UNC Football vs. Miami

The 8-1 UNC football team will take on Miami in an ACC battle on Saturday, November 14th.  The game kicks off at 3:30 in Kenan Stadium.

You can listen to UNC Football vs. Miami on 97.9 FM and 1360 AM WCHL.

WCHL will broadcast Countdown to Kickoff with Ron Stutts from 12:30 until 2:30 from Hickory Tavern.  The UNC pregame show starts at 2:30 from Kenan Stadium.

The Tar Heels are sitting atop the ACC Coastal division after defeating the Duke Blue Devils 66-31 last Saturday.  Senior quarterback Marquise Williams completed 23-of-35 passes for 494 yards–a new school record–and accounted for five touchdowns in all. He also rushed for 30 yards, to finish with 524 total yards by himself–the first Tar Heel to ever break the 500 yard mark–in what was arguably the best performance ever by a UNC football player.

The performance launched the UNC football team from Number 21 to Number 17 in the AP Poll.  After being unlisted in the College Football Playoff rankings, Carolina is now Number 23.

The Miami Hurricanes will come into Chapel Hill with a 6-3 record.  The team is 2-0 since the firing of head coach Al Golden.  In the ACC Coastal division, Miami is tied for third place with Pittsburgh.


UNC-Duke Football Pregame at Hickory Tavern

UNC-Duke football.  Tobacco Road football that matters in November.

Join WCHL at Hickory Tavern in Carrboro for your Tar Heel Football pregame festivities.

WCHL will be broadcasting “Countdown to Kickoff with Ron Stutts” from 9:00 until 11:00 AM on Saturday, November 7 on 97.9 FM, 1360 AM and online at Chapelboro.com.

The Tar Heels take on the Duke Blue Devils in Kenan Stadium at noon.  Carolina is 7-1 on the season and is looking to go 5-0 in the ACC after last week’s win over Pitt.  Despite Duke’s last-second loss against Miami, this game decides who will be in the driver’s seat in the ACC Coastal Division.

Hickory Tavern is located on 310-110 East Main Street in Carrboro.

While you are visiting Hickory Tavern, be sure to sign up for our Carolina Basketball Holiday Hoops in Brooklyn Giveaway.




Three Tar Heels Make Preseason All-ACC Football Team

If Monday’s list of preseason team predictions didn’t tell you all you need to know about ACC football, then Wednesday’s announcement of the All-ACC team surely will.

There’s Clemson, then Florida State, then everybody else.

Of the 26 players selected, 14 play for either the Tigers or Seminoles–nine for Clemson, five for Florida State.

UNC was right behind the perennial powerhouses, though, with three of its players making the team–tying Louisville for third-most.

Thanks to his outstanding work as a punt returner over the last three years, senior wide receiver Ryan Switzer led the way by earning 112 out of a possible 191 votes to be the team’s specialist.

With just one more punt return touchdown, Switzer would have eight for his career. That would tie former Texas Tech and New England Patriot star Wes Welker’s NCAA record for most in a career.

Elijah Hood (with ball) used his bruising running ability in 2015 to power his way to a preseason All-ACC team honor in 2016. (Smith Cameron Photography)

Elijah Hood (with ball) used his bruising running ability in 2015 to power his way to a preseason All-ACC team honor in 2016. (Smith Cameron Photography)

As talented as the Tar Heel offense is projected to be, only junior tailback Elijah Hood–a Charlotte native–was named to the All-ACC offensive squad. His 97 votes placed him second behind Florida State speedster Dalvin Cook, who received an astonishing 184 votes.

After posting the second-most prolific rushing season in Tar Heel history in 2015, Hood is poised to break out in a big way this season.

Defensively, senior cornerback Des Lawrence received his due for helping the UNC secondary–known as the “Rude Boys”– become one of the best units in the nation at stopping the air attack.

Like Hood, Lawrence also calls the Queen City his home.

They also share another similarity in that Lawrence also finished second in voting at his position–coming up 53 votes short of Clemson’s Cordrea Tankersley for the first-string nod.

Tar Heel fans can take pride, however, in knowing that no other North Carolina ACC school–Duke, NC State or Wake Forest–had a single player recognized as part of this team.

In all, only eight of the conference’s 14 schools were represented–proving that this honor isn’t exactly the easiest to obtain.

Moving forward, though, each of these 26 players will have to prove their worth on the field over the course of the next four months.

Should they do that, they’ll end up on a list that’s even harder to make–the postseason All-ACC team.

Full Preseason All-ACC Roster


Chansky’s Notebook: Oh, The Weak Coastal

Three players make Carolina the favorite to meet Clemson again.   The Atlantic Coast Conference preseason poll almost slipped by unnoticed because it was so Tiger loaded with Clemson returnees that, seemingly, no one else has a chance to win the ACC football championship. In fact, the ACC has yet to release it preseason all-conference team since that, too, may be all Orange all over again.

