2014 NORTH CAROLINA TAR HEELS Coach gwill will be on the sidelines for his 3rd season as head coach of the Tar Heels. 2012 saw UNC win the ACC Title, but last year was a bit of a disappointment as they didn't even make it to the conference title game, edged out by Virginia. Heading into 2014, they are again a top 25 team and the favorites to win the Coastal division, but it will be a difficult road this year as they have a lost some talent and have a very difficult schedule. They have already beaten Cal, but still have user games against Georgia Tech, Virginia and Washington. And also have top 25 Iowa and Miami on the schedule. They have the talent to contend not only for the ACC Title, but for the National title and a coach who has proven he can win in the past. OFFENSE Their starting offensive unit is very balanced with no weaknesses anywhere. But there isn't alot of depth behind the starters so keeping everyone healthy will be of utmost importance for them to win. Junior QB Marquise Williams (86ovr) leads the way. He has an above avg arm (88thp/91tha) and enough mobility to make defenders miss and scramble when need be. He was extremely efficient last year, passing for over 2000 yards at a 69% completion rate and had an insane 23-4 TD/Int ratio. Clearly he is a guy who does not turn the ball over and make mistakes. HB Romar Morris (84ovr) takes over as the lead back on the team this year. He has alot of talent, and is a dual threat speed/power every down type of back. But he came into this season with only 5 career rush attempts so he does not have a ton of experience and is a bit unknown how he will hold up over the season. The Heels return a pair of outstanding wideouts. All-American Reggie Wilkins (88ovr) is coming off a 1200 yd/13 td season and TJ Thorp (88ovr) had over 800 yds and 10 tds of his own. Wilkins is more of a possession type of receiver while Thorp has the speed to stretch defenses and go deep. The one area of concern for UNC might be at TE where Soph Terrance Knox starts. Knox is definitely known more for his blocking than pass catching skills. But UNC has talent at WR so they can spread the field out with 3-4 wide sets and remove the TE from the picture If there is a weakness on offense, it would be the O-Line. Good to solid across the board, but truthfully, only C Russell Bodine (88ovr) would be considered an elite talent. Keeping pressure off Williams and opening holes for Morris might be troublesome against some of the better Dlines they will face, specifically Washington's DE Shirley. Coach Gwill will need to come up with a scheme to keep his QB from getting killed in that game as neither of their tackles have the talent to stop Shirley...but truthfully, not many teams do. DEFENSE Unlike the offense, the defense isn't as balanced, however, it probably has more standouts. Specifically DT Shawn Underwood (87ovr) and CB Tim Scott (91ovr). Underwood is the big man in the middle, weighing in at a robust 304 pounds and impressive strength (90). This will be his first year starting though, but he has the talent to cause havoc in the middle of the line. Scott is a pre-season All-American and is coming off a 5 interception season last year. He is head and shoulders the best player in the Tar Heels secondary and will need to shut down opposing team's #1 WRs for them to win. He has all the physical tools too, with above average speed great tackle ability for a corner. His biggest strength though is his mind. A very smart player who can quickly diagnose plays and is equally good in both man and zone coverage. A few of the other top players on the defensive side of the ball for Coach GWill are DE Tyler Alberts (85ovr), DT Ethan Farmer (84ovr), OLB Travis Hughes (86ovr) and SS Jeff Schoettmer (84ovr). All above average players who should be solid contributors on defense. There are however some worrysome areas for UNC on defense. MLB Michael Evans (72ovr) will be needed to play above his overall to contain the run game of other teams. He does have above average speed but is lacking in some areas specifically awareness (47) and tackle (69). He might have alot of broken tackles against him and talented TEs could confuse him in the passing game. After Scott, they are very weak at corner with Wilfred Wahee (73ovr) and Ryan Mangum (72ovr) as their #2-3 corners. Both do have excellent speed, and Wahee especially will one day be a star as he is only a soph, but neither are great cover corners and could be exploited vs teams spreading the field against them. Finally, FS could be an issue. Starter Brandon Ellerbe (73ovr) is already hurt and backup Mario Moore (71ovr) is a true freshman who again, is probably in over his head at this point in his career. SPECIAL TEAMS The Tar Heels are definitely not worried about this area. Senior K Thomas Moore (90ovr) is a career 95% kicker and Senior P Tommy Hibbard (85ovr) can flip field position and has an impressive 26 of his career 74 punts downed inside the 20. The return game is lead by CB Wahee and WR Quinshad Davis, both with breakaway speed to take one to the house on any given return. PREDICTION The experts have predicted UNC to win the Coastal and make it to the ACC Title game. Week 8 is the game to circle on the calender, as they travel to Virginia to face Coach Will Atkinson in what will likely be the game that decides the winner of the division. Given the game is on the road, and with the lack of depth for UNC and probablility of atleast 1 major starter being hurt midway thru the season, I think Virgina will win that game. I also think UNC loses 1 other game along the way, most likely against the most talented team in the league, Washington and Coach Raidernation. 10-2, 2nd in the ACC Coastal and a top 25 finish is what I'm predicting.