This morning I sat in with Michael Felder, former North Carolina defensive back and purveyor of the always entertaining In The Bleachers, for an ITB podcast. After beating around the bush by talking about other bowls for a while, we get down to brass tacks regarding UNC-Mizzou.
- Mike says North Carolina has not necessarily been a fast-starting team this year, though I do have to say that they might start quickly in this one thanks to "Let's Win It For Coach" factor (interim coach and former defensive coordinator Everett Withers is coaching his final game before Larry Fedora takes over, as is much of his staff). They will be highly motivated, though as I point out, to beat Missouri you have to maintain a decent level of play for a full four quarters.
- North Carolina has some serious skill position talent in accurate quarterback Bryn Renner, exciting running back Giovani Bernard and explosive receiver Dwight Jones. As I mention, Mizzou has been able to account for No. 1 weapons relatively well, but if UNC's No. 3 receiver -- someone like former blue-chip Mizzou target Jheranie Boyd -- can take advantage of Missouri's lack of depth (and occasionally iffy nickel coverage), then they could be in business.
- According to the numbers, both offenses have an advantage over the opposing defense. Mike says UNC's front seven is solid, but there are major holes in the secondary. Without Henry Josey, it will be interesting to see how Mizzou chooses to attack. They have been a run-first team this year, but that plays into UNC's strengths.
Anyway, listen to the whole thing. It was a nice, informative conversation, and it provides a bit of context for me in writing the big BTBS preview later in the week.