UNC Football: Staff Roundtable and Predictions

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Nov 20, 2014; Durham, NC, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels linebacker Romar Morris (21) carries the ball against the Duke Blue Devils defense in their game at Wallace Wade Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark Dolejs-USA TODAY Sports

How much better do you expect the defense to be this season with Gene Chizik at the helm?

David Staley: Some. I don’t think Chizik will allow 70 points or 600 yards in a game, but I’m also not expecting Dre Bly or Greg Ellis to walk through that door. You can only make so much progress in a single off season, and I would consider it a win if Carolina improves from “extraordinarily bad defense” to “mediocre defense.”

Jackson Hicks: It would be hard for the defense to be worse than last season. I think it will take a few game to get adjusted, but eventually I think the defense will see significant improvement. Luckily, 3 of the first 4 games are against very weak teams, so a poor defensive performance shouldn’t cost the Heels too much until later in the season.

Zack Pearson: The defense last year was bad, bottom line. This season I expect it to be better, but it won’t be great nor on the level the team needs it to be.

Brandon Griffin: Enough. I know that isn’t the most quantitative but with as good as I see this offense being, the team only needs the defense to improve enough to get some stops, as opposed to next to none last year. In a high scoring game, it is often the team that can get one or two stops that win the game.

Ben Coley: It won’t be difficult to improve from last year, which was 496 yards per game. It wouldn’t be unreasonable to think they could cut that yardage down to around 375. That would put UNC around top-40 in the country.

Leonard Meade: It should be a little better but could get a lot better. A lot depends on if the players can quickly adapt to a new scheme.

Simeon Jackson: +15, +20% better. You can only run with the horses you have. We’ve had bad pass defense for a couple seasons now. It’ll take a while for his guys to come in and make an impact.

Matthew Haley: Scheme alone is not going to change a defense that gave up as many yards and points as last years team did however Coach Chizek demands respect based on past accomplishments. If we see a team that tackles and lines up correctly on a consistent basis the team only needs this to be a top fifty or sixty defense with the weapons Seth Littrell has on offense. Lets not forget the Tar Heels made it to a bowl game last year with an offense that faced added pressure of needing to score each time it possessed the ball along with a kicking game that took a year off.

John Bauman: Incrementally better. New coordinators and staff help, but at the end of the day a lot of the same players are still back. I think this unit has the potential to be an average unit, and average is really all the Tar Heels need to go with what could be a truly great offense.

Next: Can Marquise win an ACC POY or Heisman?