Local News

UNC Football Ready to Run into the 1999 Season

Posted Updated

GREENSBORO — North Carolina was picked fourth in the recently released ACC preseason poll. The Heels return seven starters on offense and four on defense, but they will have a hurdle to jump to avoid another rocky start.

Over the past decade, North Carolina has been known as a defensive team. This year though, the Heels might be downright offensive, especially since Ronald Curry returns as quarterback. Last year, Curry came off the bench to showcase his talents and gain big-time experience.

"Curry is the starter this year, he's the leader of the team, he's the guy that everybody is going to have to follow this year," says UNC linebacker Brandon Spoon.

Only four starters return on defense with Spoon putting up the most weight as the centerpiece linebacker. He is the ACC's leading returning tackler.

"I feel like if he stays healthy, he'll go down as one of the all-time great linebackers in Carolina history," says UNC coach Carl Torbush. "He could be a top-round draft choice, and if we have a good football season, he has a chance to be an All-American."

Last year, the Heels started 0-3, but rallied to appear in and win the Las Vegas Bowl. Returning players know they must have a better start in 1999.

"No matter who it was, I mean we could play a high school team, and we would want to win our opener," Spoon said.

Torbush also wants to avoid another rocky start like last year, but it will be difficult. The Heels first-half schedule has them opening against Virginia at home, then it's off to Indiana, back home against Florida State, then on the road at Clemson and Georgia Tech.