Fourth and Long

Published 9:11 am Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Before I jump head first into college basketball season I wanted to take a moment and reflect a bit on the end of college football season (or seasons).

The conclusion of most college football seasons brings with it anticipation and excitement for next year. While this season is no different, the loss against Missouri in the Independence Bowl marked not only the end of a season, but for this UNC fan the end of an era.

I have been a UNC fan for as long as I can remember, however when my wife and I became season ticket holders three years ago this fan became fanatical.

I had every reason to be excited. Butch Davis was still new to the program, but had already begun to make an impact regarding the level of excitement surrounding UNC Football.

Local gridiron standouts Tydreke Powell from Hertford County and Travis Bond from Bertie County were showing tons of promise in Carolina blue.

Former Hertford County quarterback, offensive coordinator and longtime friend Brian Overton had joined the football staff at UNC.

These factors combined with what can only be described as the incredible experience of spending seven fall Saturdays in Chapel Hill officially got me hooked on Tar Heel football.

Fast forward a few years and I must admit that I am sad to see so much of it end.

Butch Davis is gone and with the hire of Larry Fedora as Carolina’s new coach so goes all of Davis’ coaching staff, including Brian Overton. Brian has been offered and has accepted the position of director of football operations and player personnel at East Carolina University. While I am excited for Brian I will miss seeing him in Carolina blue.

Tydreke Powell has now graduated (a wonderful accomplishment on its own) and has played his last game in a UNC uniform (unless he plays in the senior bowl as expected). Powell has been a treat to watch. While rarely the most athletically gifted defensive lineman on the field, Powell has what experts call a high motor that never stops.

While Travis Bond still has one more year remaining in Chapel Hill I fear what the transition from a pro style offense to a less conventional spread attack may do to the massive right guard. I only wish he would have had the opportunity to use his senior season to showcase the skills he has learned over the last three years, not to learn something every different.

With the birth of my son, I do not know how many (if any) trips I will be able to make to Chapel Hill next fall, however I will continue to cheer on Travis and my Tar Heels, be it at home or in the stands. I will also follow ECU much more closely, cheering on the Pirates whenever possible.

Sundays will be reserved for my Tar Heel crew as it is now. I will continue to cheer on Hakeem Nicks, Richard Quinn, Brandon Tate, Garret Reynolds, Brooks Foster, EJ Wilson, Cam Thomas, Robert Quinn, Bruce Carter, Marvin Austin, Greg Little, Da’Norris Searcy, Johnny White, T.J. Yates, Quan Sturdivant, Ryan Taylor and now Tydreke Powell.

While many UNC fans will want to sweep the last few years of Carolina football under the rug and pretend they didn’t happen, this fan will remember them as the best college football seasons of his life.


David Friedman is a long-time contributor to Roanoke-Chowan Publications. A Bertie High School graduate, he and his wife currently reside in Wilmington. David can be reached via e-mail at