It’s a soggy afternoon down in Atlanta for ACC football between Georgia Tech and North Carolina, but that has not been enough to slow the Tar Heels down in the first half. North Carolina has built a 20-14 lead.
Bryn Renner has thrown for 178 yards and two touchdowns and his receivers have dropped a handful of passes as well. Perhaps the weather conditions are playing a factor in to the production. Romar Morris has rushed for 32 yards and a touchdown to lead North Carolina’s offense and the Tar Heel defense has done well to not allow Georgia Tech to find a rhythm.
North Carolina wasted little tim in opening the scoring with a touchdown on the game’s opening possession. Morris capped a quick six-play drive with a four-yard touchdown run to the left side of the field, but North Carolina failed to convert a two-point conversion attempt. The lead was expanded to 13-0 following a Renner touchdown pass to tight end Eric Ebron.
Georgia Tech finally got on the scoreboard early in the second quarter when David Sims barely cross the goal line before losing grip on the football. Sims had just crossed the goal line as the ball popped loose and was scooped up by North Carolina. The initial ruling was touchdown and a video review determined there was conclusive enough evidence to overturn the call. Ultimately it appears the right call was made but it was very close to being a punch-to-the-gut moment for the Yellow Jackets. If the ball had been ruled a fumble, the turnover likely would have upheld because the replay was so close either way. Down 13-0 at the time, not punching one in from the goal line would have left a very empty feeling for the home team.
Renner scrambled to keep a play alive inside the red zone on the ensuing possession and found Sean Tapley for another touchdown. Georgia Tech picked up a critical touchdown late in the half to cut in to the lead and maybe even flip the momentum in their favor. The Tar Heels could not get off the field on a third and long around midfield and Georgia Tech quarterback Vad Lee connected with Darren Waller for a 21-yard touchdown over the middle of the field. Lee has only attempted nine passes, which is typical of a Paul Johnson offense, but he has completed five of them for 82 yards and a touchdown.
The game doesn’t feel as though it should be as close as it is at the half, but credit to Georgia Tech for not going away at the end of the half. If North Carolina can pull this one out they will make a huge statement in the ACC Coastal Division, but right now Georgia Tech is in solid position to come back as well.
As we continue our annual plunge into the offseason, the East Carolina football program is the latest FBS school that has an off-field issue with which to deal.
According to multiple media outlets in the area, ECU offensive lineman Cortez Herrin was arrested late Saturday night on a pair of charges. Herrin is facing one felony count of possession with the intent to sell or distribute. He’s also facing a misdemeanor charge of possession of marijuana paraphernalia.
The details of what led up to the arrest haven’t yet been divulged.
What is known is that the East Carolina football program has suspended the starting lineman as the situation begins to make its way through the legal system.
“We are aware of the matter concerning Cortez Herrin,” East Carolina football head coach Mike Houston said in a statement. “He has been suspended indefinitely from all football activities as we continue to gather information.”
When healthy, Herrin has been a part-time or full-time starter at left guard for ECU the past three seasons.
In 2018, Houston started all 12 games for the Pirates. He made five starts in 2017 as well. A knee injury in 2019 helped limit him to five starts.
The news of Herrin’s arrest comes amidst an upheaval in Houston’s coaching staff.
Once again, the Indiana Hoosiers football coaching staff is whole.
Sunday afternoon, the Hoosiers announced the additions of two assistant coaches for Tom Allen. Jason Jones will serve as safeties coach, while Kevin Wright will coach tight ends.
Allen and Jones have a prior working relationship, having served on the same coaching staff at Ole Miss.
“I have so much respect for Jason,” the Indiana Hoosiers football head coach said in a statement. “I was fortunate to work with him for two seasons at Ole Miss. He has worked in the SEC and the Big 12, and he was a part of one of the top defenses in the country last year. Jason’s a great football coach and is the kind of husband, father and man I want in this program.”
Last year, Jones was the cornerbacks coach at Florida Atlantic.
“I am so thankful to Coach Allen for giving me the opportunity to be a part of this great staff,” Jones said. “IU impressed me so much last season, and I can’t wait to contribute to even more success. I am excited and ready to get to work.”
Wright is a 20-year coaching veteran, with 13 of those years in the state of Indiana and the last five at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.
“I’ve known Kevin for many, many years” Allen said. “He’s been one of the most successful high school coaches in the country and has done a tremendous job working with some of the top talent in the country at IMG. Kevin allows us to expand our recruiting base and continue our success in the state of Florida. He’s a great fit for our program in so many ways, and we are excited to welcome Kevin and his family to IU.”
These hirings came a month after a new seven-year deal for Allen was announced.
The North Carolina football program is the latest to dip into the FCS ranks for some talent. Placekicker talent, but still.
Sunday afternoon, the North Carolina football program announced that Grayson Atkins is transferring to the Tar Heels. Atkins spent the past three seasons at Furman.
According to UNC, Atkins will graduate from the FCS school in the spring. He’ll then join the North Carolina football program in the summer.
As a graduate transfer, Atkins will have one season of eligibility remaining.
Below are Atkins’ particulars, as relayed by UNC’s release:
An Inman, S.C. native, Atkins converted on 33-of-41 field goal attempts and 132-of-138 PAT attempts during his three seasons at Furman. He earned first-team All-America honors as a junior and second-team honors as a sophomore. Atkins was also named All-Southern Conference twice. His 231 career points rank 10th on Furman’s career scoring list and fifth on the kick scoring list. Combining the end of his junior season and the beginning of his senior season, Atkins made 18 consecutive field goals, which is a Furman and Southern Conference record.
As a junior in 2019, Atkins earned first-team AFCA FCS Coaches’ All-America honors to go along with All-America honors form the Associated Press and STATS FCS. He converted on 13-of-15 field goal attempts and 48-of-50 PATs. Atkins made all six field-goal attempts under 40 yards and went 7-of-9 on attempts from 40 or more yards including a 55-yarder. In addition to his first-team All-SoCon honors as a placekicker, Atkins earned second-team accolades as a punter after averaging 43.5 yards per punt.
This past season, sophomore Noah Ruggles made all 45 of his extra-point attempts for the Tar Heels. He also hit on just 19 of his 27 field-goal attempts.
This development involving a now-former Florida Gators football player flew under our radar last week, so we’ll rectify that with an early-morning post to start this work week.
Chris Bleich started eight of the first nine games at right guard for Florida this past season, with the lone start he missed being due to blisters on his foot. However, the redshirt freshman had begun to lose playing time due to performance even as he maintained the starting job in name.
With his grip on the position loosening, though, Bleich decided to take his leave of the Gators in early November. Florida Gators football head coach Dan Mullen subsequently confirmed the departure. Mullen also confirmed that unspecified family issues at home triggered the decision.
In the latest Bleich development, Syracuse announced late this past week that the lineman has been added to the Orange’s roster. In its release, the football program stated that “Bleich must sit out the 2020 season due to NCAA transfer regulations unless granted immediate eligibility.”
It’s expected that Bleich will seek a waiver from the NCAA that would allow him to play this coming season.
Bleich was a three-star member of Florida’s 2018 recruiting class, rated as the No. 13 player at any position in the state of Pennsylvania. The 6-6, 330-pound lineman played in just four games as a true freshman, and was able to preserve a year of eligibility by taking a redshirt that season.
If Bleich is granted a waiver, he’ll have three seasons to play three years. If not, he’ll sit out 2020 and then have two years of eligibility starting in 2021.