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Tuesday, May 7, 2013
North Carolina Tar Heels spring wrap

By Andrea Adelson

North Carolina Tar Heels

2012 record: 8-4

2012 conference record: 5-3, Coastal

Returning starters: Offense: 6; defense: 7; kicker/punter: 1

Top returners

QB Bryn Renner, OT James Hurst, DE Kareem Martin, S Tre Boston

Key losses

RB Giovani Bernard, OG Jonathan Cooper, DT Sylvester Williams, LB Kevin Reddick

2012 statistical leaders (*returners)

Rushing: Bernard (1,228 yards, 12 TDs)

Passing: Renner* (276-of-422 for 3,356 yards, 28 TDs, 7 INTs)

Receiving: Quinshad Davis* (776 yards, 5 TDs)

Tackles: Boston* (86)

Sacks: Reddick (6.5)

Interceptions: Boston, Tim Scott (four each)

Spring answers

1. Offensive line. Though the Tar Heels are losing three starters on the offensive line, including All-American guard Cooper, they do already have their starting five pretty set going into fall camp. Landon Turner and Kiaro Holts have playing experience, and Caleb Peterson is a redshirt freshman taking over for Cooper. The good news is the Tar Heels have two terrific players helping them in tackle James Hurst and center Russell Bodine.

2. Strong secondary. There are some key faces the Tar Heels have to replace on their defense, but their secondary returns nearly all of its key contributors. Safety Tre Boston has an opportunity to be an all-conference player, and this unit should be much better than it was a season ago.

3. Watch for Kareem Martin. By all accounts, Martin had a terrific spring as the leader of the defensive line with Williams gone. Martin had four sacks and six tackles for loss in the spring game, and is motivated to have a monster season.

Fall questions

1. Running back. We did get a few more answers this spring about A.J. Blue and Romar Morris, but it’s still unclear how the Tar Heels are going to use him and true freshman Khris Francis, who was in for spring. They might use a running back-by-committee approach as they try to replace Bernard’s productivity.

2. Offensive line depth. While the Tar Heels feel certain they know what their starting offensive line is going to look like, they are not so sure about who the next three men into the rotation are going to be. So depth is one key area that has to be built in the offseason and into fall camp.

3. Receiver. At this point, North Carolina has three known commodities in Quinshad Davis, Sean Tapley, and tight end Eric Ebron. The Tar Heels are waiting on T.J. Thorpe to get healthy and some other guys to really start being more consistent and defining their roles, because there are plenty of opportunities for making big plays in this offense.