Position-by-Position - The Corners

This season's position-by-position look at the 2001 Tar Heels begins with the cornerbacks. Stay with Inside Carolina as we review, unit-by-unit, the 2001 Tar Heels.

Number Name Height Weight Year INT PBU
18 Michael Waddell 5-10 173 Jr. 1 12
21 Kevin Knight* 5-8 175 Jr. 0 0
29 Errol Hood 5-11 195 Sr. 2 12
2 Derrick Johnson 5-9 187 So. 1 2

*Denotes nickel back 

There were 22 players in the ACC last season that had at least two interceptions.  The Tar Heels finished dead last in the ACC in interceptions, with one fewer than Duke University.  The cornerbacks at UNC need to become more larcenous in 2001.

Both starting cornerbacks, senior Errol Hood and junior Michael Waddell, return for the Tar Heels in 2001.  The back-ups at this position, junior Kevin Knight and sophomore Derrick Johnson, also return.   

Along with the wide receivers, this is the position deepest in experience and talent on the Tar Heel depth-chart.  But under the new regime, according to Coach Bunting, they still have a lot to learn. 

Coach Bunting says, "At [defensive back], I think we still have some work to do there.  I think we have some work to do technique-wise and [to] understand the scheme better, where everyone fits, and that takes a little bit of time too.  Particularly in our second group." 

What Bunting could be hoping for is increased production in terms of interceptions.  Last season, UNC only recorded six interceptions as a team, and one of those was by defensive end Julius Peppers.  

It is not a good sign when your defensive end has as many interceptions as does one of your starting corners and all of your safeties.  This would not likely fit in with the new coaching staff's definition of "aggressive defense." 

Errol Hood lead the Tar Heels with two picks, while Peppers, Coleman, Reid, and Waddell had one each. Both Hood and Waddell had 12 pass-breakups to their credit.   

Hood had 54 tackles, including two tackles for loss.   Waddell had 42 stops, one for a loss.  A lot of tackles by a corner is not necessarily a good thing.

The dearth in interceptions lead to a minus 1.09 turnover ratio for the Tar Heels in 2000, a statistic that Bunting and his staff likely have circled on last year's stat sheet. 

Turnover margin is one of the negative statistics the Tar Heels need to reverse this season in order to have a successful season, and a secondary that has a knack for the ball can go a long way to correct the balance sheet.  

Jon Tenuta, the defensive coordinator for the Tar Heels, also coaches the secondary.  

Strengths

Hood is a two-year starter, and Waddell has had a full year at a starter's position.  Experience in the secondary is always a plus, which should benefit the Tar Heels this season.  Kevin Knight has reportedly been impres


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