Digital Headbutt

A sports blog about stuff…stuff that involves things.

Archive for the ‘North Carolina’ Category

College Basketball is Finally Upon Us

Posted by Mike on November 9, 2007

Two of my favorite events have made an official return this week. The first is Man vs. Wild…

…and the other is college basketball.



Photo courtesy of the greatest photoshop thread in history.

It finally dawned on me when Marco of Storming the Floor (formerly of Just Call Me Juice) asked me to write a team preview for North Carolina. As you are well aware, I never turn down the opportunity to spread the gospel of the Tar Heels, so I accepted the offer to write there, as well as an article before Wednesday’s UNC opener vs. Davidson for the folks at We Rite Goode. After another football season, I will enjoy seeing my alma mater at #1. But even more than that, I will enjoy the ability to make fun of Duke anew. Yes, college basketball is coming, and I can’t wait.

Super Awesome Team Previews: #1 North Carolina



Posted in #1, ACC, AHHHHH!!! MY EYES!, College Basketball, Dook, EAT IT! EAT IT!, North Carolina, Scheyerface, Tar Heels | 4 Comments »

UNC 2007 Football Season In a Nutshell: The Drummers of Spinal Tap

Posted by Mike on November 2, 2007

(Note: This was originally posted on Tar Heel Mania.)

As of right now, UNC has the title of “most excusable 2-6 team in the nation”. However, it really has been difficult to categorize this exciting, yet frustrating year. It’s much easier to characterize our losses than the season as a whole, and with the magic of the Internet, I’ve stumbled upon something comparable: the ill-fated drummers of Spinal Tap.

This is exactly where UNC is this season: on the cusp of success, but always losing under bizarre and mysterious circumstances (most of which are their own doing).

ECU and Virginia games: “Bizarre gardening accidents.”


The game at East Carolina was the first time the Tar Heels faced a division I-A offense, and it showed. Patrick Pinkney had a field day against the Carolina secondary, on route to over 400 passing yards. However, UNC’s offense was able to keep pace, and had the ball in a 31-31 game, in ECU territory, with less than two minutes left.

This is where things got out of hand. First, Yates fumbled the second down snap. Then, on 3rd and 4 from the 34, UNC have the ball to tailback Johnny White, who was stopped for no gain and set up a 51 yard field goal attempt. The snap was good, but Ryan Bauchom completely botched the hold, he had to fall on the ball. East Carolina regained possession near midfield with 53 seconds left, and eventually won on a last second field goal of their own, ironically after their kicker had missed his last 3 attempts.

Against Virginia, one of the plays that prevented us from winning the game was the 4th quarter interception by defensive lineman Chris Long, which eventually set up the game winning field goal. The Cavaliers did not always put pressure on T.J. Yates in the second half, but the entire game the defensive line managed to bat down passes at the line of scrimmage. On one such play, Chris Long managed to deflect the ball to himself, catch it, and run 30 yards the other way into field goal range. Julius Peppers is the only player I can recall who was able to make such a play in college. it was simply unbelievable.

The way we lost our first two games were so bizarre that we may never again see the Tar Heels lose in quite the same way.

Virginia Tech and South Carolina games: “You can’t really dust for vomit.”


The Tar Heels had kept each of these games close, but had allowed teh game to slip away due to their own very-ill-timed mistakes.

Against Virginia Tech, North Carolina was well into the third quarter, only trailing 10-3 and driving to score. Ryan Houston had played a solid game up to this point at tailback, and Carolina was faced with a second a goal at the 5. Houston got the ball and was stopped at the line, but the ball was propelled out of his hands and into the end zone, where Virginia Tech recovered. Not long afterwards, T.J. Yates, having just gotten out of terrible field position, threw a pass that deflected off of Kenton Thornton’s fingertips and into the hands of Xavier Adibi, who returned the interception to the 3 yard line and set a up Brandon Ore’s game-winning touchdown. Without those turnovers, UNC wins the game.

The South Carolina game was even more self-sabotage. For example, Quan Sturdivant had recoverd a Mike Davis Fumble at the SC 15 yard line, and the UNC offense quickly proceeded to throw away their golden opportunity; sack, holding penalty, uncontested rush to the left side, ill-advised throw under pressure, easy interception. The Joe Dailey trick play pick was just as inexplicable. (The one pass they let him throw all year and it’s an interception. Go figure.) A few other missed opportunities, such as Greg Little’s two dropped touchdown passes in the fourth quarter, would have almost certainly changed the outcome of the game.

Certainly we had help along the way with these two games, but for the most part, we were responsible for our own demise.

South Florida and Wake Forest games: “You know, dozens of people spontaneously combust each year. It’s just not really widely reported.”




These were two games in which the Heels screwed up in just about every way possible (and ironically, both 37-10 losses). Carolina did a good job of keeping it under control for the middle of the game, but the team fell apart in spectacular fashion at the beginning and end of each of these contests. By the time it was over, all that was left of them was “a little green globule”.

