Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Tar Heels' defense wins - in bowling?

North Carolina’s football team took a break from training camp Wednesday morning to try another form of competition: bowling.

The Tar Heels showed up for their scheduled 8 a.m. meeting to find out they were heading to Mardi Gras Bowling Center in Chapel Hill rather than the practice field — a way to give the players a break from the grind while promoting team unity.

The result: a bevy of strikes, quite a few gutter balls, and a lot of chuckling.

“We have nobody that’s going to threaten to be Dick Weber, but we had a great time,’’ said coach Butch Davis. “Guys were laughing, and at the end of it we had a competition, offense against the defense, the 10 best bowlers. It was a hard-fought match; the defense won 93-88.”

The best of the bunch, according to Davis: wide receivers Cooter Arnold and Brooks Foster, offensive Mike Dykes and linebacker Chase Rice.

The worst of the group: running back Greg Little, who scored roughly a 24.

Davis, who played cheerleader instead of competitor, said he always planned to give the players some sort of surprise break around the 10th day of training camp. Last year, he took the Tar Heels swimming, but rainy weather prevented that this time.

“As a coach, I know you walk a fine line during training camp: How do you get your team prepared physically, do the work that you need to work, and stay as healthy as you possibly can?” he said.

Now that bragging rights have been solidified at the alley, the team will get back on the field tonight when competition resumes at 6:30 p.m.

“I didn’t have a very good day today, bowling; I wasn’t really happy with my performance,’’ Rice said. “But the defense came up on top today, and that’s what really matters.”

-Robbi Pickeral (Raleigh News & Observer)