Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Sweet move by Boyd gets Carolina moving

Jheranie Boyd
Jheranie Boyd made sure to keep a straight face when the play call came in Saturday night. North Carolina was at its own 3-yard line, down by 20 to LSU, and Tar Heel fans were clicking off and going to bed across the state.

Coach Butch Davis had urged the team on at halftime. “Coach Davis gave us a speech - he said we wore Carolina blue for a reason,” Boyd recalled. And offensive tackle Mike Ingersoll told Boyd to be ready to be a leader among the receivers.

Boyd had been running 18-yard cuts all game – that is, bolting 18 yards downfield and turning back to face the quarterback. He relayed to his receivers coach that he was confident he could get open if given a chance to hurtle downfield. That message went up to offensive coordinator John Shoop, and when Carolina had the ball at its own 3, Boyd got his chance.

He went to the line concealing the excitement over the call. “I try to keep the same attitude about me,” he said.

At the snap, he shot upfield like he was doing his usual route, faked outside and then zoomed deep as the ball from T.J. Yates floated into his hands. “I felt I could get them on a double move – and it worked,” Boyd said Tuesday in Chapel Hill.

All that was left was the dash to the endzone and the sweet feeling of looking at the massive video board and seeing no LSU players nearby.

That play sparked a comeback that nearly won the game for UNC, and it also underscored how much better Carolina’s passing game might be this season. The Tar Heel receivers were infants a year ago, a group of freshmen thrust into key roles with Hakeem Nicks gone.

Now, Boyd and Erik Highsmith and Josh Adams feel much more confident that they are on the same page with Yates.

“I feel we are way closer than we were last year.”

That confidence is part of a trend likely to continue throughout the season. Last year, Carolina won with defense. This year, the defense remains a question mark given school and NCAA investigations – and the more seasoned offense is determined to play a larger role.

“We said it has to be even this year, offense and defense,” Boyd said. ...
Bruce Carter

North Carolina linebacker Bruce Carter was with his family Friday night when the call came that he was eligible for Saturday’s game with LSU in Atlanta.

Carter hustled to the Kenan Stadium football center, and he and Quan Sturdivant took a private plan at 8:45 p.m. to whoosh down to Atlanta.

But Carter and Sturdivant and the two pilots, by the way.

“Pretty sweet,” he said with a smile Tuesday. ...

You have to love the attitude of UNC tight end Zack Pianalto. Pianalto is refusing to say the last play against LSU should have been pass interference, even though the ESPN video appeared to show it was. A Tigers linebacker was draped around him at the end, but Pianalto isn’t calling foul.

“Not at all. It was a great defensive play by him,” Pianalto said Tuesday. “He did exactly what he needed to do.”

Classy comments, again, by the UNC senior.

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