Monday, August 31, 2009
Notes on UNC's depth chart
By Heather Dinich
Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich
The Tar Heels' depth chart for their season opener against Citadel reflects the strength of the team -- stability on defense. With nine returning starters on defense, the only real surprise was that junior Charles Brown beat returning starter Jordan Hemby at cornerback. Brown really started to get an edge there back in the spring, even though Hemby started all 13 games last year.
The one position in flux this summer was at weakside linebacker, where Zach Brown and Kevin Reddick are listed as No. 1 and No. 2, respectively. Neither of them, though, have really played, and they're likely to alternate in a live audition for their job until one of them secures it permanently.
Also, you'll notice that Da'Norris Searcy won the starting job at strong safety, and much will be expected of him there.
Offensively, it's the first time in a long time that a freshman will start on the offensive line. Redshirt freshman Jonathan Cooper is the starter at left guard.
And the backup quarterback position, despite Mike Paulus' limited experience, is as much a question mark as it is around the rest of the ACC. T.J. Yates' backup is listed as either Paulus OR redshirt freshman Braden Hanson. Not exactly a vote of confidence in Paulus.
Johnny White makes for an interesting subplot at receiver, which lists Greg Little and Dwight Jones as the starters, with White and Joshua Adams as their backups. It's not shocking that Little and Jones are the starters, considering their experience, but who the No. 3 receiver was going to be was a question mark, and White obviously has a chance to be that guy.
White started his career as a tailback (his 5,133 yards at Asheville High School broke Charlie "Choo-Choo" Justice's 63-year-old record), but struggled to break tackles and make guys miss. Last year, he spent half the season at cornerback before moving back to running back. Now he's got another shot to get comfortable on offense.