Wednesday, November 3, 2010

FSU coach says Carolina's secondary looks good to him

Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher doesn't seem to be buying that North Carolina is hurting in its secondary due to suspensions and injuries.

"Everybody says they're thin. They look pretty good on film to me back there," Fisher said today. "They're not doing a bad job at all." He added that getting senior starters Da'Norris Searcy, Deunta Williams and especially Kendric Burney back in the secondary has been a big boost.

"Getting Burney back and those guys, they're getting their guys back at that position which I think really helps them," Fisher said. "Getting Burney back there has really made a difference."

But cornerback Terry Shankle tore the ACL in his left knee and has been lost for the season, and that makes nickle and dime packages especially challenging. Even seldom-used backups Tre Boston and Mywan Jackson have been banged up and may or may not play.

"We're taking a look at some things and seeing if there's some guys that maybe need to play more," UNC coach Butch Davis said, "and seeing if we can move anybody around. But there's only so many moves that you can make within a season, and we're getting close to where there's not many moves left."

The scout team has even been affected, thus making it difficult to prepare for opponents. But Davis said Carolina's policy of recruiting athletes that can play multiple positions has paid off.

"If you recruit kids that are multi-athletes - they play basketball, they run track, they play football - it gives you a little bit of versatility within your roster that if injuries occur or something happens that you can flip a kid over," Davis said.

But it's a little late in the season to change someone to the secondary, especially if they haven't played there before. Therefore, someone like Matt Merletti, who started the season in the secondary due to all the suspensions, may have to play major minutes again. Merletti is known as one of the best special teams players on the squad and is normally used primarily in nickle or dime packages.

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