Any future losses in 2007: “Well, I’m sure I’d feel much worse if I weren’t under such heavy sedation. “


With four games left in the 2007 season, absolutely nothing should surprise us about this team. We have shown signs of promise in nearly every game we’ve played. More than 50 of the 84 players on our roster had never played a down of college football until this season. The Tar Heels have a nucleus of talented young players (42 true or redshirt freshmen), most of whom will be suiting up in 2008, 2009, and even 2010. This team will be very good, very soon. However, our inexperience makes pretty much every game a crapshoot; we cannot truly claim to know what will happen. So, losses to Maryland or Georgia Tech shouldn’t get your blood boiling too much.

The Duke game, of course, is when we make it big in Japan.

Posted in ACC, AHHHHH!!! MY EYES!, College Football, Nihongo ga hanasemasu ka?, North Carolina, Stuff That Involves Things, Tar Heel Mania, This Post Goes To Eleven, UNC, Way More Tags Than This Post Merits | Leave a Comment »

Games To Watch: College Football Week 5

Posted by Mike on September 29, 2007

  • UNC at #17 Virginia Tech (12:00 ET, R/LF Sports): As with all UNC games, I’ll be live blogging this on Tar Heel Mania. UNC has to play well on defense from the beginning (so as not to play from behind), and not turn the ball over if they want any real chance in their ACC road opener.
  • #6 Cal at #11 Oregon (3:30 ET, ABC): Both of these teams average over 40 points per game. It’ll be an exciting game to watch, and the winner of this game will likely be the team to challenge USC for the Pac-10 title.
  • #13 Clemson at Georgia Tech (3:30 ET, ABC): Georgia Tech has two tough conference losses facing the undefeated Tigers. But this is exactly the kind of situation where Tommy Bowden teams begin to lose winnable games.
  • #22 Alabama at Florida State (5:00 ET, CBS): Wow that was fast. Deity Nick Saban loses one overtime game, and already the Bammer faithful want him fired.
  • #1 USC at Washington (8:00 ET, ABC): Both of USC’s losses last year were on the road against Pac-10 opponents. But unless freshman QB Jake Locker has the game of his life, Washington has little chance.
  • Auburn at #4 Florida (8:00 ET, ESPN): Florida is likely looking for revenge after Auburn handed them their only loss of 2006 at Jordan-Hare Stadium. With Auburn’s offense struggling, the Gators will likely blowout the Tigers.

Posted in ACC, AHHHHH!!! MY EYES!, College Football, football, Live Blog, NCAA, North Carolina, Pac 10, SEC | Leave a Comment »

Games To Watch: College Football Week 4

Posted by Mike on September 22, 2007

  • UNC at #23 USF (12 ET, ESPN): I’ll be live-blogging this game over at Tar Heel Mania. This game features two of the NCAA’s best underclassman Quarterbacks, UNC’s T.J. Yates and USF’s Matt Grothe.
  • #3 Florida at Ole Miss (12:30 ET): You might think that Florida will blow away the Rebels, but Ed Orgeron has the perfect game plan this week.
  • #12 South Carolina at #2 LSU (3:30 ET, CBS): Steve Spurrier. Les Miles. Hilarity, and great football, shall ensue.
  • #10 Penn State at Michigan (3:30 ET, ABC): For the Wolverines, the real season is about to begin. They’ve got a chip on their shoulder, and the Nittany Lions haven’t played anyone. But I have a question for Michigan: What kind of freaky stuff between the sheets do you have to do with NCAA President Myles Brand to play your first four games at home and eight home games in a season?
  • #21 Kentucky at Arkansas (6 ET, ESPN2): For Arkansas, they’re in desperate need for a marquee win after their offseason turmoil. For Kentucky…holy crap, Kentucky is ranked?



Posted in ACC, AHHHHH!!! MY EARS!, AHHHHH!!! MY EYES!, Big East, Big Ten, College Football, Florida Gators, Live Blog, North Carolina, SEC, Tar Heel Mania, Tar Heels | 1 Comment »

Get Ready For Football, With The Decleater!

Posted by Mike on August 28, 2007

The college football season is finally upon us. The long sports winter has finally come to an end! The mere prospect of real, meaningful football has gotten me excited for the past week. This past Tuesday, the first day of school at UNC, I had not taken twenty steps onto campus before saying “hey” to Joe Dailey (what I should have said was “interception!”). I then headed straight for Kenan Stadium, one of the best college stadiums in America (to watch a football game? not so much lately…but that will change soon enough).

Looking onto the field began the synapses in my head, and my mind began racing with anticipation of this Saturday. Still, I think we all need a real adrenaline rush to get us pumped up before the college football season. So this post is dedicated to the single greatest play in all of football: the decleater. A hit so hard that it knocks your opponent clean off his feet.



