DBs Stepping Up

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. –-- As North Carolina embarks on a three-game home stand that many believe will determine its postseason fate, fans can gain some comfort in knowing the Tar Heels' secondary has become much more aggressive and opportunistic in recent weeks.

Quinton Person - AUDIO (4:48)

Carolina intercepted three passes last week – all in the first half. It was the first time the Tar Heels had at least three interceptions in a game since defeating Georgia Tech early last year. Until the Miami game, UNC had intercepted just two passes on the season – both by Cedrick Holt.

"We knew they had great receivers and you have to prepare for that," UNC cornerback Quinton Person said. "Basically, we just try to negate speed. You want to get your hands on them and reroute them in ‘Cover Two.' Our game plan was to just take away their explosive plays. I think all of our interceptions we had were in ‘Cover Two.'

"Trimane [Goddard] did a great job staying up on the corners. We did a great job of rerouting them and were able to give our safeties some time to get over top and give some help."

Goddard celebrates one of his INTs
Goddard has been outstanding in his first two career starts. Last week against Miami, he recorded nine tackles and his first two interceptions. He picked off quarterback Kyle Wright at the 5-yard line on the ‘Canes' first drive of the game. In the second quarter, Goddard leaped over a receiver to make an acrobatic interception.

Person has also excelled in the starting role. In his first career start last week, he picked off a pass and returned it 14 yards.

He used to see action on about 20-25 snaps per game as a nickeback, but has now taken over comfortably for injured Jacoby Watkins.

He explains that "Cover Two" is when the corners try to take away the flat routes. Person and Holt try to get their hands on receivers and help out on run support. In doing so, they help the safeties out and add help in the run support. At the same time, they want to get their hands on the receivers and take them off of their timing with the quarterback.

While the Tar Heels may miss Watkins' speed, they have barely missed a beat with Person in the lineup.

"I think Jacoby has great speed and experience," Person said. "As far as his speed, I will never have that. But I'm trying to gain the experience. I just think about being physical and flying around. That's something I do well. I can just be around the ball and make plays. That's what I do well."

Inside Carolina Top Stories