Wake Presents Challenge for Heels

North Carolina should have its hands full Saturday against a Wake Forest team coming off an ACC road win over Virginia.

Carolina head coach John Bunting is at a loss for words these days.  Speaking about whether North Carolina had a letdown after their dominating performance against Clemson, Coach Bunting says he doesn't like the "L" word.


He also doesn't like to talk about the "B" word, in terms of possible bowls this year.  He won't talk about the "R" word; how UNC stands with possible recruits, though NCAA rules have a hand in his silence on that subject.


Now his vocabulary has dipped again, because this week he isn't talking about the "Q" word.


As in, who is going to start at quarterback this week for the Tar Heels?


Ronald Curry and Darian Durant both experienced deaths in their families earlier this week.  Curry will be in Hampton, Va. this Saturday for the funeral of a young cousin who died Monday night.


Durant's stepmother died last Saturday, and Durant was in Florence, South Carolina until Wednesday evening.  He returned to practice yesterday and reportedly had a good practice.


With Durant and Curry missing snaps in practice this week, red-shirt freshman Aaron Leak has been getting most of the repetitions. 


Bunting has declined to say which of the two red-shirt freshmen will start against Wake Forest (4-4, 2-4 ACC) this Saturday.  He has indicated that Leak has played well in practice this week, apparently well enough that Bunting is still considering whether he will start the Durham Riverside High School product. 


Maybe Coach Bunting is taking a page from Wake Forest's head coach, Jim Grobe.  Grobe declined to name a starter right up to the first game of the season, leaving opening opponent East Carolina guessing whether James MacPherson or Anthony Young would get the call in that game.


For the record, both Young and MacPherson played in the opener, with Young going 5-9 for 87 yards, and MacPherson completing 4-7 for 70 yards. 


There is no mystery about who will quarterback the Demon Deacons this week, as Grobe has anointed MacPherson the starter for Saturday's noon contest at Kenan Stadium. 


MacPherson led the Deacons on a fourth quarter comeback to defeat Virginia a week ago, going 67 yards in three plays, and connecting with red-hot Wake receiver Jason Anderson, who had five catches for 150 yards against the Cavaliers. 


Wake Forest runs an offense that depends greatly on the ball handling, running, and passing skills of the quarterback.  It is an option-style attack that almost always has a receiver in motion. 


It is an offense that has been prolific on the ground, averaging 231.75 yards per game, second only to Maryland in the conference, and ranking 11th in the nation. 


The ground attack has featured two North Carolina products, junior Tarence Williams of Wilmington Laney High School.  Williams played in the same backfield as current UNC reserve linebacker Kitwana Jones. 


With Williams banged up last week with an ankle injury and did not play against Virginia.  Sophomore Fred Staton, a product of West Charlotte High School, stepped in and rushed for 151 yards on 28 carries against Virginia.


North Carolina may see both of them this weekend, as Williams is probable for the game. 


Grobe says, "I think Freddy's performance this past weekend against Virginia, where he rushed for about 150 yards, I think he proved that he has got what we need to have in the lineup. We feel that we have two good running backs."


Wake Forest's ground game has to be a huge concern for the Tar Heels, who were abused last week by Georgia Tech's Joe Burns in their last outing.  Burns had a career night against the Heels, rushing for 198 yards on 34 carries. 

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