UNC Football: Five Things We Learned Saturday at Kenan Stadium


The fans poured into Kenan stadium not know what exactly to expect from the UNC football team, but there was an excitement in the air that has not been there since 1997 when Mack Brown roamed the sideline.  Of course there was some excitement with Coach Davis, but the year UNC would have been a contender occurred the same year of the suspensions.  On the day of Larry Fedora’s first game as UNC head coach fans left the stadium in a way that has not occurred in Kenan in more 15 years.

The Tar Heel offense, defense and special teams were all impressive en route to a 62-0 win over the Phoenix, and the big question that remains is how will the Tar Heels respond to a more formidable opponent.  That being said the Tar Heels committed only three penalties and the first unit had zero motion penalties which is impressive with the pace and style of offense that is installed.  The Tar Heels will travel to Winston Salem to take on Wake Forest who hung on to beat Liberty in their opener.  Heading into to week two of the Tar Heels season I believe we learned a few characteristics that will be a staple of this team.

Gio Bernard is as good as advertised and had he not left the game ESPN may have launched his Heisman campaign after recording over two hundred yards offense in one half of football including a 59 yard burst down the left sideline to go along with his 70 yard punt return.  Romar Morris and AJ Blue are efficient back ups, and the number of plays ran by UNC makes it refreshing to see some guys receive touches that would not occur in the more traditional pro set.  This has to impact recruiting when players see the back ups receiving meaningful reps.

Jabari Price who was highlighted as a player to watch in the secondary had a tremendous day.  He looked comfortable and was in position to make plays all afternoon.  He and Tim Scott had solid performances and confidence is an area that needed to be boosted in the UNC secondary.

Who is UNC’s number one receiver? Well 14 different players caught a pass Saturday including quarterback Bryn Renner.  Renner hit the open target consistently and his one miscue came on a busted route.  Having multiple players catch passes is a positive aspect that keeps a defense guessing, but at some point in the season someone will need to step up and make big plays consistently to win the upper tier type game.

The defense provided a shutout for the opener and gave up only 42 yards on the ground.  The defense responded nicely when asked to jump back on the field quickly after UNC scores especially for how hot it was at the field level.  Will they be able to keep that pace up when they begin league play is still a question that needs answering.

Coach Fedora  said his team did face adversity Saturday and that they need a little adversity to assess how they respond.  I will respectfully disagree with Coach Fedora in one aspect of his comments.  The UNC football faced adversity for the last two years and yet these players still were able to put aside bowl bans, negative press clippings and to come out and perform like they did Saturday demonstrates their mental toughness.

Now how they will respond to a game they start off with perhaps a turnover or some negativity is a situation I am positive Coach Fedora is worried about.  Watching Coach Fedora continue to demand excellence and the way he coach at 38-0 is helping me forgive Chancellor Thorp for how he handled the firing of Butch Davis. I even said hello to him and his wife yesterday.  UNC football is good hands and FedEx is going to deliver.

As always you can follow the Haley and MandMsportshow on twitter @MandMSportshow and you can read more articles from Haley at The Water Cooler.