CHAPEL HILL — Its just a matter of time before the Tigers find success, Chapel Hill coach Issac Marsh says.
Or is it timing?
Chapel Hill, whose 10-3 finish last year set a program record for wins, needs to find new receivers and a kicker. The Tigers have T.J. Johnson back for a fourth year as quarterback, and he gives Chapel Hill a solid starting point upon which to build.
T.J. has always been the guy who makes the big play. This year, I just want him to manage the game," Marsh said.
Chapel Hill will return eight starters from 2011 on defense, and six on offense. The Tigers will be looking for a new starting center, offensive guard and fullback as well as two or more wide receivers.
Marsh expects that his defense will begin the season well ahead of his offense, but he must rebuild almost the entire secondary around four-year starter and U.S. Naval Academy recruit Alex Duncan.
Marshs biggest concern is finding receivers for Johnson. Chapel Hill lost all-conference wideout R.J. Quick, who is now at Winston-Salem State, as well as St. Augustines signee Amoris Thompson and Stephen Winsor, who is headed to Maryland-Baltimore County to play lacrosse.
Marsh has three returning receivers who look ready for starting spots Duncan, Jamarius Jones and Ivy League prospect Kendall Sims plus returning tight end Eddie Bugard who can flex out from tight end to wide receiver.
What we really need on offense is just a matter of T.J. and the receivers having some quality time together, Marsh said. They just need to get their timing down.
Chapel Hill also must replace all-purpose running back Roscoe Burnette and Winston Salem State signee Montrell Carty. But the Tigers have experienced running back Darius Allen back.
Marsh will be looking at a flock of newcomers to fill some of the open positions. They include 2011 junior varsity leader Jeremy Peck, a cornerback who performed well for the Tigers at East Carolinas Beast of the East and at Elons team camp. Marsh also likes what he has seen of 6-foot-3, 180-pound athlete Noah Layden at defensive end/tight end.
Sophomore guard Logan Tisch, an all-conference selection as a freshman in 2011, is expected to be a leader again along the offensive line. Tackle Alex Colson will be back to anchor the defensive line.
For the first time in four years, Chapel Hill must find a new kicker, since the Tigers lost Andrew DeJong to graduation. His brother, senior Max DeJong, appears ready to step up at the position.