In Depth Look: North Carolina Tar Heels Offense

If you’ve heard Lil Wayne’s song titled “Nightmares of the Bottom”, the rapper has a line where he says, “players play, coaches coach, and cheerleaders cheer”. I’m going to start this piece with those lyrics because in college football everyone plays their part. In this article I am going to label us college fantasy football geeks the cheerleaders. In the rest of this article I’m going to try to persuade you that North Carolina’s offense will be outstanding in the ACC this season. Please note that some of these players are nothing to write home about fantasy wise, but I wanted to highlight the talent this offense possesses. Alright, here we go:

One would think that after the departure of offensive coordinator Blake Anderson, the North Carolina offense could be in trouble. The Tar Heels offense broke over 40 school records while Anderson was the OC. Some of the records broke were: most plays, passing yards, points, and total offense. Anderson left Chapel Hill to be the head coach at Arkansas State, which has become a recent landing spot for up and coming coaches. The departure of Anderson has left some pessimistic. Personally I think their going to be just fine.

Coaches Coach

Remember when Indiana’s offense came out of nowhere last season? Indiana’s offense averaged 508.5 yards per game, and had over 62 total touchdowns in 2013. Well their offensive coordinator from a season ago is now in Chapel Hill, and he’s not even the offensive coordinator. Seth Littrell is now the assistant head coach for offense as well as serving as the tight end coach. Their are two co-offensive coordinators and Littrell isn’t one of them. Let that sink in for a moment.

Last years passing coordinator, Gunther Brewer is one of the co-offensive coordinators along with coaching the wide receivers. As a wide receivers coach, Brewer has coached two Biletnikoff award winners. Randy Moss at Marshall in 1997 and Justin Blackmon at Oklahoma State in 2010. Brewer was also a big part of the Oklahoma State program when Dez Bryant was the runner up for the award given to the nations top receiver’s. Brewer’s resume has helped land some elite pass catching talents for the Tar Heels.

The last coach I’m going to highlight is Chris Kapolovic, is the offensive line coach as well as co-offensive coordinator. Before being named a co-offensive coordinator, Kapolovic was also the run game coordinator and offensive line coach. In the past two seasons, coach Kapolovic has had four offensive lineman selected in the NFL draft. If North Carolina’s talent evaluation of offensive linemen stays steady and consistent, the Tar Heels shouldn’t have any major problems up front. If the o-line performs well, the sky is the limit for this offense. In 2012, Giovani Bernard had over 1,700 yards from scrimmage to go along with 17 touchdowns. Bernard would later get drafted in the first round of the NFL draft by the Cincinnati Bengals, thanks in large part to Kapolovic. 

This coaching staff knows what it takes to be successful on offense. As long as the players play their part, North Carolina should have no problem moving the ball and scoring points.

Players Play

QB – Marquise Williams (Junior)

Williams could be primed for a big season. This offense will continue to be high-tempo, which frequently runs the no-huddle. So far through two games, the offense is averaging 78.5 offensive plays per game. Williams, a dual threat quarterback benefits immensely by the fast pace of this offense. Marquise played in every game last season, but only started six of them. In his six starts last season, Williams per game average was: 240 passing yards, 1.8 passing touchdowns, 1 interception, 67 rushing yards, and .83 rushing touchdowns. In a standard scoring league where passing touchdowns are worth 4 points, thats a 26.48 pts/game average. Williams should only get better over time. Through two games this season, Williams is completing passes at a much higher rate this season. Last year his completion percentage for the season was 58.1%. This year he’s at 67.2%. As well as his improved passing, he’s leading the team in rushing yards. You can never go wrong with a dual threat quarterback who leads his team in rushing. If for some reason Williams is available in your league, pick him up. He could do very well this season, as he has talented playmakers all around him.

WR – Quinshad Davis (Junior)

Coming out of high school, Quinshad Davis was a four-star wide receiver in the class of 2012. As a true freshman in Chapel Hill, Davis broke freshman school records for yards and catches. The latter was a record previously held by Hakeem Nicks. Quinshad finished his true-freshman campaign with a total of 61 catches for 776 yards and 5 touchdowns. Last season as a sophomore, catch and yardage total decreased but his touchdown total increased. He finished his sophomore campaign with 48 catches for 730 yards and 10 touchdowns. Before the start of last season, head coach Larry Fedora set 100 catches as a goal for Davis to reach. He didn’t come close to reaching that goal, but it speaks for how highly Fedora and his coaching staff think of Quinshad Davis. In the first two games of this season, Davis has been relatively quiet. He has 8 catches for 91 yards and 1 touchdown. If you’re an owner of Davis don’t give up on him just yet. Sometimes you’ve got to be patient. With Davis you have yourself the number one receiving threat in an offense that has the potential to do very well.

