Friday, August 31, 2012

Quinton Coples NFL Season Preview

Quinton Coples has a lot to prove to his critics about his work ethic. Athletically he is a freak of nature and would have been a top five pick if the NFL draft, if teams only focused on a players ability. Coples looked really good in the preseason, recording four and half sacks and he put a lot of pressure on opposing quarterbacks.

Since drafting Coples and during the preseason Jets head coach, Rex Ryan has raved about the defensive ends play. After the Jets preseason game against the Carolina Panthers, Ryan had some less than glowing words about Coples, who was winded and ready to come out the the game with the starters. Ryan said. "He kind of had a woe-with-me when we took out the starters. Hey look, you're still a rookie, you have to play the whole game and then some". Coples said of the situation, "Maybe that's what it came off as, intensity-wise or whatever. I never expected to come out."

I look for Coples to be in contention for Defensive Rookie of the Year. He will also contribute and make a really good defense even better.

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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Hakeem Nicks NFL Season Preview

(Kathy Willens/AP)

Hakeem Nicks suffered a broken foot in May and was hoping to be ready by Week 1 of the regular season. He returned the last week of the preseason ahead of schedule. Nicks intentionally went across the middle against three New England defenders in the final preseason game. After the game he said, "I kind of wanted to absorb the hit a little bit and get my body back into it".

Nicks is one of the most talented playmakers in the NFL when he is healthy. While Nicks battled injuries last season, Victor Cruz emerged as a favorite target of Giants quarterback, Eli Manning. Just when it looked like Cruz was the number one receiver in New York, Nicks came on strong in the playoffs with 28 receptions, 444 yards and four touchdowns. If he remains healthy and on the field Nicks will be one of the three best wide receivers in the NFL this year.

Nicks and the Giants begin the season Wednesday at home against their division rival Dallas Cowboys on NBC at 8:30 PM EST.

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Jawad Williams and Sean May Are Reunited

Paris-Levallois of the Eurobasket ProA League starts their regular season in a little over a month on October 6th. They return former Tar Heel, Jawad Williams, who averaged 16.5 points per game last year and was selected to the All Star game. One of Williams' teammate last year in Paris was another former Tar Heel, David Noel. Noel's contract was up in the off season and was not resigned.

Levallois did make a big splash in their off season signing former NBA lottery pick, Tar Heel and Final Four Most Outstanding Player, Sean May. After being waived by the New Jersey Nets in 2010 after suffering an ankle injury, May played overseas in Turkey, Croatia and Italy. In May's last season in Italy he averaged 15.5 points and six rebounds per game.

May and Williams are reunited, as they were teammates on the 2005 North Carolina team that won the National Championship. They recently arrived in Paris to begin working out with the team. They will be part of a really nice front court for Levallois this year.

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Monday, August 20, 2012

Darian Durant Looking to Turn Roughriders' Play Around

(Nathan Denette/ The Canadian Press)

Former North Carolina quarterback Darian Durant hopes to lead the Saskatchewan Roughriders to the Grey Cup of the Canadian Football League this season. 

So far this season Durant, who just turned 30, has put up solid numbers, he has thrown for 1,935 yards, eight touchdowns and completing 64% of his passes. He has thrown seven interceptions but three of those came Sunday in the Riders' 24-5 loss. Also just like at Chapel Hill, Durant is a dual threat option at the quarterback position and has rushed for 159 yards in seven games this season.

After a hot start to the season the Roughriders have dropped their last four games and they sit last in the CFL's West Division but, only two games out of first.
Sunday after the loss Durant said, "We just couldn't get anything going from the get-go. It's a tough one to swallow." He added, "Losing four in a row is not good any time. We defintely have to watch the film and see what we need to do."

Durant and the Roughriders look to start their turnaround Saturday at home against the Calgary Stampeders at 3pm EST.

