Preview 2017: Is North Carolina In Need Of A Rebuild?

Preview 2017: Is North Carolina In Need Of A Rebuild?

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Preview 2017: Is North Carolina In Need Of A Rebuild?

Preview 2017: Is North Carolina Rebuilding?


With almost all of the top offensive players gone, is this a total Tar Heel rebuild?


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2017 North Carolina Preview: What You Need To Know
2017 North Carolina Schedule Breakdown & Analysis
– North Carolina Previews: 2016 | 2015

Now we really get to see just how good a program North Carolina is under Larry Fedora.

Fedora has put together an interesting nine years as a head coach, with nine straight bowl eligible seasons between Southern Miss and North Carolina, a Conference USA title, a trip to the ACC Championship, and plenty of noise along the way. But this year could be different.

There’s rebuilding, and there’s what the Tar Heels will have to do offensively this season after an interesting, but ultimately disappointing 8-5 campaign.

Last year’s team had a No. 2-overall-pick quarterback in Mitchell Trubisky slinging it around to a veteran receiving corps, and with a few excellent backs helping to take some of the burden off.

They’re all gone.

The defense that was such a disaster in previous seasons against the run was at least decent last year, but it came up with a grand total of one interception.

Even with all the talent on offense, all the improvements on defense, and with the stunning win over Florida State in Tallahassee and the second straight victory over Miami, there were still five painful losses that could’ve gone the other way.

The run defense that improved so much couldn’t handle Nick Chubb when it mattered in the opener against Georgia, Hurricane Matthew was a huge problem in the home loss to Virginia Tech, and shots were there in losses to Duke, NC State and Stanford.

The Tar Heels might have lost their last three FBS games of the season by a grand total of ten points, but that’s the point. Those are the games veteran teams with franchise NFL quarterbacks are supposed to win.

This year’s team isn’t full of experience, and if it has a future NFL starting quarterback, he hasn’t emerged quite yet.

So how is North Carolina supposed to be better with a far worse team – at least when it comes to how it looks on paper?

This is when everything Fedora has put together is supposed to pay off. This is when the talent machine is supposed to kick in, and the next man up is supposed to be able keep the production rolling. But again, how is that going to work in a division with an improved Miami, a stronger Pitt, a good Georgia Tech, and a Virginia Tech team that has upside, even if it’s reloading, too?

LSU transfer Brandon Harris will try filling in the quarterback hole once he gets to school, but he’ll have to fight off a few other good options already in place – and even if he gets the job, he’s not Trubisky, of previous star quarterback Marquise Williams.

The running back corps is painfully thin, almost all of the top receivers are gone, and two key offensive linemen have to be replaced.

The run defense that made such great strides last year should be as good as it’s been up front in the Fedora era, while the linebacking corps is all back full from the two-deep that saw the field in the bowl loss to Stanford. And yes, the secondary will pick off more than one pass this year with CB M.J. Stewart and SS Donnie Miles patrolling the defensive backfield.

It all adds up to another okay season of around seven to eight wins with a decent bowl appearance – if the team is lucky. And for this year, that’s okay.

But 2018 had better rock under Fedora. This season has to build to a possible Coastal title down the road with all the new parts in place.

Or, if this whole thing is working under this coaching staff, the Tar Heels could just rise up and shock everyone by getting back to the ACC Championship for the second time in three seasons.

2017 North Carolina Preview: What You Need To Know
2017 North Carolina Schedule Breakdown & Analysis
– North Carolina Previews: 2016 | 2015

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