"Are you ready for some football?" Durham asked.
The responding roar from the crowd indicated a resounding yes, but the cheers from the stands and on the field would only increase in volume when Durham introduced new head coach Butch Davis.
"Part of the excitement of college football truly is the environment on game day, and you are a huge part of the success of this football team. Coming to Kenan Stadium and making this a home field advantage where people hate to come and play. "
The Carolina Kids' Club set up a variety of inflatable games and other activities in the east end zone, with food vendors open for business for the first time since the spring game.
The crowd showed up early for the event, with children making use of the slides and trampoline a full hour before the show began at 6:00pm.
Hillsborough, N.C. native Steve Scott and his son Davis made the trip to collect as many autographs as they could get their hands on. The elder Scott was interested in hearing what Davis had to say, after witnessing the Tar Heels struggle to a 3-9 record in 2006 under John Bunting.
"They probably needed a change," Scott said. "They had too many mental breakdowns. They definitely needed a coach who was going to keep them from going offsides and making bad plays. Hopefully they can put a winning product out there."
Following Davis' speech, Durham introduced the members of the 2007 squad one by one, beginning with Brooks Foster (jersey #1) and ending with Darrius Massenburg (#98). The Tar Heels emerged from the players' tunnel wearing Carolina blue jerseys and matching shorts. Several were even sporting blue head bands, including senior wide receiver Joe Dailey and freshman defensive tackle Marvin Austin.
The position groups were spaced out evenly over ten yards, with the offensive unit set up on the home sideline, while the defensive unit lined the visitor's boundary.
Many of the North Carolina fans in attendance were optimistic about the 2007 season.
"I think they'll be a surprise team this coming year," said James Conley of Cary, N.C. "I think they've got a lot of good players. They just need to tighten up some stuff. They were a pretty good team last year, but they just had some unfortunate luck hit them."
Some fans are not even concerned about the win-loss total this fall, instead electing to focus on the small things that will help this young UNC team win in the long run.
The younger Scott, a rising fourth-grader, chose his words carefully when asked what was the one thing he hoped to see out of the players this season: "Hustle."
A simple request, but one that will provide Tar Heel nation plenty of reason to stand up and cheer for the football program this coming fall.