North Carolina will start another disrupted football season today, with the only given being uncertainty on and off the field in the coming months. North Carolina will open against James Madison, an FCS program, at 3:30 at Kenan Stadium (FSCR Ch. 46). The game will be the first for Everett Withers — promoted from defensive coordinator to interim coach after Butch Davis was fired last month — but he wasn't anticipating a sleepless Friday night worrying about his team or his coaching debut.
James Madison-UNC advance
The Winston-Salem Journal
After spending the past 23 years as an assistant with nine different programs, Everett Withers finally will be the head coach today when North Carolina hosts James Madison (3:30 p.m., Fox Sports Network).
But his promotion came a little more than five weeks before the start of the season and also came with the word "interim" attached to the title, so Withers hasn't had much time to enjoy his new position.
Withers, Heels just looking for first win
The Durham Herald-Sun
When James Madison last visited Kenan Stadium, Chapel Hill was abuzz. It was the 2007 season opener and a 37-14 North Carolina victory that gave the first Saturday of the Butch Davis era a triumphant feel.
Today, James Madison returns to Chapel Hill as the Tar Heels try to take their first steps from underneath the rubble of that era.
Tar Heels to make tricky next steps
The Burlington Times-News
Ryan Houston hasn't played a game in 20 months and has barely practiced with any contact through the preseason. Yet the fifth-year senior is ready to take the lead in North Carolina's running attack.
Houston back for final run with Tar Heels
The Asheville Citizen-Times
When Henri "Struggy" Smith learned that Everett Withers had been named North Carolina's interim head football coach, his eyes welled.
Not only because he had grown up playing street ball with Withers here on Burbank Drive, then on the varsity squads at West Charlotte High and Appalachian State. But also because Smith wasn't sure he would ever see the day when an African-American would lead the football team at the state's flagship university.
Withers' ties run deep in Charlotte
The Charlotte Observer
Mickey Matthews jokingly said he called Boise State and tried to get the Broncos to play North Carolina five days ago.
That would have set up a similar scenario to last season, when Virginia Tech played Boise State on a Monday night and had only a few days to get ready for the Dukes, who pulled off a 21-16 shocker.
JMU won't have surprise factor against UNC
The Richmond Times-Dispatch