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4Football '85Thursday, September 12, 1985
By SCOTT FOWLER
Assistant Sports Editor
"Uh, Roger, this is Air Anthony.
I'm circling back in a quickly
collapsing pocket, about to release
the bomb. Do you read. Arnold?
"Loud and clear, Air Anthony.
I'm 55 yards away and have a half
step on two LSU defensive backs.
Let it fly. Over."
The ball cuts a clean spiral
through the air and comes in for
a gentle landing in Arnold Frank
lin 's fingertips. The tight end takes
it in for six as the Kenan Stadium
crowd explodes. Afterwards,
Franklin and Anthony congratu
late each other.
"Just a tad off, I had to slow
up a little, " Franklin says.
"But still not bad for the first
play of the game," Anthony
Dick Crum bounces over and
hugs both players in an uncharac
teristic burst of emotion. "You've
made me the happiest coach alive, "
he says. "And you can take the
aviator hats off now." -
That, in theory, is a rather
glorified version of the newly
ina passing system. After umpteen
years of hand the ball to (take your
pick) Amos, Kelvin, or Ethan and
watch him go, UNC has now
switched to a passing game. Crum
put it succinctly enough. "Everyone
asks me if we're going to throw
more," he said. "The answer is yes."
The official line why is so that
the Tar Heels can take advantage
of their surplus of talent at wide
receiver. It also may have to do
with the fact that someone figured
out late last year that Kevin
Anthony could throw the ball,
UNC has a new offensive coordi
nator in Randy Walker, the former
quarterback coach, and the offen
sive line this year has no Brian
(Mt.) Blados and may find it easier
to block backing up than firing out.
The passing attack had mixed
success in its debut last Saturday
night against Navy. Anthony hit on
16 of 29 passes for 250 yards but
threw two interceptions. Earl
Winfield turned a five-yard pass
into an 82-yard touchdown, but
dropped two other sure touchdown
passes that hit him in the chest. One
thing for sure, the whole, thing will
go down the tubes if Anthony ever
gets hurt. In a mercifully brief two
series in the first half, Wes Sweetser
threw four groundball incomple
tions to put his career completion
percentage at somewhere under 30.
First and foremost, the UNC
coaching staff has stressed that the
passing game comes from a battery
of wide receivers described in such
glowing terms that they sound like
a bunch of Dupers, Loftons and
Hills rolled into one. "Before, every
time we were getting into a scoring
slugfest we were getting out
slugged," said Walker, who
replaced John Matsko as offensive
coordinator. "But now we feel like
we have the best receiving corps
weVe ever had."
Indeed, the Tar Heels boast
preseason All-America Arnold
Franklin, last year's team reception
and circus catch leader Winfield,
one of the best backup tight ends
in the country in Dave Truitt a .
steady Eric Streater at the other
wide receiver position, and a whole
host of other receivers who should
see playing time, including Eric
Lewis, Randy Marriott, Quint
Smith, Junnie Demery, and last
year's record-setting kicker, Kenny
However, all these guys were
around last year, too, and UNC still
gorged itself on the run until the
final three games. Crum said the
'Tar Heels played ball-control for
much of last year because the
defense was getting "their brains
knocked out" when they had to
play so many minutes of each
But the tactic resulted in staid,
predictable football for much of the
season. "1 thought our offense for
the last couple of years has really
been predictable," said Kevin
Anthony. "Sometimes I was hand
ing the ball off 60 times a game."
UNC did throw more, much
more, in the final three games of
last season, but that was after the
season's fate was already decided.
In spring practice this year, the Tar
Heels weren't so sure, despite the
coaches' promises, that the new
look offense was for real. "We had
heard it in the past, that we would
throw more, and I didn't know
whether to believe it," Streater said.
But as the coaching staff con
tinued to make the receivers con
centrate more on routes rather than
blocking, the team 'gradually
realized that they weren't getting
their annual spring April Fools.
