The daily Tar Heel. (Chapel Hill, N.C.) 1946-current, September 12, 1985, Page 12, Image 12
4Football '85Thursday, September 12, 1985 o gihe hie ye U CD 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? Over." "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 responds. 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 instituted, oh-my-God-he's-dropping-back-again, wasn't-Mark-Maye-supposed-to-be-the-throwing-quarterback North Carol 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 Miller. 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 game. 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 remembered." 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 game." , 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, EDJly U MC slkoes nou $5 ....... ., miMr J!DKUi.i..in iiiimiiniiwwWMtMWlilni jmiih . , n L rl n hihuuil .. HM? Sfc iuiiiii.u f ' - ;VV fH : f (I ( ? w s if W N - -A j "M s ' V V V ;- vt - X V v-.-"V I 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 away. NORTH CAROLINA Coach: Dick Crum (55-25-2, 7 years) 1984 Record: 5-5-1, 4th in conference, 3-3-1. Offense: Multiple. Defense: Multiple. 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, OT. 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. (medical rs). Prediction: Fourth in ACC.