North Carolina Newspapers

    (Mfp Batin Uppl
Offense
Might Get
Some 'Pep'
Don’t be shocked if Julius Peppers
gets his mittens on the rock
tonight
Don’t be surprised at all.
All season, people have been talking
about Peppers’ getting a chance to show
his offensive stuff on the national stage.
Coaches, fans
and reporters.
The time has
come - tonight
on ESPN at No.
23 Georgia Tech
with Peppers now
in the Heisman
Trophy race.
Let’s examine
the facts.
Fact: Peppers
rushed for 3,501
MIKE OGLE
O.G.
yards and 46 touchdowns in high school.
Fact: Peppers is a beast. Not only
that, but he’s a beast with great hands,
as displayed in his three interceptions
and his skill on the hardwood.
Fact: Peppers is a semifinalist for the
Lombardi Award for the nation’s top
interior lineman. He’s a Nagurski Award
candidate as the nation’s top defender.
Those he doesn’t need help with, but
now he’s listed as one top-five Heisman
candidate by Sports Illustrated,
ESPN.com and The Sporting News.
Fact: Through eight games, Peppers
has 43 tackles (17 for loss), 8.5 sacks and
leads all linemen in the land in picks.
Fact: Can’t nobody hold him down.
Oh, no. He’s got to keep on moving.
Getting a chance to move the ball
on offense would skyrocket his stock.
Media relations offices pump lots of
dough into Heisman campaigns. Posters,
T-shirts, mouse pads and screen savers
galore are sent to voting sportswriters.
What is UNC doing? It started send
ing periodic postcards that mentioned
the Heisman part way through the sea
son. Mostly they tout him for the other
awards because defenders don’t win the
Heisman, no matter how dominant
There’s a reason the player on it is
cradling a ball. No purely defensive
player has ever won the 66-year-old
stiff-arm statue. Two linemen have won
- Notre Dame’s Leon Hart in 1949 and
Yale’s Larry Kelley in ’36. Both were
ends on both sides of the ball when they
were eligible to do more than block.
Comerback and ’97-winner Charles
Woodson is the closest comparison to
Peppers. Woodson made spectacular
plays, including eight picks, 44 tackles
(five for loss) and a sack for Michigan.
But being allowed to receive, run and
return punts pushed Woodson over the
edge. He even completed a pass
against Wisconsin. Woodson had four
touchdowns and 588 all-purpose yards.
According to ESPN.com, Peppers’
pick at Clemson was “the kind of play
you build a Heisman campaign around.”
In a sportsillustrated.cnn.com chat
Tuesday, Peppers addressed his offen
sive possibihtes: “The coaches have
been talking about trying to get me the
ball, but I’m not sure when they’re
going to add it to the game plan.
There’s been talk about it, but I don’t
know when it’s going to happen.”
So who does?
OG: Has Julius been attending run
ning backs meetings?
Running backs coach Andre Powell:
Julius Peppers? No. Nah.
OG: You don’t have any plans to
use him?
AP: He has not been in a running
backs meeting this year.
OG: He won’t be making any
appearances on the offensive side?
AP: I can’t say that I’ve got no com
ment on that You’ll have to wait and see.
OG: Why can’t you say?
AP: Because that’s just one of those
need-to-know-basis deals (laughing).
OG: So you’re saying it’s possible?
AP: I don’t have any comment on
that. Anything’s possible.
Now we go to tailback Andre Williams.
OG: Has Peppers been involved in
the running game in practice or meet
ings?
AW: No (laughing and looking
away). He hasn’t.
OG: He hasn’t?
AW: No, nuh uh (smiling).
OG: Why are you laughing?
AW: Because (smiling) I mean, I don’t
know. It’s funny (laughter continues).
OG: Any talk on the team?
AW: No (looking away).
OG: No?
AW: No (softly with eye contact).
OG: What would you think if that
happened?
AW: It’d be good (laughs) to see
Pep in there doing his thing.
OG: How do you think he would do?
AW: I think Pep would do good. He
ran the rock at Southern Nash High
School. He was a great tailback. I think
he’ll do good, a fine job back there. I
don’t think anybody can tackle him,
especially not one person.
Facts are facts.
Mike Ogle can be reached at
mogle@email.unc.edu.
Season's Future On Line for UNC, Ga. Tech
Game and time: North Carolina at
Georgia Tech. Kickoff is at 7:35 tonight.
Site: Bobby Dodd Stadium
TV/Radio: ESPN will provide nation
al coverage. The Tar Heel Sports Radio
Network will provide live radio coverage;
its flagship station is WCHL 1360 AM.
Records: North Carolina is 5-3, 4-1
in the ACC. Georgia Tech is 5-2,2-2.
Series: Georgia Tech leads 17-16-3.
Personnel Update: North Carolina
- QB Ronald Curry (left hamstring) is
probable. DT Will Chapman (left knee),
SS DeFonte Coleman (left shoulder)
and WR Isaiah Robinson (right knee)
are out for the season.
Georgia Tech - None reported.
The key matchup: The Tar Heels
have scored 30 or more points in con
secutive games. It’s no coincidence that
in the last two games they averaged
226.5 rushing yards and Andre
Williams compiled 238.
