Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich
The only concern defensive tackle Marvin Austin has about UNC's defense heading into the season opener against McNeese State is himself. Austin, a sophomore, said he might be "a little too hyped before the game."
Can you blame him?
Expectations are soaring in Chapel Hill, both inside and outside the program.
"I can't say enough about how much I want to get out there and perform and show all the hard work we've done the last couple of months," Austin said. "We're just ready to go and show people what we're working for."
Despite 18 returning starters, UNC still had to replace NFL draft picks Hilee Taylor and Kentwan Balmer, and linebacker Durell Mapp. Austin will shoulder some of that responsibility.
"I think I've gotten a lot better, just knowing the game, become more of a student of the game and learning what teams are trying to do to us as a defense, and when the coaches make certain calls, what the coaches are trying to do," Austin said. "I think I've become a lot smarter football player."
It's the secondary, though, that will probably be tested the most against a pass-happy McNeese State.
"I think our secondary has gotten older," Austin said. "Coach [Everett] Withers implemented some different coverages. It's going to be a challenge, of course, because they throw the ball so much, but at the same time we're going to be well prepared for everything they throw at us."