Time to Give Freeman & Co. a Shot

After another loss dropping the 'Canes to 5-3 on the season and now 6-5 in their last 11 games, changes need to be made.

If you keep things the same, you will have the same results. And this program needs to show signs of life and positive results.

It is time to see what other players can do, particularly on offense beginning with quarterback Kirby Freeman.

There has been a plan for Freeman to play in every game during the first half this season. Looking at the numbers, Freeman only played in three of the eight games. Not exactly going as planned.

It is time to get him in there. Start Kyle Wright, get Kirby in on the third series and fourth series, then see where you're at after that.

The players, coaches, and fans don't exactly know what Kirby can do for this football team. But it is time to find out.

There are a few positives that I like about his game, which I believe will make him successful:

1.) Intangibles - Kirby has "it". He's a natural at the position and is a natural leader. He is the guy you want in charge of anything you do. He's the first one out through the smoke and brings intensity to whatever he does. He's not afraid to get in someone's face and let them know what he thinks. He commands respect. Obviously these qualities will be better seen if he was the starting quarterback, but the signs are there. There are very strong indicators with his intangibles that would make him successful when he gets the starting role, whenever that may be.

2.) Athleticism - With the offensive line inconsistent, Kirby's speed and footwork would buy him time to make plays through the air and gain yards with his feet. Kirby has also improved his throwing ability and accuracy every year since he has been here, which is extremely important in this offense.

3.) He's hungry - When players are hungry, they can go either way. They can eat and be successful or starve and go to waste. Kirby wants to be in there more than anything and doesn't hold back with his comments. Here's what Freeman said to reporters yesterday: "I want to play, it is as simple as that. I feel like I can play. It is just up to these coaches. That is all there is to it."

MORE REPS FOR BACKS

In addition to Freeman being in there, it's time to get more reps to RB Derron Thomas and FB James Bryant.

Javarris James is doing a nice job at tailback, however Thomas brings more elusiveness and big-play ability to the tailback position than James. This is Thomas' third year in the program and has improved on a number of qualities since he has been here including his strength and blocking.

Thomas is averaging 8.2 yards per carry this season on 19 carries and even more impressive his longest run is only 23 yards, which means he is consistently getting big gains and not just one big one that has weighted his average.

And James is just a true freshman, there is nothing wrong with making him pay his dues like the backs before him.

I don't care if James Bryant isn't classified as a team player by Coker or not, this team is better with Bryant on the field. He's big, strong, fast, intense, and wants it. Without question, he's the most intense competitor on the team and it is a shame he can't find a place on the field other than special teams--if that really counts.

Zellner is adequate, but Bryant can be a great player. It's time for Bryant to be in the game as a fullback or even linebacker, it doesn't matter.

PLAY MOORE

And finally, Ryan Moore. I have always been a big supporter of his on and off the field. But, with his incident with the woman, I do not condone those actions or defend him in that situation.

However, I can separate Ryan Moore's off the field incident with Ryan Moore the player.

After being suspended 6 games from the incident (he was suspended 2 games prior to the season), it is time to get him on the field. He has served his time and he would be an asset for the team if used properly. Having him practice a few days, then holding him out and not having him travel doesn't make any sense.

Get him in there.

IN SUMMARY...

In summary, I'll take my chances of a lineup of QB Kirby Freeman, RB Derron Thomas, FB James Bryant, and WR Ryan Moore over QB Kyle Wright, RB Javarris James, FB Chris Zellner, and WR Lance Leggett.

The four I listed would be a faster group with more explosiveness and big-play ability. It's something this team and offense needs. At 5-3, it definitely wouldn't hurt to mix things up.

OTHER THOUGHTS

• I wouldn't have any problems seeing OL Alex Pou replace OL Andrew Bain at left guard although Pou is hurt right now. Bain's conditioning is still a problem and at times, goes through stretches where he misses key blocks particularly in the running game.

• Can we please put LB Jon Beason at middle linebacker? I've been begging for this move since he stepped foot on campus. Now would be as good as time as any.

• I wonder if Randy Phillips will ever to get play safety here.

• I'm not a big Lovon Ponder supporter, but he has done a pretty good job this season (that's all the love I can come up with for him right now).

• Props to Kenny Phillips for wanting to play through the season and avoid surgery until after the season.

• When a game comes down to deciding whether or not you should kick an onside kick it generally means you messed up in the first 55+ minutes of the game.

• What happened to Ryan Hill, Khalil Jones, and Terrell Walden?

• Congrats to Jon Peattie, it at least prevents him from being this year's scapegoat.

Calais Campbell is a beast.

Christopher Stock can be reached at stock@canestime.com

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