Originally Posted by Yearofthegamecock
I think getting that string of top recruits in the state was the key. They were used winning and brought that mentality to Carolina. Instead of looking at past games and records against our opponents, they came in thinking I'm gonna play my game and that was infectious, creating that expectation of being competitive.
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I think everyone so far is touching on all the little things that eventually
came together and played a part in the "change", but what Yearof just
said here I THINK is also a big factor.
Before 2009 (and it was addressed by Holtz a few times in the media),
is that our younger players (freshmen / Sophs) were actually more talented
and athletic than the Juniors / seniors on some of his teams.... THAT
made for an atmosphere of content as the older guys didn't like "taking
advice or commands" from the more talented younger players. It bred
a locker room full of split feelings. I remember Ryan Brewer talking about
it on one of the talk shows a few years ago too. It was a by product of
Holtz getting some of the better players in the state, and some other
states, that weren't blending well with the experienced "average" players
we had on the team.
That class of 2009 I think changed all of that, and gave us some young
players that demanded the role of leaders by default. Stephon Gilmore,
DeVonte Holloman, DJ Swearinger etc... They grew as leaders early,
set up a program of leaders and left the program in better shape when
they were gone.... when you think of the leaders of our teams since
2009, you understand why that class was HUGE in getting the ball rolling.
Not only for the rivalry, but in the rest of our schedule as well. After 2009
you had LEADERS like Lattimore, Cunningham, Ingram, Swearinger, Shaw,
Thompson, Ellington etc.... It was the beginning of our success and the
start of a new Carolina