If there was one thing that the North Carolina football team did not have this season it would be depth. Unfortunately for head coach Larry Fedora and his staff their team just took another hit in that department. Even before the season started line backer Darius Lipford went down to an injury that will keep him out the whole season. Now, from what is being reported around the internet, sophomore wide receiver and return man T.J. Thorpe is out with a foot injury. And while North Carolina’s policy is not to talk about injuries, it seems that the injury is a serious one, and the only thing now is to see how long the young man will be out for.
In 2011 the kick returner for interim coach Everett Withers had 960 return yards, leading the whole conference with a 26.7 return average. Thorpe’s play on the field got him as a finalist for the Johnny Rodgers Award, awarded to the top return specialist in college football, named after the 1972 Heisman Trophy winner Johnny “The Jet” Rodgers. The then freshman was also honorable mention All-ACC for the `11. While last year the 6’0″/190 lbs returner only got two catches, it seems that with the new schemes that coach Fedora might miss Thorpe more on offense than on special teams.
Again I have to pull out the old saying of “it is what it is”, and unfortunately what it is right now for the North Carolina football team is a lack of experience at wide outs, with just a couple of seniors followed by many under classmen that have little to no experience. Definitely not the way to start a new offense. The key to this is how long the young man will be out, if it is a long term ordeal, where he misses more than half the season, then the blow dealt to both the offense and the special teams will be a harsh one. If instead the young man is out anywhere between 4 to 6 weeks Carolina would have him for most of the season and the blow would definitely not be as bad. Either way I am beginning to wonder if it’s the wide receivers that should wear the red jerseys for the pre season, since they can not afford anyone else getting hurt at the position.
In the end no injury is ever needed, but when it hits a group that is already pretty much at the bare minimum the injury just becomes even worst. Hopefully T.J. Thorpe won’t be out too long and will be able to come back and have a productive season for the new spread offense. But most of all the first thing is that the wide out comes back when he is fully healthy as he does not re injures himself. Let me wish all the best to Thorpe as he goes through his recovery and finds out when he can be back on the field. For more news on UNC football and/or basketball make sure to come back to isportsweb!