Monday, September 10, 2007

Yates could lead Heels to bowl

After two weeks of football, it appears North Carolina might have an opportunity to challenge for a bowl bid after going 3-9 last season.

The reason? Redshirt freshman quarterback T.J. Yates, who worked on the scout team last year behind Joe Dailey and Cameron Sexton, is a lot better than expected.

He shows an uncanny ability to keep his eyes downfield and avoid the rush, partly because he spent his high school career dodging defenders behind a shaky offensive line. His most impressive skill is his ability to throw the deep ball.

In Saturday’s 34-31 loss to East Carolina, Yates threw three touchdown passes of 37 or more yards, all on deep balls.

“The deep ball throws he made today, you’re right there (defensively),” East Carolina coach Skip Holtz said after the game. “There’s a half-step, and he dropped it right in.”

Yates has six touchdown passes already, more than half the total (11) that North Carolina’s quarterbacks threw all of last season.

Meanwhile, quarterbacks throughout the ACC are struggling. Harrison Beck, N.C. State’s second starter in two weeks, threw five interceptions and lost a fumble at Boston College.

Virginia’s Jameel Sewell was supposed to be one of the ACC’s top quarterbacks, but is having trouble keeping freshman Peter Lalich from taking his job.

Miami isn’t getting production out of Kirby Freeman or Kyle Wright. Virginia Tech might have to replace ineffective Sean Glennon with freshman Tyrod Taylor.

North Carolina’s nonconference schedule appears to be an even more significant hurdle now that South Florida has upset Auburn and South Carolina defeated Georgia. And East Carolina’s James Pinkney showed that the North Carolina secondary is porous if a quarterback can avoid a strong pass rush.

But if the Tar Heels remain stable with Yates, they will have a significant advantage over their ACC competitors.

– Ken Tysiac

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

Realistically, the Heels can beat UVA, NCSU, and Duke. That leaves 2 additional wins needed to become bowl eligible. Miami is not looking very impressive and the Heels have had luck against them when they were a top 5 team, and Maryland might also be beatable. No matter what, after 2 weeks this year's UNC squad looks much improved.

Anonymous said...

GoHeels

Eric from Atlanta said...

This guy obviously knows what he's talking about - the kid is a star in the making

PaulB said...

With the ACC sinking to the bottom of the major conferences, North Carolina might be able to sneak up to 6. Does the James Madison win count?

Michael Bacon said...

Am I allowed to be excited about UNC football? Given Miami and VT's struggles, and the fact that Chan Gailey manages to come up with at least on choke job a year, I'm looking at the schedule and thinking there isn't a single conference game our guys won't at least have an outside shot at.

Have I gone mental? Should I look at the near win at ECU as just one more proof that UNC football can't make it, or see it as a step in the right direction, if the defense can make some tackles and the special teams can not suck?

Am I off my rocker?

Anonymous said...

Michael Bacon,

Yer off your rocker.

Sorry. James Madison DOES NOT count, and the Heels will not be at .500. The only advantage they have is their ability to sell tickets.

Yes, UVA is beatable. But after this weekend, it gets tougher. Diminsh your expectations, and wait until basketball season.

Matt Privett said...

I think Heels fans can be cautiously optimistic about a low-tier bowl this season, but definitely excited about the future of the program. They've got playmakers on offense and very promising D-Line. The secondary killed them against the Pirates and if they can get that straightened out a bowl is not out of the realm of possibility.

I know they're not good yet, but you tell me which ACC teams should be happy about their progress after two weeks. Georgia Tech... Boston College... maybe Clemson. I'd count the Heels in that group. No they aren't as good, but they are better than most thought they would be.

Anonymous said...

Nice title to the blog entry but you pretty much outlined in the story what i was thinking: "Yates could lead Heels to bowl..." so im thinking...which Heels? The current cast of characters with Yates, No! However, UNC played ECU tough, it was in ECU's home stadium etc...but that "deep" ball that yates keeps throwing is gonna become an interception before long. Teams don't have enough tape yet on what Butch Davis's/Yates tendencies are and once they do defenses will adjust accordingly. The problem for UNC is they have a horrible offensive line and there's only so much you can do once teams start taking away what so far has been bread and butter plays.

UNC fans will get a little better idea how good the tarholes really are after this weekend and after a few more games. Wait till they play 6 games before you guys get all excited. The ECU game was not as close as the scoreboard says.

Anonymous said...

UNC has a horrible OL? Thats one of the teams strongest units. Get a clue Wolfpack fan. You're just jealous because TOB will only manage one win with that interception machine of a QB you have.

JAT said...

"The ECU game was not as close as the scoreboard says."

WTF?

The Heels had a fumble and a bobbled snap on a gettable FG late and the ECU had two missed FGs. ECU wins as time expires with a FG.

Yeah, I can see how the Heels shoulda lost by three TDs.

I'd go so far as to say that Yates so far is the 2nd best QB in the conf. I'll take that.

The Heels have a realistic shot at a .500 season, maybe a bowl. State College -- they are looking at 1-10 and running TOB off in a year or two.

Demheels said...

There is just one error in your piece. ECU no longer has a QB named James Pinkney on their roster and their QB for this season is Patrick Pinkney. Patrick Pinkney is the ECU QB that lit up my Heels last Saturday night...

Anonymous said...

A win against a I-AA opponent can count every four years, a rule change that went into effect last year (along with the 12 game schedule). Unfortunately, I think we had a win in 04 against William & Mary that made us eligible for the tire bowl, so I don't think we can count JMU this year. Anyone else know differently?

Anonymous said...

Fact is that the ACC is down again this year, just like last year. By the way, who won the ACC last year? Oh, yeah, I remember. So why couldn't the Heels do the same thing. Lots of similaities if you look at it close, and they dodge Clemson, Boston College and FSU.

Aaron said...

You can count a win vs. a 1-AA team EVERY year now, it used to be once every 4 years, but that has changed. Otherwise, you wouldn't be seeing so many teams play them every year. The James Madison W can count towards our bowl eligibility.

Anonymous said...

Yes, UNC has a horrible OL. The plays Yates has excelled at are the ones where he does a play-action and rolls out. JMU regularly pushed the heels OL back, and the heels basically couldn't move the ball the entire 2nd half against JMU.

And about the scoreboard comment...ECU missed 3, not 2, 3 field goals, and UNC missed one. Had both teams made all of those, ECU wins by 9. I know Math isn't a strong suit over at The 'Hole, but neither is football fanship either, so i forgive you guys for not understanding the game.

Rusty said...

I expect UNC is bounce back and take care of business against UVA. By the way, my picks went 5-0 last week and 4-1 the week before

http://www.rustybanks.com

Paul said...

Yep, bowl bound for sure.

And Rusty, you suck. If your picks are as crappy as this lightweight website, I'm sure you went a robust 1-4 or 2-3 as you do most of the time. Don't lie about picks that no one sees until after the scores. Nice bounce, Brandon wannabee.

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Caliplus said...

Meanwhile, quarterbacks throughout the ACC are struggling. Harrison Beck, N.C. State’s second starter in two weeks.

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