After taking a couple of days off from my multi piece segment about the persons/things that need to be as good as possible in order for the North Carolina football season to be a good one, which I call “12 for 12″, it’s time to get back to it. This time, looking at the fifth of the twelve, I will be focusing on not just one player, but a core of them… the wide receivers. This group is going to be very important for the spread offense head coach Larry Fedora has inserted in his first year at Carolina, and it’s something that has the head man of the program concerned due to the fact that this group of players that has plenty on the roster but very, very little in experience.Between the dismissal of of senior Todd Harrelson during the off season and the foot injury to sophomore T.J. Thorpe this core of players is extremely thin in the amount of players that have quality time on the field. The good news for UNC is that its top two wide outs, Erik Highsmith and Jheranie Boyd, both seniors, do have the skills and experience to be as good as needed for the new schemes set up in Chapel Hill. But from there the pool of players with much playing time is almost non existent, which has the coaching staff trying to work each and every player at this position as much as possible to see who can be productive when the season begins.
From an article by the Star News it states that the need for players at this position is such a concern that the coaches have been working plenty with junior walkon Roy Davis, who is part of the Carolina track team, who right now is slated as the backup to Highsmith on the “two deep” depth chart. Reading that I thought about Usain Bolt and if he could get any eligibility, but it seems the three time Jamaican gold medalist in London wants to play another type of football. There is no doubt in my mind that the coaches will shuffle in players in during scrimmages and then in games as the season begins to see who can be an asset on the field and who will need more time to develop. With this season’s defense not being as good as it was in the past, UNC is going to need its wide outs to be productive if they have to keep up with high scoring opponents.
The one thing that can be turned into a long term positive is that for the receivers that will be fighting for playing time this season, most of them being sophomores or freshmen, will have plenty of eligibility for years to come. However that is definitely not going to help much when it comes to this campaign, what is going to help for the 2012 season is the fact that the one(s) that do prove they can play will get plenty of possibilities to do so with the new offense. More than any other position the wide outs will be the story to follow when it come to the Carolina offense, which can be a good or a bad thing, depending on how things unfold from now until the end of the season. Whichever way it goes the one thing that this core of players can not afford is to lose any of its members, especially when it comes to Highsmith or Boyd.
I been on record, be it on this blog, on my “Pushing the Envelope” podcast or on twitter, that I think coach Fedora is the right person for the North Carolina football program. He has done a heck of a job on the recruiting trail in his first year at the helm, and I am also confident that he will be able to surmount the receivers depth problem. However it goes with the wide outs it will be without a doubt one of the things that both the media and bloggers like me will be looking at and that is why it made it into my “12 for 12″ segment. For the rest of this segment and more information about UNC football and/or basketball make sure to check isportsweb!