What Will The Identity Of UNC Football Be Next?


With great pleasure I’d like to introduce you to Keeping It Heel’s new contributing writer Elijah Marcus.

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As November leads to December, fall to winter, college football also transitions, from its regular season to its postseason. Teams are still fighting for that last victory or two in hopes to reach what most set as a goal, a bowl game. And then you have some fans who are praying that a rival looses just 1 game, whether it means a catapult to that coveted title shot or just makes that fan happy after a dreadful season of losing.

Yet for those experiencing pain through strong loyalties, they can’t wait for the nightmare to end. But for Tar Heel football fans, which have not yet turned all focus to the hardwood, they find their feelings about the football program may be more concerning than an invite to a “Tampax Maxipad” sponsored bowl game. Though I must point out if that bowl existed for them they may just take, even more they should cherish it because any bowl in the future could be few and far between. Outside looking in you would think interim coach Everett Withers may be on his way to keeping the job. The tar heels have been competitive and played well for withers, even though most of the players were put in place by Butch Davis. Majority would say withers probably never stood a chance to keep the job. Even if they finished the season ranked in the BCS top ten, it still was going to be hard for Everett Withers to convince people he was the guy.
Leading into the coach mentioned before, the campus at Chapel Hill had risen to the likes of a real “football factory” under Davis who already had an established pedigree and an eye for talent. In fact some would say his ability to do so is along the likes of Nick Saban. When NFL training camps finally opened several months ago Butch Davis recruited or coached over 30 pros on active rosters, including at least 8 alone from his highly touted 2010 roster that we will never know just how good they could have been.

But what is fascinating is that not only did Davis crank out pros like Chrysler’s in Detroit today, 2008 became his 6th consecutive season of graduating over 75 % of his entire football roster. He showed that he is a tremendous leader by turning high school boys into educated men. These numbers do not include more than a handful of player’s still at UNC who will one day in the future graduate, play in the NFL, or both.

But to acknowledge all this good most must wonder why he is no longer the head coach. Butch Davis was fired while the NCAA continued to find violations by what seemed to be half of his teams. The University of North Carolina did what most universities do today, they protect the integrity and image of their University. That is what was done by firing Coach Davis, and punishing those players involved.

When it was all said and done UNC forfeited all wins from 08 and 09, leaving a forever lasting print of a so called “scandal” in the UNC football record books. Though some may say he deserved to go, others may have wanted to see his leadership get behind him and work together to accomplish the goals of the program, either way he may always be remembered for the bad. Although i must point out there were no crimes committed, though undoubtedly there were some lapses in judgment. When rumors start and stories circulate, as soon as there are sounds of negative attention coming a universities way, ADs and university officials alike will do their best to deflect it. Look at the terrible situation now facing Penn State. This is one thing we continue to learn when it comes to college football, it is very difficult to maintain high standards and win consistently.

When was the last time we have seen a real college football dynasty, and I mean top 10 every year in everything they do, from winning to graduates from the football team. A lot of universities and athletic directors may think they have that right now, well guess what?  So did Penn and Ohio State and look were that got them. When too much is expected of a coach or a player on day one you only set them up for failure. It’s easy to say in big time D1 college sports you cannot have your cake and eat it too! So now as coaching candidates become available, get fired, or in some cases get bored and leave retirement, does UNC show up on radars. Does that top name coach have what the university wants? Of course fans want to win, and most by any means, but does that mean Urban Meyer is coming to Chapel Hill, most likely not. What about Mike Leach, another proven winner but is the cloud over his head a little too dark for the Heels?

Who knows? Some of you may really think “who gives a shit” we just want to win. Well if that’s the case then the question is will the next guy do anything butch Davis did? Positive or Negative? Or is UNC Tar Heel football doomed to the ACC cellar again? Some would argue the foundation is already in place and if someone can continue what’s been started the football program will continue to do well.

But even then a few years of winning may not be a long term solution in the eyes of those in charge, as a matter of fact didn’t those same eyes just let go of a guy who could win with a pretty good pedigree!

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