NEWS, NOTES &
The Bradsher Beat
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
By Bethany Bradsher
Order Before They're Gone: 2010
Bonesville The Magazine
Fine-tuning still underway for
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opponents have averaged just 128 passing yards so far this season, which
means a new challenge Saturday for a team already beset with them.
The Tar Heels (1-2) will
line up against an East Carolina squad (2-1) that is covering almost 300
yards per game in the air. No doubt the game preparation in Chapel Hill has
majored in strategies for stopping the new Pirates’ spread offense that is
unlike any scheme they have seen lately.
It’s still a work in
progress, say quarterback Dominique Davis and his receivers, but every day
the ECU unit gets more comfortable with the fast, air-heavy attack that
gives talented wide receivers opportunities at every turn. When they finally
iron out all the wrinkles, they say, opponents are going to wish they had
never heard of a spread offense.
“We haven’t gotten all of
the pieces put together yet, but as soon as we do it’s going to be
exciting,” said Davis, who has thrown for 890 yards in three games he has
started behind center. “It’s going to be hard to stop us.”
Andrew Bodenheimer, a
sophomore from Winston-Salem, is slated to get his second start against
North Carolina, and he is convinced that the bye week helped ramp up the
intensity for the Pirates. You could almost hear the pieces falling into
place, he said, and the process will continue in the heat of competition.
“I think each game we’re
going to get a lot better right now,” Bodenheimer said. “We’re not at the
potential, but we will be. We’re starting to click, and I think soon we’re
going to play a full game of football. We haven’t done that yet.”
One key to ECU’s
offensive evolution is the deepening relationship between the wide receiver
corps, Davis and the offensive line. Each position is leaning on the others
more as the weeks go by, said wide receiver Michael Bowman. He and his
pass-catching mates consider Davis and the lineman like brothers.
The wide receivers are
installed in their ideal offense — plenty of routes, and when the ball isn’t
coming their way the chance to open a lane for one another.
“It’s a wide receiver’s
dream to be in this spread offense,” Bodenheimer said. “Even if you’re not
getting the ball, you’ve got a chance for a big block to spring somebody
else. Each play, you’ve got to do your job, and you’re counted on.”
When they take the field
Saturday determined to override the missteps of the Virginia Tech defeat,
the Pirates will certainly see a defense that isn’t accustomed to their
level of offensive productivity. But that’s no reason for false confidence,
head coach Ruffin McNeill said. The Tar Heel coaches are well versed in the
spread, and McNeill knows that Butch Davis and his assistants are
characterized by meticulous planning.
“I have a lot of respect
for that staff,” McNeill said. “I know the majority of those guys. They’ve
seen a lot of things, and I know they’ll have their kids prepared.”
Dominique Davis has
another reason why his teammates shouldn’t let their guard down for a
minute. As a former Boston College quarterback, Davis has competed in the
Atlantic Coast Conference, and as the Virginia Tech game proved, the ACC
brings everything to the table.
Even with 12 players
still out pending an NCAA investigation — and Johnny White and Quan
Sturdivant potentially out with injuries — Davis will remind his teammates
that the Tar Heels still have plenty of depth and desire.
“The ACC has it all:
Speed, strength, talent, they have it all,” he said. “It’s going to be a
dogfight going in there Saturday. We’re just going to go out there and
do what we need to do to win the game.”
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