The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Saturday January 22nd

Scoreboard Watching Not in Torbush's Plans

The North Carolina football team is still alive in the bowl chase.

That much, everyone knows.

But not all of the Tar Heels want to get caught up in what has to happen for the team to advance to the postseason. UNC plays Duke on Saturday at noon, and N.C. State plays at Virginia at 2:30 p.m.

The Tar Heels need for the Wolfpack to beat the Cavaliers to keep Virginia from becoming bowl eligible.

The game isn't televised, so UNC's players and coaches will have to listen to the radio after they play Duke if they want to know immediately how things play out.

Count UNC coach Carl Torbush out as far as that goes. Torbush was listening back in 1991 when UNC was alive for a spot in the Copper Bowl, and what he heard made him sick. Purdue missed a last-second field goal that gave Indiana the spot in the game and booted the Tar Heels from the postseason picture.

He hasn't done any scoreboard watching - or listening - since.

Some of his players, however, have a different philosophy. Tight end Alge Crumpler said he plans to "be tuned in to what's going to happen," and quarterback Ronald Curry is also interested.

"If it's not on TV, I'll see the highlights on ESPN," Curry said. "Hopefully (the Cavaliers) lose, but if they don't, we put ourselves in this position. I want to go to a bowl game bad, but we hurt ourselves if we don't end up going to a bowl game."

Curry, Peppers Headed for Hoops?

Curry and defensive end Julius Peppers can begin working out the with basketball team as soon as the football squad's regular season ends, Torbush said.

Torbush, who played baseball and football at Carson-Newman, has always been in favor of the two players' decision to hit the hardwood.

"As far as I'm concerned, they can go out there Monday and start dribbling the ball and shooting and try to get in a little basketball shape," Torbush said. "They can sprain their ankle walking down the street, so I don't have a problem with it.

"Quite honestly, as far as speed and quickness, they'll come back probably as quick or faster after a week and a half of basketball as they would without it."

Peppers said he hasn't thought much about playing basketball, but Curry is looking forward to it.

"I feel pretty confident," Curry said. "I'm not going out there to sit the bench. I don't think those guys are out there planning to sit the bench. (Adam) Boone is starting, but I'm sure (Brian) Morrison wants to start, I'm sure (Jonathan) Holmes wants to start, and I want to go out there and start.

"I'm just going out there competing and being the person who I am."

Lafferty Back and Kicking

Punter John Lafferty is practicing again after missing three weeks with mononucleosis. Lafferty was cleared by doctors to practice Monday and kicked that day and Tuesday.

"By Saturday, I hope I'll be where I need to be, where I can kick if they need me to kick," Lafferty said.

Freshman Blake Ferguson, who split time with Lafferty earlier in the season, has been handling the punting duties.

Peppers Seeks Sack Record

Peppers spent plenty of time in the Maryland backfield Saturday, but he never could sack quarterback Shaun Hill.

That means Peppers is still three sacks short of Lawrence Taylor's single-season record of 16 sacks, set in 1980.

"I only need four, so it's possible," Peppers said. "It's possible for me to get four in a game, and hopefully I will."

Don't count him out. Several Tar Heels have torched the Blue Devils in the final game of the year to reach statistical milestones for the season.

Tailback Jonathan Linton needed 195 rushing yards against Duke in 1997 to reach the 1,000-yard mark and gained 199. Leon Johnson needed 130 in 1993 and got 142, and Natrone Means ran for 181 in 1991 after needing 151.

Reed Keeps Kicking Bombs

Junior place-kicker Jeff Reed has been one of the team's biggest surprises this season. He has come out of nowhere to connect on all 22 of his extra points and 15-of-19 field goals.

But it has been Reed's kickoffs that have stolen the show in recent weeks. He has blasted eight of his last nine tee shots for touchbacks.

"He feels he can kick it through the goal post wherever it is," Torbush said. "Quite honestly on kickoffs, he's been knocking it out of sight. I think he's very deserving of all-conference. I haven't seen one better."

The Sports Editor can be reached at sports@unc.edu.

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