North Carolina (2-10, 1-7 ACC)

The Acc

September 03, 2004|By KEVIN VAN VALKENBURG | KEVIN VAN VALKENBURG,SUN STAFF

North Carolina (2-10, 1-7 ACC)

Strengths: Senior quarterback Darian Durant isn't big (5 feet 11, 210 pounds), but he's a gutsy playmaker who has 51 touchdown passes in three seasons. The Tar Heels ask him to do a lot of things, but when he throws the ball, it's usually to wide receiver Jarwarski Pollock, who had 71 catches last year. Kick returner Mike Mason is a threat to score every time he touches the ball.

Weaknesses: Why sugarcoat it? North Carolina's defense was atrocious last season. The Tar Heels gave up 30 or more points 11 times last season. Maryland scored 59, including 39 in one quarter, an ACC record. Linebacker Larry Edwards is one of the lone bright spots on a defense that has serious work to do just to reach the level of mediocrity.

Key game: at Virginia, Sept. 11. The Cavaliers tend to overlook teams early in the season. The Tar Heels would love to pull off a big upset early in the year.

Extra point: The whispers that North Carolina might pursue former Florida coach Steve Spurrier will get louder with each loss. John Bunting will need a good season if he wants to be around in 2005.

2004 schedule

9-4 William & Mary 1:35

9-11 at Virginia 3:30

9-18 Georgia Tech 6:05

9-25 Louisville TBA

10-2 at Florida State TBA

10-9 N.C. State TBA

10-16 at Utah TBA

10-30 Miami TBA

11-6 Virginia Tech TBA

11-13 at Wake Forest TBA

11-20 at Duke TBA

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