ACC Kickoff: Bobby Blizzard

GREENSBORO, Ga. – One play that personified North Carolina's frustrating season of 2002, was turned in by senior tight end Bobby Blizzard.

The 1-2 Tar Heels began their first offensive series of their Sept. 28 game with Georgia Tech trailing 10-7. Blizzard, who already had two touchdowns on the young season, appeared headed for another when he caught a Durant pass over the middle, broke several tackles and was on his way to what could have been a 61-yard go-ahead score.

Instead, Blizzard was stripped of the ball at the Yellow Jackets' two-yard line by cornerback Reuben Houston, and Tech recovered in the end zone.

The Jackets rushed the ball 49 times for 185 yards against the Carolina defense and ground out a 21-13 victory. The Tar Heels rebounded the following week with a thrilling 38-35 win at Arizona State, but would not win again until the season-finale at Duke.

Blizzard didn't mind being reminded of his gaffe, and in fact, most remember just how nimble he was on that play. It also demonstrated to those Tar Heel fans who had not yet seen him play, that his talent was on the same level as UNC predecessors', current NFL tight ends Freddie Jones and Alge Crumpler.

"I didn't get the chance to spend all of my four years here at Carolina, but I always wanted to go there when I was in high school," said the Hampton, Va. native. "I already knew about their [tight end] tradition. That's why I always wanted to come here."

Blizzard credits much of his success last season to a type of telepathic synergy that he has developed with Durant.

"Before that play," Blizzard said of near touchdown pass versus Tech, "I looked at Darian and with my eyes said, ‘Do you see that?' He looked back at me with his eyes and I knew he knew. Things that I see, I know he already sees.

"One thing about Durant is, if you're on a good level with him, he'll treat you right."

Indeed, if treating you right means finding a way to get you the ball.

In two seasons at Kentucky, at both tight end and wide receiver, Blizzard caught 30 passes for 275 yards and no touchdowns. Last year in with the Tar Heels, he rang up 440 receiving yards and five touchdowns.

Out of high school, Blizzard was not comfortable with the amount of blocking he would have to do at the college level. So he decided that he would get more opportunities to showcase his receiving and athletic skills with the Wildcats.

"Even if I went down in a three-point stance, I wouldn't block anybody," Blizzard said. "I was just a receiver type of guy. People always asked me why I didn't go to Carolina right out of high school with all of its tight end tradition. But you don't always have to go to school with the most tradition to be happy."

But Blizzard didn't find happiness in Lexington, thus his transfer to Carolina and the subsequent blossoming of his career.

Now as he enters his final collegiate year as a preseason All-ACC candidate, and prior to what should be a spot on an NFL roster, Blizzard continues to improve as a blocker.

Blizzard also expects the Tar Heels rushing game to be significantly improved this year – something he says he played a major role in facilitating.

Shortly after becoming a Tar Heel, Blizzard began suggesting that his friend and former teammate Chad Scott should join him in Chapel Hill.

"I was probably the main influence on him coming to Carolina," Blizzard said. "He didn't really go on any other visits. I told him how good it was up at Carolina. He knows I wouldn't lie to him. He was one of my closest friends up there."

From someone who knows, Blizzard's one-word description of Scott is ‘speed.'

"I nicknamed him ‘Scooter' when we were up at Kentucky," Blizzard said. "As a freshman at Kentucky, nobody could catch him. It was like he was untouchable.

"He transferred here, and he hasn't lost a step. He is a great receiving back, too. He should be able to do a whole lot for our team."

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