2006 ACC Preview & Prediction: UNC

The questions for North Carolina begin at quarterback, where junior Nebraska transfer Joe Daily will likely start ahead of redshirt freshman Cam Sexton. Daily started as a freshman for the Cornhuskers before transferring to Chapel Hill.

ACC Previews:
Duke

2005 RECORD: 5-6 overall, 4-4 ACC (4th in Atlantic).

HEAD COACH: John Bunting, 24-36 overall in five seasons at North Carolina.

KEY ADDITIONS: LB Jarrell Miller, S Deunta Williams, DT Aleric Mullins, WR Hakeem Nicks, S Shaun Draughn, TE T.J. Yates.

KEY LOSSES: OT Skip Seagraves, OG Kyle Ralph, QB Matt Baker, DT Chase Page, DE Tommy Davis, DB Cedrick Holt, LB Tommy Richardson.

OFFENSE: Make no mistake, there are plenty of talented players for the Tar Heels on offense. There are three returning starters on the offensive line (OT Brian Chacos, OG Charlston Gray and C Ben Lemming), two very good running backs that will be the focus of the play calling (Ronnie McGill and Barrington Edwards) and a receiver that had nearly 50 receptions last year (Jesse Holley).

The questions are at quarterback, where junior Nebraska transfer Joe Daily will likely start ahead of redshirt freshman Cam Sexton. Daily started as a freshman for the Huskers before transferring to Chapel Hill. He is a very mobile quarterback, but there are unanswered questions as to whether his arm is as good as his legs. Putting this all together is new offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti, who will likely concentrate on the run, especially early in the season.

DEFENSE: If the defense can improve as dramatically as it did from 2004 to 2005, this will be one of the top defenses in the league. Even if the unit remains status quo, it will still be a solid unit. There are seven starters returning from 2005, with most of them in the back seven. The defensive line could be a little shaky having lost its two best players. It's a very mature line, sporting two seniors and two juniors, but still somewhat inexperienced, nonetheless.

All-ACC candidate Larry Edwards, who had 91 tackles last season, leads the linebackers. He's surrounded by two capable players, which make the middle of the defense solid. The secondary has unlimited potential, with the safeties (Kareen Taylor and Trimane Goddard) leading the way. There's absolutely no reason the defense should take a step backwards from what it did last season.

BY THE NUMBERS: 14 – Number of ranked teams the Tar Heels have faced in the last two seasons.

WHAT TO WATCH: How fast will Bunting be asked to leave should the Tar Heels not qualify for a bowl? And even making a bad bowl may not be enough to save his job.

PREDICTION: 5-7 overall, 2-6 ACC (5th in Coastal).


UNC head coach John Bunting



Former Nebraska QB and now UNC QB Joe Daily



LB Larry Edwards




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