Tomorrow is the Belk Bowl in which the Cincinnati Bearcats face off against the North Carolina Tar Heels. In anticipation of the game, I reached out to Bryant Douglass (@bryantdouglass) who runs the FanSided UNC site Keeping It Heel (@KeepingItHeel) to get the inside scoop on UC’s opponent.
1) North Carolina went 6-6 this season but finished strong, winning five of their last six. How would you evaluate the Tar Heels’ performance this year?
Carolina had a tough schedule this season, ranking among the toughest in the country. Considering the obstacles we’ve faced, I’m proud if what this team accompanied. However there are three games we lost and shouldn’t have. Overall, I expect more next season even with another tough schedule.
2) What is the strength of the team? Offense or defense?
Offense hands down! Defense struggled all season long with closing games out. However even without a strong running game the combination of Bryn Renner and Marquise Williams was dangerous and with Williams at the helm, that dual threat will poise a challenge for any team.
3) On offense, the Tar Heels overcame some adversity after losing Bryn Renner for the season but Marquise Williams appears equally adept at running the offense. What abilities does he bring to UNC that was maybe lacking in Renner?
Renner was a pro style quarterback and despite not fitting Fedoras offense, played well in it. Williams fits the offense very well and knows how it works. He’s good on short yardage third downs and knowing when to scramble for it with the receivers being covered. Renner never seemed comfortable scrambling and that showed when he took the hit against nc state.
4) I’m really not looking forward to watching Cincinnati’s secondary go up against Eric Ebron and Quinshad Davis. To be blunt, why are they so darn dangerous?
Speed, awareness, and athleticism! Plain and simple!
5) On defense, how besides encasing Kareem Martin’s feet in cement and chaining his arms to the ground does any offensive line try to stop him?
If you don’t try, then it shows a lack of confidence in yourself as a player and team. He’s tough but you have to try. Coaches want effort out of their players. Clowney was over hyped when UNC played them and James Hurst made him look like a fool!
6) Who else on defense should the Bearcats be mindful of as we head into this game?
Jeff Schoettmer: he walked on and is playing just as good if not better than anyone on the defensive side f the ball. He’s underrated and full of potential. I expect him to have a big year next season.
7) Anyone on special teams we should be aware of?
Ryan Switzer. My advice is for Cincy not to punt to him but if they do, they better have coverage ready to bring him down. He’s fast so they’ll need speed to get to him first.
8) What’s your prediction for this game?
Obviously this will seem biased but with the line and other predictions I’ve seen I’m going with UNC 31 – Cincy 17!