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Friday, August 17, 2012

How the Dwight Howard Deal Can Impact Two Former Tar Heels

In the next month NBA teams will begin training camps and preseason games.  In June we watched the NBA Finals that matched the Miami Heat and Oklahoma City Thunder and it seemed like a finals matchup that we would see again this season and many to come.  Then the Los Angeles Lakers landed the best center in the game, Dwight Howard.  My question is: how does this trade impact Antwan Jamison and Mitch Kupchak?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Tar Heels NFL Preseason Week 1 Recap

Kendric Burney, Matt Merletti, Robert Quinn
(Via Kendric Burney's Twitter Page)

Buffalo Bills:

  • Johnny White (RB)- Had five carries carries for 25 yards including a nice 17 yard run in the third quarter that helped setup a Buffalo field goal.

Washington Redskins:

  • Kentwan Balmer (DE)- After leaving Redskins camp about two weeks ago without telling anyone, Washington was finally able to reach the defensive lineman this weekend.  This is the second time in his short NFL career that he has went AWOL from his teams training camp (2010 with San Francisco). I am not sure how much longer he will remain a Redskin and could be released before I publish this article.

Redskins- 7 Bills- 6

Chicago Bears:

  • Julius Peppers (DE): Peppers, along with Jay Cutler, Matt Forte and Brandon Marshall set out the first preseason game to rest.  The absence of these players including Peppers were just precautionary.

Broncos-31 Bears- 3

Green Bay Packers:

  • Jeff Saturday (C): Saturday is still protecting an All Pro Quarterback but it is the first time his name is not Peyton Manning.  Saturday decided to move on from the Colts and their rebuilding phase and signed with NFC powerhouse the Green Bay Packers. Saturday is still learning the offense and the Packers "language".

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Seeking Writers For UNCPros

UNCPros is looking to add writers who are interested in getting published online to add to their writing portfolios. As we approach the fall and, more importantly, the start of football and basketball season, we are looking to add a writer to cover former Tar Heels in the professional sports world.  

As we are looking to rapidly expand in the near future you will have an opportunity to grow with us.
Writing for us consists of generating page views, creating quality content, building a Twitter following while learning other Digital Media Solutions and getting as much exposure for yourself & your articles while building an online portfolio.
UNCPros writers will have the unique opportunity to own their school’s sports coverage for a growing online magazine.
To apply, send a short writing sample of any recent UNC headlines, along with your contact information (name, phone, email, Twitter) to 

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Sunday, August 5, 2012

Kirk Urso Dies at 22 Years Old

(Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Former Tar Heel Midfielder for the 2011 NCAA Men's Soccer Championship team, Kirk Urso, was pronounced dead at 1:50 am Sunday morning at Grant Medical Center in Columbus, Ohio. The Columbus Dispatch posted the 911 call that led police to the bar Urso was found. The caller said, "Its a very drunk person who fell down and now is unconscious." Police were on the scene immediately. An autopsy performed Monday did not determine the cause of death.  The corner said she would need to wait for the toxicology reports before the cause of death is known. During the autopsy the corner did find a "non-specific cardiac change" that could have resulted in his death. As of right now the corner believes the death is of natural causes.

Sunday morning twitter was filled with many condolences from the Tar Heel family including Mia Hamm, John Henson and Kendall Marshall. After winning the NCAA championship last fall Urso said "My whole college career has been awesome, but there was something extra about this team. To cap it off with this is something I am going to remember the rest of my life." He also played for the United States under-17 team in 2007. 

Carolina Athletic Director Bubba Cunningham issued this statement:

"In the very brief time I spent with Kirk it became evident that he was a natural leader. His enthusiasm was contagious to all who knew him. He had a positive and inspirational impact on his team, and many other student-athletes at Carolina. Our deepest sympathy and condolences go out to Kirk's family and friends. His teammates and fellow students are devastated by the news and we will do all we can to support them and his family in this incredibly tragic and sorrowful time."

It seems for now as we mourn the loss of this tragedy we will have to wait a few weeks before we get answers.