WR – Ryan Switzer (Sophomore)

His ability to make plays in the open field reminds me a lot of Indiana WR Shane Wynn. Switzer, like Wynn is an undersized slot receiver and return man who has superb elusiveness. The diminutive Switzer was an All-American as a returner last season, and tied an NCAA record with 5 punt return touchdowns. Earlier in the article I had mentioned that Indiana’s offensive coordinator is now apart of the Tar Heel staff. Coach Littrell was able to get a ton of production out of Wynn last season as the number three receiving option. Wynn finished 2013 with 46 catches for 633 yards and 11 touchdowns; he also had two return touchdowns for a total of 13 scores on the season. Litrell could possibly be playing an integral part in North Carolina’s ambition to get Switzer the ball. Early in the season the Tar Heels have made it a point to get Switzer involved in the offense. He has a team high 14 catches for 105 yards through two games this season. Not incredibly impressive, but I’m a risk taker and love the fact he has been so involved early in the season. If your in a deep league he could have a nice season and is worth a roster spot.

WR – Mack Hollins (Sophomore)

Hollins is a former walk-on, who is now on scholarship after serving as the Tar Heels special teams captain last season. Hollins is known as one of the hardest workers on the team, and it appears he had a great offseason. In the first two games of the season, Hollins has established himself as a playmaker on the offense. The sophomore has 150 yards receiving and 2 touchdowns, although he only has 4 total catches. His two touchdowns were of the 91 yard and 33 yard variety. Thanks to his ability to make big plays, Hollins’ teammates have given him a new nickname: “Big Play Mack.” His hard work and efforts have helped him grow from a walk-on, to a scholarship recipient. From special teamer, to playmaker. He doesn’t have a ton of fantasy value but I’ve always had a deep respect for players who have the will and the drive to improve every single day. On a Jarred Abbrederis was a walk on at Wisconsin. If your in an ACC only league Hollins is worth a possible roster spot. Keep an eye on him, as he has defied the odds before.

WR – Bug Howard (Sophomore)

As a true-freshman last season, Bug Howard had 22 catches for 278 yards and 4 touchdowns. Bug Howard is yet another talented playmaker in this Tar Heels offense. According to ESPN’s recruiting rankings, Howard was the 24th rated receiver in the class of 2012. Howard is a big target at 6’4 and provides Williams with yet another talented pass catcher.

RB – Elijah Hood (Freshman)

Rated as a five-star recruit and the fourth ranked running back in the country by Rivals, Hood has a tremendous amount of potential. As a senior in high school, Hood ran for 3,690 yards and 53 touchdowns. Hood was an early enrollee on campus and participated in the spring game. Playing as a true-freshman, Hood has carried the ball 14 times for 69 yards and 1 touchdown through his first two games. Hood will more than likely continue to be in timeshare with T.J. Logan until one of the two backs proves worthy of the majority of the workload. Elijah Hood is an elite athlete and deserves to be on the radar of fantasy owners. If he does happen to carry the workload he could be in for a very nice rookie campaign. More than worthy of roster consideration in dynast formats.

RB – T.J. Logan (Sophomore)

As a true-freshman, T.J. Logan carried the ball 93 times for 533 yards and 4 touchdowns. Logan only played in 9 games due to the recovery of a knee injury. As well as being a playmaker on offense, Logan proved to be a very productive return man last season. Coming out of high school, Logan was a very highly touted recruit. Tabbed as the fourth ranked all purpose running back, and a four-star prospect by Rivals. Logan is yet another weapon Williams has at his disposal. Logan possesses great speed and an ability to make big plays. Through two games this season, the sophomore running back has been relatively quiet. He has 17 carries for 78 yards. He doesn’t have much fantasy value, but is another example of why this offense has the capability of breaking out.

TE – Jack Tabb (Senior)

It will be nearly impossible to replace last years tight end production. Eric Ebron is now in the NFL after being taken in the first round by the Detroit Lions. Tabb appears to be next in line for the Tar Heels at tight end. Ebron had a huge season last year as he caught 62 passes for 973 yards and 3 touchdowns. First year assistant head coach of offense, Seth Litrell got good production out of his tight end last season at Indiana, as Ted Bolser caught 6 touchdowns. Litrell will have an impact on this offense and is also the tight ends coach. Don’t expect Eric Ebron type numbers but Tabb could have a fairly productive season for the Tar Heels.

Cheers

North Carolina has one of the most talented offenses in the ACC. Marquise Williams is by far the most valuable player in this offense from a fantasy perspective. The receivers and the running backs are hard to gage, due to the amount of talent, and the relatively high level of offensive distribution. The Tar Heels like to spread the wealth, and run a very high tempo offense that requires a lot of substitutions. The amount of talent on the offensive side of the football bodes very well for quarterback Marquise Williams. Keep an eye on this offense; if one of these receivers or running backs separates themselves from the pack, they could have very nice statistics. After Marquise Williams, I’d say Quinshad Davis is the most valuable asset on this team from a fantasy perspective. Elijah Hood offers great dynasty potential as he was a 5-star recruit. This offense is loaded with talent and is fairly youthful. The resume of the Tar Heels coaches speaks for itself. Factor in the young talent and offensive scheme, the Tar Heels could have a very nice season.

***Feel free to follow me on Twitter @PutBoobieIn 

Leave a Reply