The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Wednesday January 27th

New kids on the chart

By now" the harsh reality has sunk in.

T.J. Yates North Carolina's starting quarterback will not be playing in the near future.

And so the team is left with a blank No. 1 spot on the depth chart" and a choice: ""Who goes in now?""

Should it be junior Cam Sexton" who has nine games of experience but hasn't thrown a pass since the season opener of 2007?

Or should redshirt freshman Mike Paulus" who came in after Yates was injured against Virginia Tech — and received his first significant game action just last week — take the helm?

""Certainly a part of it is going to be looking at Miami" coach Butch Davis said. Looking at their defensive scheme things that we think it's going to take to give us a chance to win the game" and we'll ascertain that.

""We need the quarterback not only to be efficient"" but we need him to make some plays.""

While Davis has yet to name the starter for UNC's next game"" Yates said it won't really matter.

""We still have a great offense. Mike — Mike or Cam — is going to do a great job. You know" those receivers made me look good out there" he said. So I think they can do a good job with whoever.""

He might have a point. Whoever starts will have the plenty of weapons to work with. After all" playmaking wideouts Brandon Tate and Hakeem Nicks are catching the passes.

And both passers had time to build a rapport with them during the spring while Yates was rehabilitating from an offseason shoulder surgery.

Sexton and Paulus both worked out with the first team in that period including the spring game where Paulus went 11-for-16 with 159 yards and Sexton was 7-for-9 with 104 yards and one interception.

Now that experience has a chance to pay dividends.

While Paulus' fourth-quarter interceptions against Virginia Tech might not be highlight-reel material" Yates pointed out his start wasn't the most conducive to success.

""Mike had a horrible situation going into" first time ever getting real playing time" just really thrown into the fire against Virginia Tech.""

Sexton does have more experience on the big-game stage" and he started the last game UNC played at Miami in 2006 as well as UNC's game against Virginia Tech that year.

But that might not be an advantage. In the 2006 Miami game Sexton completed nine passes in 28 attempts for no touchdowns and two interceptions" and UNC lost 27-7.

That season Sexton split time at quarterback with Joe Dailey. On the year he completed 41.9 percent of his passes for four touchdowns and eight interceptions.

""Cam has some game experience and has started in the past" linebacker Mark Paschal said. And from a defensive standpoint" Cam is fast and has a good arm.""

But Sexton's experience might pale in comparison to the raw talent of Paulus.

""Mike's got a world of potential" Yates said. A big arm a big strong body" everything like that. He just needs to get a little more experience.

""You know" it's the one thing you can't teach really" is just being in there in the game experience.""



Contact the Sports Editor at sports@unc.edu.


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