Football season is getting even closer, with fall practice beginning tomorrow. Here are a few things to watch for from our offense.
This one is a no-brainer. Needless to say, Carolina has everything riding on Garcia showing improvement. Garcia's inconsistency last year was likely the single biggest thing keeping Carolina from 11 wins and a possible BCS Bowl this side of a weak secondary; if he eliminates that inconsistency, the sky is the limit for Carolina this season. However, he's been suspended for quite a while. How will he respond to his reinstatement? We're hearing that he's been working hard despite the suspension. Is that true? You can count on all eyes being on Garcia during fall practice.
New Faces on the Offensive Line
Shawn Elliott brought much longed-for improvement to the Carolina line this past season. One would expect continued improvement in Year Two, but Carolina will have to replace key contributors like Jarriel King, Hutch Eckerson, and Garrett Chisolm. One of the key players to watch is A.J. Cann. After reportedly making major strides in S&C and knowledge of the offense while redshirting last year, the highly recruited lineman will likely start at left guard. Is he ready to begin a legendary career in 2011?
Second Wide Receiver
We know Alshon Jeffery will put up big numbers. But will somebody step up and replace Tori Gurley as the second option? The main candidates are Ace Sanders and D.L. Moore, both of whom had decent seasons last year, and DeAngelo Smith, who made big strides in the spring.
As with Alshon, we know Marcus Lattimore will be great. But can we rely on either Kenny Miles or Eric Baker to fill in when Lattimore needs a break? Both have the potential to be very solid backups, although Miles struggled last year, while Baker has been out with various injuries. I like Miles to keep a handle on this spot for most of the year, but I also like us to put the speedy Baker's versatility to use in certain situations.
So, what are you watching for on offense this August?