The Tar Heels were a slight pick over Miami and Pitt to repeat as Coastal Division champions, which they snatched away by going 8-0 in the league after a preseason fourth-place pick in 2015. Besides losing half their starters on defense and record-setting quarterback Marquise Williams, isn’t there anyone else in the Coastal who can beat Carolina? Apparently not, so say the voters.

Granted, Larry Fedora’s fifth UNC team may be the fastest and most athletic he’s had in Chapel Hill, but there are only a handful of household names ready to defend the division crown. Most of the talk centers on new starting quarterback Mitch Trubisky, his roommate and return-receiver specialist Ryan Switzer and Elijah Hood, who some think could contend for the Heisman Trophy if he played in an offense that gave him the ball 30 times a game.

Despite those playmakers and others like Mack Hollins and a veteran secondary returning, as much concern should be for the names we won’t hear anymore, like linebackers Jeff Schoettmer and Shakeel Rashad and recording breaking wide-out Quinshad Davis plus the rock of the offensive line, Landon Turner. Some players will have to quickly become household names and Trubisky must be at least as good as advertised to give UNC an attack equal to what it had in ‘15.

Is Clemson so much better than the rest of the league that the Tigers easily outpolled Florida State and Louisville in the superior Atlantic Division? All-American QB DeShaun Watson has to play one more season before he can turn pro, and they still have RB Wayne Gallman and WR Artavis Scott among nine returning offensive starters who seemingly make the Tigers unstoppable.

As training camp looms, UNC may indeed be the best in its division, but right now that says a lot more, or less, about the weak Coastal than it does about Carolina.


UNC Football Selected As Preseason Favorite in ACC Coastal

As if there was any need for more pressure on this year’s UNC football team, the Tar Heels were officially named the favorite to win the ACC Coastal Division on Monday.

Based on a poll of 191 media members last week at the conference’s annual kickoff event, Clemson is projected to repeat as champion after receiving 144 first-place votes–but only after going through UNC in the league title game once again.

Although Florida State (39) garnered more first place votes than the Tar Heels (seven), the Seminoles compete in the same division as Clemson. This assures that the two schools won’t be able to play against each other for the conference championship in December.

The ACC also announced its preseason Player of the Year voting–which saw the Tigers’ star quarterback Deshaun Watson take home 166 first-place votes.

Mirroring the team projections, Florida State’s speedy tailback Dalvin Cook was second with 18 votes–while UNC’s bruising tailback Elijah Hood received four votes to end up third.

ACC Championship Votes

1.       Clemson – 144

2.       Florida State – 39

3.       North Carolina – 7

4.       Louisville – 1


Atlantic Division

(First place votes in parenthesis)                       

1.       Clemson (148) – 1,293

2.       Florida State (42) – 1,176

3.       Louisville (1) – 961

4.       NC State – 704

5.       Boston College – 441

6.       Syracuse  – 426

7.       Wake Forest – 347

Coastal Division

(First place votes in parenthesis)                       

1.       North Carolina (121) – 1,238

2.       Miami (50) – 1,108

3.       Pitt (14) – 859

4.       Virginia Tech (3) – 697

5.       Duke (2) – 597

6.       Georgia Tech (1) -588

7.       Virginia -261

ACC Player of the Year

1.       Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson – 164

2.       Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State – 18

3.       Elijah Hood, RB, North Carolina – 4

t-4. Brad Kaaya, QB, Miami – 2

t-4. Lamar Jackson, QB Louisville – 2

5.       DeVon Edwards, CB/KR, Duke – 1



Larry Fedora and Ryan Switzer Have Fun at the ACC Kickoff

Larry Fedora and Ryan Switzer clearly had a lot of fun at the ACC Kickoff on Thursday.

Like several other ACC coaches and players, the pair played rounds of “Fruit Ninja” in virtual reality.

The ACC Digital Network also got Fedora and Switzer to go along with a fun bit based on a recent tweet from the wide receiver.  Back in June, Switzer noted that his coach did not follow him on Twitter.

His coach replied.


That was June.  We are now in July.  According to this “report” by the ACC Digital Network, things are tense.

It’s possible that Fedora has been studying Roy Williams’ relationship with Brice Johnson.  If Switzer wisely follows his coach’s social media example, maybe he will get a follow.  Let’s take a peek at some of Fedora’s Twitter highlights.

That’s top-notch tweeting.  What does Switzer offer?



Expectations at an All-Time High for UNC Football in 2016

Last season, the UNC football team set a pair of lofty goals—hoping to win the ACC Coastal Division for the first time, while also defeating their three biggest in-state rivals.

A year later, that mission has been accomplished.

As a result, the Tar Heels showed up in Charlotte at 2016’s ACC Media Day facing some of the highest expectations the program has ever seen.

With the amount of returning talent it has–both on offense and defense—UNC is among the favorites to claim the Coastal Division yet again.

Ryan Switzer has spent his first three years in  Chapel Hill making quite a name for himself--both as a returner and a receiver. (UNC Athletics)

Ryan Switzer has spent his first three years in
Chapel Hill making quite a name for himself–both as a returner and a receiver. (UNC Athletics)

The most important piece, though, is someone who’s never started a game.

