August 20, 2002
The Big Picture
After four recruiting campaigns and back-to-back winning years under legendary coach Lou Holtz, the fourth season offers a natural measuring stick for his regime. The non-league schedule has been getting softer each year, and this time it almost assures a strong start. Among the first five foes, only Georgia figures to have a winning record. Moving to the next level will require some success in November against Tennessee, Florida and Clemson. Holtz is 1-8 against the trio, and even that win over the Tigers was overshadowed by a home blowout loss to Florida.
Clearly, the future is now. Dreams of a first SEC championship are molded around a wealth of experience. A senior class of 23 players, led by 25-year-old QB Corey Jenkins, includes 17 with extensive playing time. Five juco transfers were added to give Carolina one of the most veteran teams in the nation. In addition, few colleges can match the experience level of the coaching staff, which includes former Division I-A head coaches in John Gutekunst, Dave Roberts and Skip Holtz.
Probable 2002 Starters
- returning starter * has redshirted
Jenkins, who once led a juco team to a perfect season, brings maturity, exceptional talent and leadership skills to a team that suffered heavy losses in terms of leadership. He'll get offensive help from several fourth-year veterans, including backs Ryan Brewer and Andrew Pinnock and linemen Cedric Williams and C.J. Frye. Langston Moore again will manhandle most opposing centers, and the addition of juco All-American Randy Jackson potentially makes the defensive line the best in the SEC. Darel Slay, another juco transfer, adds maturity to a quality linebacker crew. Rashad Faison, Dennis Quinn and Jermaine Lemon all appear ready to emerge in a rebuilt defense looking for new ringleaders. Kickers Tyeler Dean and Dan Weaver are experienced and steady.
Cause For Concern?
The only major question marks are at cornerback, where seniors dominated the playing time a year ago. The coaching staff was so lacking in confidence about the returning cast that juco transfers Taqiy Muhammad and Corey Peoples immediately were added to the mix, and they'll probably share playing time with Isaac Stackhouse and Dunta Robinson.
(9-3, 5-3 SEC in 2001)
|Aug. 31||New Mexico State (5-7)|
|Sept. 7||at Virginia (5-7)|
|Sept. 14||Georgia (8-4)|
|Sept. 21||Temple (4-7)|
|Sept. 28||at Vanderbilt (2-9)|
|Oct. 5||Mississippi State (3-8)|
|Oct. 12||at Kentucky (2-9)|
|Oct. 19||at Louisiana State (10-3)|
|Nov. 2||Tennessee (11-2)|
|Nov. 9||Arkansas (7-5)|
|Nov. 16||at Florida (10-2)|
|Nov. 23||at Clemson (7-5)|
CHART BY: THE USC INSIDER