Undermanned and inexperienced, the North Carolina special teams squad entered last season gravely weakened by the ongoing NCAA investigation.
But if Patrick Peterson felt any sympathy at all, he certainly didn’t show it.
On opening night, the Louisiana State kick returner blew through UNC’s depleted forces, chewing up 257 return yards and scoring a touchdown in the 30-24 Tigers win.
With the performance, Peterson exposed a weakness that continued to plague UNC throughout last season. The Tar Heels’ net average of 40.6 yards per kickoff last year placed them second to last in the ACC.
“Last year, just because of everything that happened, we had a lot of young guys out there, and we were kind of experimenting a little bit,” senior place kicker Casey Barth said. “I think this year with those guys from last year on it and with some other guys that couldn’t play last year, we’re really going to put it together and do some big things.”