UNC Football: Summer Camp Update


Well, it’s official. UNC will be squaring off against the University of South Carolina and the nation’s arguably most dominant player in the nation, Jadeveon Clowney, in Columbia. I’m quite sure Tar Heel fans have circled that date on their calendar, but with summer rain covering the state, is everyone aware that UNC versus USC will take place in exactly 21 days from today? That makes this summer’s camp for the Tar Heels that much more important. Let’s get an update.


UNC has brought coach Keith Gilmore into the mix this offseason to mold the defensive line into a crazed pack of wolves, intent on destroying the offenses’ backfields and eating running backs for supper. He’s a 28 year coaching veteran and joins defensive coaches, Vic Koenning and Dan Disch. Head coach Larry Fedora has made it a point of highlighting the defensive side of the ball this summer by bringing in the right mix of coaches.

It hasn’t all been good news in the Tar Heels’ camp, though. There have been injuries. Dalton Stogner, Shakeel Rashad, and Sam Smiley have all gone down in recent weeks over this summer. It’s going to leave a hole in the Tar Heels’ production.

Sam Smiley posted 26 tackles last season, including 11 against Louisville. Shakeel Rashad had 18 tackles and one-and-a-half sacks last year. Dalton Stogner worked his way up to third in the wide receiver depth chart, despite being redshirted in 2012.

All these production numbers must be replaced and improved upon if Chapel Hill is looking to make an even further push this upcoming season. Are injuries part of the game? Sure they are. The championships go to the teams that can best bounce back from them, though. UNC is looking to do just that in the opening kickoff against that other Carolina, USC. It would be a massive statement game. Under the lights, on the road, in a nationally televised game; a victory would be a major morale booster. It would remind the nation as a whole that UNC does more than just round-ball well.

But before all that can happen, the Tar Heels must be crisp on the offensive side of the ball and keep a monster named Clowney away from Quarterback Bryn Renner. Luck favors the prepared and summer camp is where a team prepares. The offensive line of UNC has an incredibly important job this season, and namely three weeks from today, in keeping Renner upright. The Tar Heels have lost All-American, Giovani Bernard, to the NFL draft. USC knows that. They will ratchet up the defensive focus on UNC’s passing game even more so in the first game.

Everything over camp so far, besides the injuries, seems to be going according to plan. It’s important to note though, that Chapel Hill must come out swinging against the Gamecocks from the first minute. To be in this game, UNC will need to hit USC right in the mouth. Quick, but poised will need to be the Tar Heels’ game plan.

Chapel Hill has a real chance to put a major bow on their season, just with the first game of the year. Because it’s on such a big stage, under the lights, against a NFL caliber player right now (Jadeveon Clowney) and the Ol’ Ball Coach (Steve Spurrier), UNC has a chance to do something very special. They have a chance to throw a bucket of cold water on all the pundits, and the nation in general, by leaving Columbia, South Carolina with a victory. All of that preparation begins right now in summer camp. The clock is definitely ticking. Let’s hope the Tar Heels can bounce back from the injuries and new coaching personnel. It’d be the first great major highlight of Larry Fedora’s UNC career to get a victory against the boys down south.