UNC sorely missing defensive experience

September, 4, 2010
9/04/10
6:47
PM ET
ATLANTA -- The Georgia Dome is a mammoth bubble that gives the vibe of a big-time college football atmosphere.

It's the kind of place where true freshmen dream of playing, and then throw up in the locker room once they get here and realize they have to.

The young players on North Carolina's revamped depth chart will undergo a rookie hazing today in the season opener against LSU. The disparity in starting experience is glaring. According to the North Carolina depth chart that was released in the press box, UNC's starting defensive linemen will have a combined five starts (and that's thanks in large part to four from defensive tackle Tydreke Powell). None of the four new starters in the secondary have ever started a game. At left defensive end, freshman Kareem Martin is backed up by another freshman, Tim Jackson.

The Tar Heels are still solid at linebacker, where Kevin Reddick, Quan Sturdivant and Bruce Carter are veterans. That trio will have to anchor the entire defense.

The offense will sorely miss its three leading rushers in Shaun Draughn, Ryan Houston and Greg Little, but Johnny White has eight career starts and can take advantage of this opportunity.

It's possible that the loss of 13 players -- including seven starters on defense -- could only bring this team closer together in an us-against-the-word mentality. But emotion can only overcome experience for so long.

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