great for the Tar Heels.