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