While at Miami, Butch Davis was noted for having a power running game, and he
has tried to implement a similar system at North Carolina. Obviously, the talent
is different, but the concepts are the same. Also, at Miami Davis emphasized the
use of the tight end in the offense, and the Tar Heels will typically use a
tight end combined with a H-Back in their current offensive scheme.
Occasionally, UNC will use a fullback, but generally the Heels use either three
wide receivers or an H-Back. Note that North Carolina has its third offensive
coordinator in the last three years with John Shoop coming in from the NFL where
he was OC for the Oakland Raiders last year.
Yates (#13, 6-3.5 205, r-Fr., 5.03) is a drop-back quarterback with a quick
release and strong arm. He has some mobility, but he is best when staying in the
pocket. Yates does not always set himself when he throws on the move, and he
tends to make more mistakes when on the move. When throwing on rhythm, he looks
very good. However, at times he demonstrates “happy feet” in the pocket when
pressured. Tech will undoubtedly try to pressure him, and Yates seemed to let
the pressure from USF get to him at times. Also, he did not handle the opposing
crowd noise that well, so it will be interesting to see how he handles Lane
Cam Sexton (#11, 6-1 190, r-So., 4.54) is a mobile quarterback who started
five games last year. Sexton struggled reading defenses last year and made too
many mistakes to hold the position. He only has an average arm and was not very
accurate last year (41.9% completion percentage), becoming “gun-shy” and not
throwing into coverage as the season progressed. His greatest strength is his
ability to scramble and make some plays on the move. I would see a move to wide
receiver likely in his future.
Mike Paulus (#7, 6-5 220, Fr., 4.97) is a talented true freshman who is still
learning the system. Paulus, the brother of the Duke point guard, could well be
the quarterback of the future at UNC. He has a strong arm, excellent size, and
good overall athletic ability, though he is purely a pocket quarterback. Paulus
fits the mold of a Butch Davis quarterback well.
Johnny White (#34, 5-10 210, r-Fr., 4.60) looks to be the best prospect out
of four running backs used by the Tar Heels. While not exceptional in any
particular area, White shows some elusiveness and power, with the ability to
read holes. He looks to have the best running instincts of the UNC backs. White
runs hard and can break tackles, but he is not a big play threat; he is more of
a “move the chains” type of runner.
Richie Rich (#26, 5-9 195, r-So., 4.56) is the best outside runner of the UNC
backs. He is more of a speed back who relies on moves in the open field. Rich
isn’t as effective running between the tackles, which makes him more of a
situational back in UNC’s system.
Anthony Elzy (#6, 5-10 210, r-Fr., 4.53) may be the most talented of the
running backs in terms of physical skills, but he is not as instinctive as a
runner. Elzy has the speed to get outside and the size to run inside, but he is
not that elusive and is still learning to run at the college level. Elzy has
potential, but he will likely be a reserve until he becomes more experienced.
Ryan Houston (#32, 6-2 245, Fr., 4.80) is purely a power back who will run
between the tackles. He saw his first action against USF, gaining some yardage
against the Bulls’ second team defense. Houston does not run that hard for a
large back, tending to pick his way through holes. If he gets some momentum
going, Houston is tough to bring down, but he doesn’t start that fast and can
be stopped in the backfield. Obviously, Houston has potential, but he needs to
run harder and be less tentative going into the hole.
Hakeem Nicks (#88, 6-0.5 215, So., 4.57) is UNC’s most talented offensive
player. He is a solid possession receiver who runs good routes and has excellent
hands. Nicks is especially dangerous after he makes the catch, showing good
running instincts and power for a wide receiver. Nicks appears to understand the
game and shows good football instincts. He is physical and likes to block as
well. Nicks is probably UNC’s lone all-conference candidate on offense.
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