TJ Yates Will Lead UNC Tar Heels to the Top

Cliff PotterCorrespondent IAugust 18, 2010

WINSTON SALEM, NC - OCTOBER 27:  Stanley Arnoux of the Wake Forest Demon Deacons tackles quarterback T.J.Yates of the UNC Tar Heels during the ACC game at the Groves Stadium, on October 27, 2007 in Winston Salem,North Carolina.  (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
David Cannon/Getty Images

The Real Truth about UNC football and T.J. Yates is that the quarterback is one of the best of all time. Yes, despite the boos, the Bryn Renner competition, the heartbreaking interceptions, and all the noise one hears about this quarterback, most have missed the point. Without the interceptions, Yates would possibly already be the greatest quarterback in UNC history.

Sure, this is not exactly huge. Few UNC quarterbacks have played a down in the NFL. And Yates may not either.

Yet, let's take a minute to examine his statistics. Yates is reported to be among UNC's top two in passing yards (5,959), touchdowns (39), completions (513), attempts (855) and completion percentage (60%). And that is to say nothing about the fact that his 2,136 yards were the eighth most in Carolina history.

So what is the reason Yates is on the hot seat, at least by the fans and many pundits? He lost big games and threw too many interceptions. He was slow and got sacked so many times.

Yet we have numerous examples of great quarterbacks who simply could not win without a decent offensive line. And the offensive line at UNC has been faulted as being terrible. Just look at the picture accompanying this article. But that was last year.

This year, we have Yates facing pressure outside the team and within. Bryn Renner is liked and was a much better recognized quarterback out of high school. Indeed, Yates started as an afterthought when Carolina coaches went to Georgia to scout another player.

Butch Davis is a smart coach. While some fault him for sticking with players too long, The Real Truth is that Yates is poised for a breakout year. And the breakout is likely.

UNC could blow out LSU. The quarterback is far too maligned for what he has accomplished and what he will do with ten starters back on offense. UNC also has two exceptional freshman offensive tackles available, with at least one likely to start. The defense, top-ranked last year, is still the same.

So we see it likely that Butch Davis will call for the long ball often against LSU. Two quick scores is all that Yates needs. If they occur, and UNC has a fourteen point lead, UNC will have a real chance for a run all the way to the BCS Championship game.

And that is The Real Truth.