2019 North Carolina Football Season Preview
North Carolina football is tapping into the past for the future success of the program. The question is–will the hire of Mack Brown work in today’s game?
2018 Record: 2-9 overall, 1-7
Head Coach: Mack Brown, 1st year
The good news for the Tar Heels? They managed to recruit their quarterback of the future in Sam Howell. He was a four-star prospect and the No.2 player in the entire state of North Carolina–UNC held off a furious push by fellow ACC member Florida State for his services. He very well could start instantly as a true freshman, but if he doesn’t Cade Fortin and Jace Ruder will be next in line.
The running back duo of Michael Carter and Antonio Williams combined for over 1,100 yards with seven scores last season, and they have the potential to be the centerpiece of the offensive attack.
At wide receiver, Dazz Newsome is back after leading the team with 44 catches, and sophomore Dyami Brown and junior Beau Corrales are big targets who can get down the field. This crew is key for offensive coordinator Phil Longo, who is known to utilize that position more than any other in his offensive system.
The offensive line is solid, but not spectacular. They feature decent versatility, size and experience but will need some time together in order to gel consistently.
Last year, this unit was atrocious. They allowed 448 yards per game and a massive amount of points (35).
The defensive line is excellent, but not much else. Led by seniors Jason Trowbridge, Aaron Crawford and junior Malik Carney, UNC features a lot of experience, but they will need those behind them to step up if they are going to get off the field and give the ball back to the offense.
The linebackers and secondary are solid against the run, but are suspect against the pass. Last year, the defensive backs came up with just seven interceptions. Corners Patrice Rene and Greg Ross can hit, but they need to be better when the ball is in the air.
Overall, the new coaching staff needs to completely revamp this defense with much of the same parts–it will be a challenge to say the least.
Sam Howell is arguably the best player on the offense, but as a true freshman it’s possible he’ll start the season on the sideline. It won’t last though, as he is destined to play often for the Heels this season and the team’s offensive success likely depends on it.
Defensively, is where the struggles lies however, they allowed 33 points or more seven times in 11 games, and 13 times in the last 23. Plain and simple, that unit needs to start pulling its weight. It starts with coming up with more third down stops to get off the field, and it continues with being able to come up with more takeaways, and stopping the run once in a while matters.
The schedule is ugly–outside of Mercer, there is no guaranteed win on the schedule.