an impressive statistic: Fifty-three different players on Carolina’s season opening roster have at least one career start, including 19 first-time starters this year (TarheelBlue).
and another one: QB T.J. Yates holds 31 school records and enters the Music City Bowl with 61 consecutive pass attempts without an interception. Yates threw for 400 or more yards in two of his last regular-season games (a change from the Yates who was booed of the field a few seasons ago?).
Underlying these impressive stats, and a hysterically surprising Bowl Game win against Tennessee last night, the Tar Heels still carry a tragic story of academic misconduct and eternal injury for key players. Last night, we relied on some players who were never expected to be superstars–(Yates, anyone?). Couldn’t’ve done it without them, though. I also must say, God sure does love that CAROLINA BLUE… Here’s a nice article on the key players who backed us up, as many of our starters dropped like flies.
To understand what we have overcome, I’ve compiled:
UNC’s list of ‘outers’
ie: who we missed the entire season–and/or during the Tenn Bowl Game (let me know if I’ve missed anyone crucial!).
safety Deunta Williams (broken fibula during the Bowl Game)
tight end Zack Pianalto (broken leg).
running back Johnny White (fractured right clavicle)
linebacker Bruce Carter (knee)
guard Alan Pelc (broken left shoulder)
((KEY PLAYERS?: http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/bowls10/news/story?id=5919270))
Tailback Giovanni Bernard (knee)
defensive tackle Greg Elleby (knee)
wide receiver Brandon Felder (knee)
linebacker Shane Mularkey (shoulder)
cornerback Terry Shankle (knee)
MANY OF THESE: not too important injuries; but injuries none the less, decrease our playing depth.
FAILURE to MAINTAIN ACADEMIC ELIGIBILITY:
tailback Anthony Elzy (crucial suspension just in time for the Bowl Game)
wide receiver Greg Little
defensive end Robert Quinn
safety Jonathan Smith (one year of eligibility remaining),
safety Brian Gupton (one year of eligibility remaining)
defensive lineman Michael McAdoo
fullback Devon Ramsay
defensive tackle Marvin Austin