UNC Football Position Preview: The Specialists
The special team area is an aspect of the game the Tar Heels have not had to worry about for the last four years since star place kicker Connor Barth took the field.
With the loss of deep snapper Michael Murphy and holder Ryan Baucom, the Heels will be young and inexperienced in the special team game, not exactly a comfortable position for an up and coming team.
PK Jay Wooten/Casey Barth
The place kicker position this season is still up for grabs as redshirt freshman Jay Wooten and Connor's little brother, Casey Barth, battle it out for starting rights.
With a school record 54 field goals to replace, whichever kicker replaces Barth will have large shoes to fill.
With so many close games played last season, the Heels could rely heavily on their kickers to not only put games away, but to win them as well.
P Terrence Brown
2650 Total Yards
41.4 Yards per Punt Average, 24 Inside the 20
While the place kicking game for the Heels may be uncertain, Carolina's punting game has no such questions.
To me, Brown is one of the most impressive punters I've seen in person. Head Coach Butch Davis stated earlier this preseason that he made Brown do a lot of directional punting last season to the young squad, which probably took 10 yards off of his average.
Davis said that with more experience this year on the punt team that Terrence would be one of the top ten punters in the nation.
Returner Brandon Tate
Kick Returns: 39 Returns, 939 Total Yards, 24.1 Average, Long 58
Punt Returns: 23 Punts, 216 Total Yards, 9.4 Average, 1 TD, Long 49
Tate is one of the most electric returners in the ACC, already breaking the ACC career record for kickoff return yards.
Tate scored one touchdown last season on a punt return, and has scored three touchdowns on kick returns and 2 on punt returns for his career.
If Tate has better coverage this year on his returns he will add to those numbers, becoming one of UNC's all-time return men.
Well that's it for my position by position breakdown for the 2008 Heels.
See you all on August 30 when the Tar Heels host McNeese State for their season opener.
Thank you all for reading the series and GO HEELS!
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