UNC Football and Slight Confusion

On Thursday, the Marching Tar Heels stayed 30 minutes after practice to work on a plan for how to make room for the aerial team that was supposed to land in Kenan Stadium with the game ball. It's happened many times before, no big deal, right?


When the band got to the point in pregame where they were supposed to split and make room for the parachutes, the band directors started scurrying around and yelling "Don't move!! We're not splitting apart!!" Everyone was confused and probably a little miffed that we had stayed after to work on this and it wouldn't even happen. It must just be bad weather in the area that kept them from dropping in.

Wrong again. They were just a little confused.

From The News & Observer:

Duke officials were a bit surprised when, at 6 p.m. Saturday, about an hour before the scheduled kickoff of their game against James Madison, two men parachuted into Wallace Wade Stadium and landed with a game ball.

Problem was, the Blue Devils -- who were warming up on the field along with their guests from Virginia -- weren't expecting it.


North Carolina was scheduled to receive the game ball for its contest against McNeese State via an aerial team at about that time in Chapel Hill.

According to UNC assistant athletic director for promotions Michael Beale, the plane was in the air but the jumpers from Virginia-based Aerial Adventures opted to cancel the leap into Kenan Stadium because of weather.

Evidently, when the clouds eventually opened, the pilot thought they were over the correct stadium, and the skydivers jumped -- realizing only when they landed in Wallace Wade that they were in the wrong place.

The two men immediately scrambled off the field with the game ball, and when UNC associate athletic director Rick Steinbacher was informed by a reporter of what had happened, he immediately called Duke officials to confirm the miscue and offer his apologies.

"In about five years, maybe this will be funny," Steinbacher said. "Right now, I'm just glad no one was hurt."

Classic. You just can't script things like that. But here's my problem. These guys are rigorously trained to do what they do and you're telling me they couldn't tell the difference between Wallace Wade -- a glorified high school stadium -- and the 60,000 seat Kenan. Let's have a look, shall we?

Here is Wallace Wade Stadium from the air:

Now for Kenan Stadium (sorry for the small size, Google images let me down):

See what I mean? Slightly bigger.

Too bad it seems like Duke was the better team in the ACC this week, winning handily over FCS school James Madison University, while the Tar Heels struggled through a two-hour lightning delay and a 35-27 win over FCS school McNeese State. The first quarter was great: Brandon Tate had some great returns, including one punt return for a touchdown. He also had a great 50+ yard reception that led to a second Carolina touchdown.

Then, after the rain and lightning subsided, the "new and improved" Tar Heels started to look a hell of a lot like last year's team. The same things that plagued them throughout the 2007 season were very present two nights ago: inconsistent and bonehead play from quarterback T.J. Yates, slow defense that didn't put any pressure on the quarterback and allowed him to pick apart the secondary, and sub-par running by Greg Little behind an offensive line that struggled against a defensive line they should have dominated. He's not going to get 1,000 yards that way.

The Heels have something to prove in two weeks against Rutgers. Right now, I'm not impressed.

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