New starting quarterback, Mitch Trubisky—the first big-time recruit at his position under head coach Larry Fedora–spent the last two years learning behind Marquise Williams. Now he’ll finally get his chance to shine.

However, his transition will certainly be made easier by all of the veteran playmakers around him—including his roommate, senior wide receiver Ryan Switzer.

“I joke with Mitch all the time at the house about how fortunate he is to step into the position he’s in,” Switzer told reporters. “I don’t know of any other team that’s returning what we’re returning on offense.”

The agile slot-man is expected to be a huge focal point of the high-speed Tar Heel attack, but he’ll also be flanked by a pair of receivers 6-foot-4 or taller in Mack Hollins and Bug Howard.

Then there’s the bulldozer in the backfield—junior tailback Elijah Hood. After posting the second most prolific rushing season in school history as a sophomore, you can expect him to receive another heavy workload.

On top of that, the team returns four of its five starters on the offensive line.

“It’s not so much that we outdo ourselves, or outdo the numbers we put up,” Switzer said. “We just gotta continue to be more consistent on a drive-to-drive basis—and make sure that we don’t waste all the weapons we do have.”

While a majority of the media attention this offseason has been given to the UNC offense, the defense should be able to make yet another stride in its second year under defensive coordinator Gene Chizik.

Despite losing a pair of veteran linebackers in Jeff Schoettmer and Shakeel Rashad, young faces like Andre and Jonathan Smith are expected to bring a new level of explosiveness. T

he strength of the defense, though, should again be in the secondary–with senior Des Lawrence leading the way.

“We’re just trying to reach new heights,” Lawrence said Thursday. “I think that everybody is challenging themselves to be better—and that of course is gonna make our defense better.

Tar Heels vs Cavaliers

Physicality and aggressiveness are two of the defensive principles Gene Chizik has instilled in the Tar Heels since arriving as defensive coordinator prior to last season. (Photo via Smith Cameron Photography)

“Me personally, I’m challenging the secondary to be better than we were last year,” he continued. “I think we were top 10, top 15 [nationally] in most categories.”

As the countdown continues toward the Tar Heels’ season opener in Atlanta against Georgia—an SEC powerhouse loaded on both sides of the ball–it’s clear why Fedora doesn’t want expectations for his team blown out of proportion.

“We’re excited about [opening the season against Georgia],” Fedora said. “It’s kind of a measuring stick that says ‘Where are we at this point?’

“At the same time, we know that a game like that doesn’t make or break our season.”

The talent is there, yes, but the Tar Heels schedule also includes road games at Florida State and at Miami.

It’ll be a difficult task for UNC to repeat its 8-0 ACC record from 2015, but here in speculation season anything—and I mean absolutely anything–is possible.


Larry Fedora Plays Virtual Fruit Ninja, Has Beard

The above photo of Larry Fedora was taken during the 2015 football season.  As you may know, he looks a little different now.

UNC’s football coach sprouted a beard this offseason and he has taken it with him to the 2016 ACC Football Kickoff media event in Charlotte.  

Media days are opportunities for players and coaches to discuss the upcoming season.  But, the ACC is having some fun with it, also.  Fedora, wide receiver Ryan Switzer, and cornerback Des Lawrence are in attendance.

We have seen video of Fedora and Switzer playing a virtual reality version of “Fruit Ninja.”

That’s just a taste.  Below, you can see the full thing.  For those keeping score, Fedora beats Switzer.

Of course, it is not all fun and Fruit Ninja at the ACC Kickoff event.  The long-awaited ACC Network was announced by two alumni of the University of North Carolina, ACC Commissioner John Swofford and ESPN President John Skipper.


UNC Football Adds Defensive Commit

UNC football picked up a commitment from a highly touted defensive back in the Class of 2017 on Monday.

Tre Shaw has played all over the defensive backfield for his Georgia high school, while also contributing on the offensive side.

Shaw chose UNC over scholarship offers from Auburn, Clemson and South Carolina.

Shaw announced his decision on Twitter Monday evening.

Shaw joins 14 other high school rising seniors who have committed to head coach Larry Fedora’s program.


UNC Offensive Lineman John Ferranto Out for Season

Senior offensive lineman John Ferranto will miss the 2016 football season after tearing a left pectoral muscle during a Monday workout.

Ferranto had surgery Wednesday to repair the injury, according to UNC Athletics.  Dr. Alex Creighton performed the surgery at UNC Hospital.  Recovery time is expected to be six months.

John Ferranto has started in 17 of his 37 career games.  In his sophomore season, he started all 13 games for the Tar Heels.  In 2015, he started four games.  He is a native of Burlington, New Jersey.

Despite the injury, the Tar Heels will still enter the 2016 season with an experience offensive line.  Tackle Jon Heck was recently named to the Outland Trophy watchlist, an award given to the nation’s best interior lineman.  But, the group will still need to find a replacement for Landon Turner, the Tar Heels’ All-American guard who is now a member of the New Orleans Saints.