UNC Football: Five early questions for 2018 season

CHAPEL HILL, NC - NOVEMBER 18: Chazz Surratt
CHAPEL HILL, NC - NOVEMBER 18: Chazz Surratt /
2 of 6
RALEIGH, NC – NOVEMBER 25: Anthony Ratliff-Williams
RALEIGH, NC – NOVEMBER 25: Anthony Ratliff-Williams /

Special Teams

Who should kick field goals this season?

The Tar Heels special teams were pretty good last season. Tom Sheldon finished first in the Atlantic Coast Conference in yards per punt, while his backup, Hunter Lent, would’ve finished second if he had punted enough balls to qualify.

UNC also got a huge boost from Anthony Ratliff-Williams who led not only the ACC but the nation in total kickoff yards, including taking two in for scores.  Even the punt returning was pretty good, where the Tar Heels ranked tied for sixth in the conference in yards per return, despite rotating through several returners last season.

The biggest weakness on the Tar Heels special teams was the field goal kicking. I talked about this in some detail when discussing Freeman Jones in my 25 player countdown, but needless to say, Jones was not great last season.

Jones finished eighth among the 11 kickers who qualified in the conference in field goal percentage and was 3-7 on kicks of 40 or more yards. Last season the Tar Heels recruited a kid named Noah Ruggles.

One of Ruggles best attributes was making long field goals.

With the offense potentially struggling again this season, figuring out the right guy to kick field goals could go a long way in whether the Tar Heels can improve on last season’s three-win mark.

Of course, a lot of that will have to deal with field position and that partly falls on the arms of the defense.