Friday, September 3, 2010

Breaking down UNC's depth for the LSU game

Now that we know the impact of the NCAA and academic investigations into North Carolina, at least as far as the LSU game, let’s take a look at how this impacts the Tar Heels.

Players who are out for the game are in italics - players who were left in Chapel Hill Friday but still might play are in bold.

On defense:
Likely starter (Backup)
LDE: Quinton Coples (Dante Paige-Moss)
LDT: Marvin Austin (Jordan Nix)
RDT: Tydreke Powell (Jared McAdoo)
RDE: Robert Quinn (Michael McAdoo)

A great defensive line gets wiped out. There is still talent, but very little depth – fortunately for UNC, this game will be played indoors, and out of the humidity of Atlanta. Here’s what will likely happen – Carolina will use rotate Tydreke Powell, Jared McAdoo and Jordan Nix. They are OK there.

The defensive ends are hit hard, with Robert Quinn and backup Michael McAdoo both out.

Dante Paige-Moss showed talent as a top-rated freshman and appears to have matured since an incident at N.C. State. Quinton Coples was switching from DE to DT replace Austin but may be needed at defense end more in this game.

The issue here – no depth. Any short-term or long-term injuries will be devastating at this point.

Will LB: Quan Sturdivant (Zach Brown)
Mike LB: Kevin Reddick (Shane Mularkey)
Sam LB: Bruce Carter (Dion Guy)

Bruce Carter and Quan Sturdivant were cleared to play, so Carolina is still super strong here. Zach Brown can really play, so UNC enters the game with four potent linebackers.

CB: Kendric Burney (LeCount Fantroy)
CB: Charles Brown (Mywan Jackson)
FS: Deunta Williams (Matt Merletti)
SS Da’Norris Searcy (Jonathan Smith)

Butch Davis raved about backup corners Mywan Jackson and LeCount Fantroy this week. Still, having two untested corners AND two untested safeties is a recipe for trouble. LSU can throw the ball, and coordination in the secondary is so critical. You could really see Carolina giving up big plays in this game, especially since it won’t have its usual pass rush to harass the quarterback.

On offense, the Tar Heel s have enough depth to replace Greg Little at receiver. The most important person in this game may be Johnny White. He’ll likely start at tailback, and he had a great camp. With Shaun Draughn and Ryan Houston out, Carolina’s offense has to keep moving, and the Tar Heels’ ground game will rely on White.

Remember, freshman running back Giovani Bernard was hurt in camp, so the Heels enter the game without three of their top four backs.

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