T.J. Yates. A name that has drawn much criticism in the state of North Carolina. The numbers that critics like to throw out there are his 15 interceptions to only 14 touchdowns in 2009.
They rightfully have thrown much blame for the offense his way. He reminds me of the ex-Carolina Panther Jake Delhomme, but that does not mean he cannot be the answer this year.
I will be the first to tell you that I think Bryn Renner, a 6’3” red-shirt freshman QB, should be looked at a second time. The truth is Yates will more than likely be the opening day quarterback. Only if Yates starts throwing interceptions left and right Butch Davis will give Renner a shot at it, but not right away.
Yates has been prone to throw interceptions over the years, but in 2008 he had a productive year that was only stopped by an injury. If he can get back to throwing the ball that well, 2010 will be a very good season.
The defense will put points on the board. There is so much talent on the defensive end it would be surprising if they did not do their part and score off of interceptions and fumbles.
There is also little doubt that Casey Barth will hit field goals when he is in position, but somebody still has to find the end zone from the offense. That is the key to a good season. Do not expect the running game to provide an overwhelming number of touchdowns. Instead, it will be left up to the quarterback.
That leaves us at square one: Yates or Renner? Yates will be the starter against LSU barring an injury or a major change of mind from Butch Davis. For this, Coach Davis will be questioned every time Yates throws an interception. Yates will get his shot though.
Yates will have open receivers this year. The talent at receiver is high, and they have grown up a year. He just has to hit the open man, and he has proven that he can do that. The problem lies when he is put into pressure. That is when he seems to want to throw into traffic.
To help with the pressure, Coach Davis will have to work with the offensive line. The O-Line is the key to the offense, but this offensive line is not very deep.
Coach Davis hopes to find depth somewhere. He may look at using new freshman offensive tackle James Hurst. Throughout the spring, be on the lookout for what happens with the offensive line because that will give you a good idea on how T.J. Yates will perform this year.
Tar Heel fans, give T.J. Yates a chance. If he throws three interceptions that are run back for interceptions against LSU then we will start chanting for Renner. Until then, he is the senior quarterback, and he deserves a chance. That first chance will be Sept. 4 against LSU.
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