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Extra Points: Tar Tweets

Extra Points: Tar Tweets

by Lee Pace, GoHeels.com

CHAPEL HILL -- Extra Points was conceived in the summer of 1990 to provide an in-depth, behind-the-scenes look at Mack Brown's evolving program. This was long before the internet became mainstream, and the goal was to offer a colorful game story that was printed, mailed and delivered to subscribers' mailboxes by Wednesday. Four days lag time—can you imagine?  These missives have ranged upward of 2,500 words in the early days of the print version (a Venti cup at Starbucks) down toward 1,500 in recent years (more like a Grande).

There's an old saying in the writing game: I've written you a six-page letter. I would have written two, but I didn't have the time. The point being that brevity takes thought and effort. You work up a sweat weeding out the fat.

That's one reason I've been slow to embrace the world of Twitter. I need a hundred words just to get my pulse up, and they want a beginning, middle and end in 140 characters? Be serious. But old dogs must learn new tricks.

In recognition of my leap into the world of Twitter the last month and the company's initial public offering at the New York Stock Exchange this week, the Tar Heels' 45-14 smothering of Virginia is hereby encased in 140-character bites.

So grab a shot of espresso and follow along:

• Sign outside Sutton's Drug Store on Franklin Street welcomed customers to drop in as Tar Heel fans have been doing for 90 years.

• If you've never climbed the five flights up the Bell Tower and looked out the south windows into Kenan Stadium, do it next game.    

• From Virginian Pilot: "At the heart of college football's special appeal is atmosphere, something Chapel Hill has in abundance."

• A champion Pee Wee League coach from Charlotte named Dre Bly had weekend off and brought his kids and team to Chapel Hill.

Larry Fedora after Miami loss: "We're going to find a way to win football games. That's going to happen." Touché. Heels 3-0 since.

• Nice touch by QB Marquise Williams to wear Bryn Renner's jersey No. 2 as a tribute to the senior now sidelined for year.

• Renner got teary eyed when told of the plan. "I'm doing it for you because you were all I had as a 17-year-old puppy coming along."

• Williams' success this fall sprung from sitting out spring semester 2013 and losing the ability to play a game he'd taken for granted.

• "Bryn always told me I have to take the game more seriously. Last year I didn't really take it serious, not like I should have."

• Adds Blake Anderson: "Quise heard what everyone else heard, that Mitch Trubisky had a great spring. He knew he had a fight on his hands."

• Tar Heels set the tone on their opening possession: 48 yards rushing, 38 passing on 86-yard TD drive.

• "We had great tempo, great balance, converted some third downs, moved the chains," Anderson says.

A.J. Blue has been limited with assorted physical ailments but contributed two runs on that drive for 25 yards.

• He's active on third downs in helping O-line with pass protection, so a third-down handoff to him was perfect slight-of-hand.

• The Quinshad-to-Quise throwback pass for a 29-yard score had been planned for NC State but the right situation didn't develop.

• Would provide the name of that gadget play but it's based on some ribald locker room humor and probably best kept there.

• What made it work, though, was T.J. Thorpe's excellent post-route that suckered the cornerback and safety.

• Kevin Anthony caught and threw for TDs vs. UVa in 1984; Quise first ever to catch, throw and run for TD in one game.

• Carolina was five-for-five on third downs in the first quarter despite facing an average of 9.2 yards to gain. 

Ryan Switzer's punt return keyed on double-teams of two fastest Virginia cover guys. Once he broke that wave, clear sailing.

• Perfectionism at work: Asked at half about Switzer's TD, Fedora said, "Well, it didn't start very well with the muff."

• Fedora bragged on effort of special-teams crackerjack Mack Hollins for getting one block, then racing downfield for another.

• "I was so juiced up because it's my favorite return," Switzer says. "Thankfully, when the ball slipped through me, it bounced straight up."

• Heels roll from 21-0 start. Fedora: "We wanted to jump on them early and just kind of keep that foot on their neck the whole day."

• Offense committed to using freshman C Lucas Crowley down stretch. He spells LG Caleb Peterson, with Russell Bodine shifting to LG.

• Crowley result of Dan Disch's roots in Jax, Fla. and relationship with Shane Matthews, ex-UF QB who coached Crowley in high school.

• Wish I had a photo of the ear-to-ear smiles on faces of Switzer and Khris Francis after the latter scored his first collegiate TD.

• Switzer. Logan. Francis. Howard. Green. Davis. Schoettmer. Walker. Bart. Lots of freshmen and sophomores making plays.

• "It's exciting if you're a Tar Heel fan," Switzer says. "So many guys who are producing are going to be here a long time."

• We've seen Bug Howard go airborne for catches. But how about him juking a DB and leaving him for 15 more yards on drag route?

• "We might wake up one day and Bug's a 215-pound monster," Anderson says of the skinny WR. "He has a chance to be really, really special."

• Carolina had 201 yards rushing, 214 passing, much more in-line with 2012 offense that gained 194 a game on ground.

• "This was big for us, running the ball this effectively, because we haven't been doing that," Fedora says.

• And to think, Cincinnati among FBS schools was Dominique Green's best scholarship offer after 2012 semester at Hargrave Military.

• "Dom is one of those kids you don't worry about," Vic Koenning says. "The playbook, school work, going hard every day, he gets it."

• "Guys are coming out of the woodwork," Jabari Price says. "We have playmakers all over. The sky is the limit for the defense."

• Price is a film-room wonk and his study of UVa game tape helped him read and react to screen pass and nail receiver for seven-yard loss.

• Two nice corner blitzes by Tim Scott on consecutive UVa possessions early in the second quarter forced incompletions.

• Ten Virginia offensive possessions were snuffed in six plays or less. Just one touchdown against first-team defense.

• "We almost had the shut-out," Kareem Martin says. "But we had a lot of three-and-outs, and that's always fun."

• Terrific to see Shakeel Rashad back on the field after a quick recovery from what was thought to be a season-ending knee injury in August.

• Bandit spot hard-hit by injuries with Norkeithus Otis, Darius Lipford and Rashad all missing time with various issues.

• Another good day for punter Tommy Hibbard: six kicks for 41.5 yards and four fair catches. Heels No. 21 in nation in net punting.

• Heels haven't cracked the code on the Techs (Virginia and Georgia, respectively), but nice to win four straight over UVa, two over State.

• The Cavaliers, 0-6 in ACC, haven't lost seven straight since 1981, Dick Bestwick's last season as head coach.

• Speaking of Tweets, nice one from Eric Ebron noting Wolfpack's "Our State" campaign and losses to WF, UNC and Duke.

• And now on to Pitt. Last time there in 2000, Willie Parker scored on a splendid "fumble-rooskie" as the Heels nipped the Panthers 20-17.

• That game was in last two months of Three Rivers Stadium's existence. Excited at the idea of strolling sidelines at Heinz Field.

 

All right, that wasn't so hard. Laser focus and all that. But I still wonder what old Jim Shumaker, a hall of fame instructor and loveable curmudgeon in the UNC School of Journalism, would say about Twitter. Those who knew him can giggle along at the thought.

Chapel Hill writer Lee Pace (leepace7@gmail.com) is now in his 24th year writing "Extra Points" and 10th reporting from the sidelines for the Tar Heel Sports Network. His unique look at Tar Heel football will appear weekly throughout the fall. Follow him on Twitter @LeePaceTweet.