Williams, who made his first career
start against Florida State, has 493 yards
on 150 carries. No UNC back has
gained more than 534 yards since
Jonathan Linton had 1,004 in 1997.
Yes North Carolina, there is a run
ning game.
“I attribute it to everybody growing
up on offense and coming together as
one,” Williams said.
Running backs coach Andre Powell
agrees it has been a learning process.
“Everybody’s beginning to under
stand a little bit better the things we’re
trying to do,” Powell said. “When you
make big plays in the passing game, that
has a tendency to make people play a
little bit softer.”
Tonight, redshirt freshman quarterback
Dariant Durant, in his first start, will need
the running game to establish itself to take
some pressure off him in the pocket.
Just one problem. Georgia Tech sports
the ACC’s stingiest mshing and total
defenses, anchored by an imposing front
seven. The Yellow Jackets have allowed
more than 106 yards running once. They
also lead the conference with 28 sacks.
“They’re an active defense,” said
UNC coachjohn Bunting. “They make
you think. They make you work. The
key to any success we may have will be
to be able to control that front seven.”
Powell said Georgia Tech will make
his players’ jobs difficult because there
will often be unblocked defenders. But
they’ll have to overcome the swarming
Jackets in spite of that.
“They crowd the ball. They make it
hard for you to run," Powell said. “We’re
going lo take what the defense gives us.”
Final analysis/prediction: It’s all
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on the line as college football’s spotlight
shines on Bobby Dodd Stadium tonight.
UNC needs this win to have a serious
chance at the ACC tide and a BCS bowl
The Lowdown on Tonight's Game
North Carolina Tar Heels at rlfeS?
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (C^~§t
(5-3,4-1 in the ACC) Bobby Dodd Stadium, 7:35 p.m. (5-2,2-2 in the ACC)
Head to Head
U NC's Rush Greg Gathers et al stuff the box and allow 102.6
Tech's rushing yards per game. UNC hasn't proven it's HEck,
s. eens consistent enough to win this battle, but coming (f'jSjPjW
Front Seven: c | ose cou |d be enough. Edge: Georgia Tech. v^J)
UNC's Pass VS. Quarterback Darian Durant won't be rattled in
Tech's * l ' s ** rst career start ' wont ave t 0 t 0
_ , struggle against the conference's second-best
Secondary pass defense. Edge: Georgia Tech,
Tech's Rush Jac^ets rus^out °f necessity led by Joe Bums’
UNC's 89.9 yards. The Tar Heels stuff runners like it's
’ ' their jobs and no doubt remember the number
Front Seven: Burns’ pulled on them last year. Edge: UNC.
Tech's Pass Both teams rank atop the ACC and 19th in the
UNC's nation in these respective categories. If George
’ , Godsey's line can buy him any time, he'll pick
Secondary UNC's secondary apart. Edge: Georgia Tech.
Tech ranks above UNC in punting, PAT kicking,
Special kickoff returns and kickoff coverage. Junior 'Sit:'
Teams Luke Manget has never missed a PAT in 118 //''jSjDgJ
tries an ACC record. Edge: Georgia Tech,
The Bottom Line UNC 20, Georgia Tech 17
COMPILED BY MIKE OGli
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Sports
berth.
“This game has great ramifications,”
Bunting said. “The loser of this game
probably is out.”
Bunting recently had his 1971 ACC
championship ring resized and is now
wearing it in place of his Super Bowl
ring. He said a lot of his players have
wanted to touch it.
In order to get their own rings to wear,
the Tar Heels also will have to stifle the
Jackets’ George Godsey, Kelly Campbell
and Joe Bums. Godsey and Campbell
form a potent pass-and-catch combo, and
Bums scored four touchdowns and ran
for 123 against UNC last year.
Bunting compared Georgia Tech’s
complex offense to what former offensive
coordinator Ralph Friedgen took to
Maryland. UNC held the Terrapins to 276
yards and 23 points despite a 0-3 turnover
margin. They average 440.2 and 35.4.
“They’re going to try to establish their
running game first to open up the passing
game,” said defensive end Julius Peppers.
“That’s our main thing on defense to first
stop the run and make them pass. Then
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First Round: 4pm, Francis E. Henry Stadium
Women’s Basketball
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HHP Building, Room 221-A
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Bring prepared audition for all talents.
Call: 800-253-3302
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Thursday, November 1,2001
if we get them in passing situations, with
the blitz packages that we’ve got and our
defensive line, I think we’re good enough
to get pressure on the passing game.”
The Tar Heels proved they can shut
down potent offenses against FSU and
Clemson. They’re coming off their first
bye week since the week before the
upset against the Seminoles and have
made it difficult to bet against them.
“I don’t know what’s normal about
the game of football,” Bunting said. “All
you have to do is watch games every
week. There’s nothing normal about it at
all. It starts with the shape of the football
itself. Anything can happen any week.”
UNC is 3-0 in ESPN Thursday night
games. Tech is 6-6. The last time UNC
defeated Tech was a Thursday night 16-
13 decision on the road in 1997. Expect
another defensive battle of like outcome.
UNC 20, Georgia Tech 17
Compiled by Mike Ogle
9
    

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