The California Golden Bears took a brief time to pause before getting ready for their first game of the season. Fan Fest took place this past weekend.
It was a quick calm before the storm before the Bears got set to take on North Carolina. What can they expect from the other side?
UNC does not have a starting quarterback yet
The North Carolina Tar Heels are still trying to figure out their quarterback situation as well. Redshirt freshman Chazz Surratt is supposedly battling LSU transfer Brandon Harris for the job. Larry Fedora doesn’t seem to be in a hurry to end the fight:
“They’re all competing,” he said on Monday, again. “That’s what I like. They’re all competing. So we’ve still got a ways to go before somebody separates themselves. But I like the way they’re competing.”
And did any quarterback stand out in UNC’s most recent scrimmage, its third of the preseason?
“No,” Fedora said.
Just like Fedora, Justin Wilcox is holding his cards close to the vest in terms of naming a starting quarterback. You might not see a decision right up until the opening moments of gameday.
Following a whole host of teams across all levels, from the Seattle Seahawks to peewee leagues, UNC has debuted safer tackling techniques in camp this summer. Coaches use four giant rings—roll tackle rings—to teach “roll tackles” that are designed to make players lead with their arms and find the right angles, improving efficiency and lowering injuries, especially concussions
There must be reliability for short yardage situations and as a receiving target out of the backfield. It is doubtful that these critical scenarios will allow for “plug and play” with the committee of running backs. If a feature back does not emerge this season, hopefully one or two running backs can be counted on to execute during these sequences.
There are some missing pieces at offensive line.
These key absences on the offensive line during training camp—especially the injury to Spain—is not ideal. They are even worse in the context of what happened with injuries last season. With a relatively new offense, the o-line needs to be a stabilizing force for Carolina.
Cal definitely does not have a wide receiver problem. North Carolina definitely does.
After a recent practice, Gunter Brewer, the Tar Heels’ veteran receivers coach, compared his position group to a new, unworn pair of shoes. Only one of his returning players, Austin Proehl, has ever caught more than 20 passes in a season in college.
And so, Brewer said, using the shoe metaphor, “You’ve got to break them in a little bit.”
Wilcox has coached a defense against North Carolina in the past—the 2010 Music City Bowl, where North Carolina came back to beat Tennessee.
Finally, levity. One of the greatest quotes in sports history will be present at Kenan Stadium.
North Carolina is having fun with their meme-ry. Here’s to hoping we can add something to our Cal memes besides deflated Oski.