"We committed to a wide-open
offense," said Earl Winfield.
"Coach Crum has confidence in
throwing the ball now."
And consequently, the wide
receivers live in a state of semi
ecstasy, ready to explode in orgi
astic bursts of sideline receptions.
"I love it," gushed Streater. "It's a
wide receiver's dream, just what
we've been waiting for."
"Being a senior, it made me feel
real good," Winfield said. "I want
to go out of here being
Even the normally quiet Frank
lin was enthused. "I'm excited," he
said. "I mean, we're going to get
to catch the ball."
Franklin has also decided that
he can catch 35 balls and six
touchdown passes if everything
goes well this year.
Ironically enough, the pilot of
UNCV first full-fledged venture
into the friendly skies will be
Anthony, a fourth-year junior who
came into UNC with a reputation
for being a running quarterback.
Last year he was supposed to
tactfully step aside so Mark Maye
could take over the controls of the
offense, but it didn't work that way.
"Every guy sitting in this room
and everybody on our coaching
staff thought that Mark Maye was
going to be our starter last year,"
Crum recently revealed in a press
conference, although last year at
the same time he had repeatedly
declared the contest a draw. "When
we recruited Mark we fully
intended to go to the passing
Instead, it was Anthony who
started last year after he deter
minedly kept his slight advantage
over Maye throughout practice.
And it will be Anthony who will
in all likelihood set a handful of
school passing records this season,
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Senior wide receiver Earl Winfield will be one of the primary components of the UNC aerial attack.
partly due to the fact that Maye's
shoulder is injured and the two
won't alternate but mostly because
Anthony has turned out to be more
than anyone bargained for
"Kevin's arm is a lot stronger and
he's also a lot bigger," Crum said,
declining to mention the most
important fact, that Anthony is
also just a lot better.
The fourth-year junior could
probably serve as a TA and teach
a course in the UNC playbook, so
well has he learned the Tar Heel
Bible. You can never put too much
time in on reading the playbook
or watching films," said the Phi
Beta Kappa student.
Another person who has wit
nessed a lot of opponents' films is
new offensive coordinator Randy
Walker, who is entering his eighth
season as a Tar Heel assistant. His
replacement of Matsko came as a
relief to some players who felt that
the lines of communication weren't
open between Matsko and them.
Although Walker was a running
back in college, he said he recog
nizes the quickest way to score in
today's game is through the air.
. "I like to throw it," Walker said.
"I think youH see a more innov
ative, creative offense this year.
WeVe added a few things."
And lost a few from the offensive
line. For four of the last five years
the Tar Heels had an Ail-American
in the offensive interior, but they
graduated three seniors from last
year's squad. Whether this season's
unit will be able to protect Anthony
long enough for him to release the
ball is one of the season's major
questions. Anthony was sacked six
times against Navy, five of them
coming in the first half.
But it will be a more exciting
team to watch, anyway. The Tar
Heels will finally have a decent
chance of going 80 yards with 90
seconds left in the game, if need
be, albeit with the increased chance
of having some interceptions
returned for easy TDs. Bombs
Coach: Dick Crum (55-25-2,
1984 Record: 5-5-1, 4th in
Offense: Multiple. Defense:
Key Losses: Eddie Colson, FB;
Ethan Horton.TB; Barry James,
DB; Larry James, DB; Brian
Johnston, C; Micah Moon, LB;
Greg Naron, OG; Bobby Pope,
Starters Returning: Offense
(6). Defense (6).
Key Returnees: Tommy
Barnhardt, P, Sr.; Dennis
Barron, DG, Jr.; Ron Burton,
DE, Jr.; Carl Carr, LB, Sr.;
William Humes, TB, Jr.; Eric
Lewis, WR, Soph.; Brad Lopp,
FB, Soph.; Kenny Miller, WR
K, Soph.; Dave Truitt, TE, Jr.
Prediction: Fourth in ACC.