Posted by Chip Patterson
Sunday was dedicated to the players at the ACC Football Kickoff. Two representatives from each of the 12 schools made their rounds with the media. This was my takeaway from North Carolina
Questions regarding the ongoing NCAA case were impossible to avoid at the ACC Football Kickoff for North Carolina, but since we're here to talk about the 2011 season it was nice to get some actual football talk from Butch Davis' two representatives here at Pinehurst. Jonathan Cooper has been a pivotal part of the offensive line since he arrived at Chapel Hill, and with more health and experience than ever he thinks this could be their best unit yet. One of the first tasks for the group is opening holes for running back Ryan Houston. Houston redshirted last season after initially sitting out because of the NCAA investigation. The return of the big back has Cooper and his teammates excited for the rushing attack in 2011.
"It's very, very exciting, Cooper explained. "I definitely look forward to running the ball on 3rd and 2. I don't want to run play-action and I don't want to drop back and pass. I want to pound the ball, I think that's the sign of a good offensive line: when you can impose your will. With a good, big back, it'll help a lot to do that."
Earlier this week, Butch Davis identified the offensive and defensive line as the team's strengths heading into camp. One fresh face to the defensive line is transfer defensive tackle Sylvester Williams. Williams is rooming with defensive tackle Tydreke Powell in Chapel Hill. Powell opened up and shared an interesting story about his new roommate and teammate.
"[Williams] is going to be one of the top D-tackles in the country," Powell boasted about his roomy. "When he first got here, we weren't rooming together. I was staying at my fiance then. He called me on Saturday at 8 o'clock [in the morning] and I asked him 'What's up' - I thought something was wrong. He was like 'Come on man, let's go work. We can't get better and we can't be the best d-tackles in the country if we're not working on Saturdays cause everybody else is resting.'
"I knew right then when he called and told me that I knew he was going to be a big force for us. That work ethic is something serious."
Williams and Powell will anchor the middle of North Carolina's defensive line along with Jordan Nix. Powell also shared that the greatest inspiration for him on the field has not been any of the top ranked NFL talent that has come before him, but his two children.