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2009 Total Offense Rank (yards per game): 108
2009 Total Defense Rank (yards per game): 6

The North Carolina Tar Heels were the embodiment of inconsistency in 2009. The offense was pitiful while the defense was outstanding, and the team had multiple winning and losing streaks. Head Coach Butch Davis needs to win now, considering most of his defensive stars will be playing their final season in Chapel Hill.

The Tar Heels’ defense was superb last season. They were the only team in the nation to rank in the top 15 in all important defensive statistics and they return nine starters. Defensive end Robert Quinn returns after recording 11 sacks and 19 tackles for loss. He is joined on the line by fellow top NFL prospect Marvin Austin. Linebacker Quan Sturdivant led a solid group of linebackers and was top ten in the ACC with 12 tackles for loss. The secondary starts four seniors who combined for 19 interceptions last year. Deunta Williams is one of the best safeties in the country and cornerbacks Kendrick Burney and Charles Brown are rock solid.

UNC Tar Heels College Football Cheerleader

The defense will have to support North Carolina since their offense is anemic. Senior quarterback T.J. Yates will try to maintain the starting spot after struggling to throw 14 touchdowns and 15 interceptions last year. Redshirt freshman Bryn Renner will challenge him and could take over the position. The running back duo of Ryan Houston and Shaun Draughn is decent, but won’t scare anyone. Houston, the team’s leading rusher in 2009, averaged only 3.7 yards per carry. The receiving corps is slightly better, headlined by senior Greg Little. He caught 62 passes for 724 yards last season and may be better with a stronger quarterback. The offensive line returns three starters, but is still shaky at best. They need to control the line to give their offense a chance to succeed.

They say defense wins championships. North Carolina is hoping that is the truth. The defense should again be in the top 20 in the country, but their offense must improve to compete with the top teams in the conference.

North Carolina’s odds to win the ACC: +500

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