Why is it this game’s greatest play? Because it works on so many levels. The mere hit acts as a simple but effective means of physical intimidation on your opponent for the rest of the game. When a receiver gets knocked to the turf by a safety, he’s going to think twice about running a route in the middle of the field. When a defender is decleated on a huge block, he knows to keep his head on a swivel for the rest of the game. When a running back runs you over, it could ruin you psychologically for an entire season. And when the home team delivers a big decleater, everyone watching the game notices, jumps out of their seats, and cheers their lungs out. It can be the ultimate home field advantage.

Not a single play in football, not even a touchdown, is more motivating than a bone-crushing hit. Before we begin the season anew, we must pay homage. And what better way to do that than a huge supply of YouTube decleaters?

We’ll start with some big defensive hits:

What’s better that a decleating hit on defense? A bone-crushing block on offense!

This one is special because it’s a quarterback who make the huge block, and he drills two guys:

The best decleaters, however, have to be the ones delivered by running backs on unsuspecting defensive backs. And in college, few were better at it than Florida State’s Greg Jones.

This final hit I was (un?)fortunate enough to see live, in Kenan Stadium. It was the first game of the 2003 season, August 30th. The last time my Tar Heels met the Seminoles in Chapel Hill, we destroyed them 41-9 for Bunting’s first career win en route to a six-game winning streak and an 8-5 record in 2001, including a Peach Bowl victory over Auburn. After that the last of Mack’s recruits left, and the bottom fell out in 2002. Still, we had UNC’s best-ever QB in Darian Durant, who had been hurt for most of the previous year. So I was somewhat optimistic that Coach Bunting could turn things around in 2003. (By the way: to those of you cursing out UNC’s QB situation from last year, I have one name for you: C.J. Stephens. Just the thought of him under center will keep me awake tonight.)

Any hope I had for that season was destroyed on this play.

Ugh. Not very good memories. I need to cleanse my palate a bit:

That’s better. Okay, NOW I’m ready to greet this season the right way, and I hope that this helpd you to get ready as well.

Posted in AHHHHH!!! MY EYES!, Big blocks, College Football, Florida State, football, Get Pumped!, NCAA, North Carolina, Patriotism at its finest, Tar Heels, The Decleater, This is why the Internet was invented, Videos, what is this hyperbole of which you speak? | 10 Comments »

Previewing the College World Series Final

Posted by Mike on June 23, 2007

North Carolina-Oregon State II is about to begin tonight, so there is some info you should know before you watch:


Game 1: Tonight, 7 pm.

Starters: Alex White (UNC) vs. Jorge Reyes (OSU)
Game 2: Sunday, 7 pm.

Starters: Luke Putkonen (UNC) vs. Mike Stutes (OSU)

Game 3 (if necessary): Monday, 7 pm.

Possible starters: Robert Woodard (UNC) vs. Daniel Turpen (OSU)

Key relief pitchers:

  • Oregon State: Eddie Kunz (closer), Anton Maxwell, Mark Grbavac.
  • North Carolina: Andrew Carignan (closer), Rob Wooten, Matt Danford.

Key position players:

  • Oregon State: Mitch Canham, C (.321 Batting average, 10 HR, 57 RBI, .993 fielding percentage); Mike Lissman, LF (.325 BA, 10 HR, 61 RBI, 1.000 fielding); Jordan Lennerton, 1B (.313 BA, 8 HR, 48 BRI, .995 fielding).
  • North Carolina: Dustin Ackley, 1B (.403 BA, 9 HR, 72 RBI, .989 fielding); Josh Horton, SS (.335 BA, 9 HR, 53 RBI, .939 fielding); Tim Federowicz, C (.339 BA, 4 HR, 64 RBI, .997 fielding); Reid Fronk, LF (.319 BA, 11 HR, 56 RBI, .993 fielding).

What UNC must do to win:

  • Good starting pitching. Our starting staff has spent most of the postseason being knocked around by opposing offenses; in 11 postseason games, only four times has the Heels’ starting pitcher lasted longer than five innings (the opener against Jacksonville, and their three elimination games heading into the final series). Fortunately, most of the time the bullpen has been able to pitch well enough in relief for the offense to pull off a momentous comeback, as 5 of our 11 victories have come after a deficit of 2 runs or more. In particular, Alex White has had a rough first postseason. He needs to have a decent start against Oregon State tonight if the Heels want to win.
  • The bullpen must continue to play shutout baseball. Wooten and Carignan have almost always been able to stop any offensive momentum from their opponents this season. How much luck the Tar Heels have in the finals will depend just as much on the bullpen as on the starters, if not more so.
  • Wake up the bats. North Carolina has been shockingly devoid of offensive power in the postseason. Then on Thursday against Rice, the Heels hit four home runs. The UNC offense is led by National Freshman of the Year Dustin Ackley, and they cannot afford him to slump like he had for the first 9 games of the playoffs.

All of the live blogs will be on Tar Heel Mania. Enjoy the series.

Posted in ACC, AHHHHH!!! MY EYES!, Baseball, College World Series, Digital Headbutt, Live Blog, NCAA, North Carolina, Oregon State, Pac 10, Tar Heel Mania, Tar Heels, Way More Tags Than This Post Merits | 1 Comment »