Well folks, it’s here. Late September, instead of our usual early November meeting, but it’s here nonetheless.
On Saturday, that school from eight miles down the road is going to march into Kenan and try to bring our boys down. Sure, we’re dealing with some injuries, but this is our time.
On Tuesday night during my 7 on 7 intramural game, I likened myself to a UNC trench-man, blitzing on every down, making Daniel Jones’ life a living hell. While this was just a vicarious fantasy, it spurred an idea from Turner Walston.
What if UNC basketball could pick seven players from the last 25 years —believe me, I could make a team from the last four years alone, but let’s stretch this thing out for the thrill — to play Duke football’s best seven in a recreational game of flag football? Could they pull it out?
I’m not sure where you stand on this, but I think this combination of players I’ve selected could stand a fighting chance.
We need at least eight subs — this is a basketball team after all — because it can get extremely tiring playing both sides of the ball. Trust me, I’m a renaissance man on my flag team, and I search for an oxygen tank each time the whistle blows.
I’m looking at a modified shotgun formation, with two linemen, one TE that plays on the line, and two spread out wide. Any lineman can go out for a pass at any time, so I’m looking for athletes.
Like any college intramural team, the coaches will also be players. I want my coaching staff focused, so they will not be on the roster. They'll have enough on their hands with the x's and o's.
Head Coach: Kendall Marshall
Offensive Coordinator: Luke Maye
Defensive Coordinator: Joel Berry II
Marshall was the ultimate floor general at UNC. He's got eyes to see the whole field. His play calling and leadership will be a vital part of the team.
Maye is our OC. His dad, Mark, played quarterback for UNC in the 80's, and Luke himself grew up playing quarterback. He knows offense.
Berry is our defensive mind. He publicly expresses his fandom of good football, specifally Alabama. This made him an easy choice to scheme this Tar Heel defense.
QB: Kanler Coker Marcus Paige
RB: Ty Lawson Theo Pinson
WR: Jesse Holley Ronald Curry
WR: David Noel Vince Carter/Marvin Williams
TE: Julius Peppers Tyler Hansbrough
OL: Rasheed Wallace Brendan Haywood
C: Eric Montross Antawn Jamison
LE: Julius Peppers Brendan Haywood
RE: Eric Montross Antawn Jamison
SPY: Jesse Holley Marvin Williams
MLB: Tyler Hansbrough Vince Carter
CB: Ronald Curry Jerry Stackhouse
CB: David Noel Theo Pinson
FS: Vince Carter Antawn Jamison
WR OL C TE WR
A couple former football players make this easy, most notably Kanler Coker. Coker is a supreme athlete — and played QB on the Tar Heel football team— and gives the Tar Heel offense a huge advantage in the pass-heavy game of flag football. Marcus Paige serves as backup to give the team wildcat look, should the situation present itself.
Two uber-athletes at wide receiver just pad this aerial advantage. Jesse Holley and David Noel are a perfect pair. Holley is a trained route runner on the gridiron, and can handle the short gains and possession, while Noel is our game breaker.
The option play-call will be in full effect with Lawson in the backfield. Getting the ball to him on bubble screens and sweeps will be huge. If coordinator Maye can find ways to get him space, he'll be able to utilize his speed and easily find pay dirt.
He shouldn’t have too much trouble getting to the outside with Peppers, Wallace and Montross clearing a path. Three big bodies who are going to compete for a full 60 minutes. Intangibles in the trenches. All three of them give UNC the trick play ability, where Lawson can take a pitch, and have a pass option should Duke bring the house on a blitz.
Defensively, this team may not allow a touchdown. Led by Peppers' skill and Montross' size, quarterbacks will have a hard time throwing the ball over the hands of a huge line.
Dropping back one level, the linebacking core of Hansbrough and Holley is sure to give the receivers fits on short routes. I fully expect Psycho T to lead the team in tackles. Guy has a motor you just can’t teach.
The cornerback combo of Curry and Noel again pairs skill and athleticism. Curry knows plays and formations from his time as a receiver and quarterback and can surely jump some routes for interceptions. If Curry can lock it up enough to force third and long, I'm sure Coach Berry will allow Noel some freedom to use his freak athleticism to make some plays.
I don't think I have to explain free safety. Winning a jump ball against Vince Carter? Not happening.
Depth will be a key on the roster, boasting a bench filled with guys who are going to be key contributors in our game. I fully expect Williams and Stackhouse to come away with big plays. These are two guys that have delivered two of the most clutch shots in UNC history against Duke; they know how to approach this game.
Haywood is the body we need, the perfect backup. Just enough mobility, hands and size to really make an impact for us. Pinson is another weapon coming off the bench. He will be fully expected to get a ton of snaps on both offense and defense. Coach Marshall made it clear how he intends to utilize Pinson's abilities — he's the X-Factor.
Now that we have our roster set, let's take a look at the game recap, shall we? UNC vs. Duke, Friday night lights.
Final score: UNC 49 Duke 42
Chapel Hill, NC - It was a tight one on Hooker Fields Friday night, but the Tar Heels were able to emerge victorious over Duke 49-42, as Theo Pinson’s late interception sealed the game.
UNC quarterback Kanler Coker was 22-30 on the night, tossing four touchdowns — one each to David Noel and Julius Peppers and two to Vince Carter. Carter was able to beat the secondary consistently on the night, running deep routes on each of his seven offensive snaps.
Lawson looked good out of the backfield, showcasing premier speed and elite cut moves. He finished with six carries for 45 yards and a score, while also adding five catches for 23 yards and a score. His touchdown reception came on an end-around pass from Marcus Paige in the wildcat, a brilliantly executed play.
A pick-six from Tyler Hansbrough completed the Tar Heel scoring.
"It was a tight one, but I always knew we had it in us. The defense played great, while the offense did their job," said head coach Kendall Marshall, probably.
There it is, the ultimate Tar Heel flag team.
Comment below and let us know who you think should've made the squad, and maybe even who'd suit up for the Blue Devils!