Though six games of the 2010 season, quarterback T.J. Yates has completed 67 percent of his passes and has just one interception in 182 attempts--and that was a ball that bounced off the hands of receiver Jhay Boyd and was plucked from the air by a Rutgers defender. His interception percentage of 0.55 is the lowest in the country.
He ranks second in the ACC in passing efficiency, third in passing yards and fourth in total offense.
"He's making good decisions with the football," tackle Mike Ingersoll says. "In the past, he got criticized for making poor decisions. I don't know it was poor decisions as much it was him feeling like he needed for force things. This year, he's more comfortable, and I think we're giving him better protection. He's doing really good things, the things we always knew he could do with the football."
Yates has made solid individual improvement over the off-season-from improving his body from a strength and conditioning standpoint to his mind from hours of study of tape of players like Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers.
But his improvement in 2010 is about the team as well.
Yates in 2009 was constantly under duress as the Tar Heel offensive line was young, green and totally lacking in depth. The receivers were freshmen and frequently Yates had to get them lined up correctly or make adjustments if they ran improper routes.
Those problems have been solved this year to a large degree, and his performance shows it.
"Our start feels good, but there is still lot of unfinished business that myself and the team have to take care of before the season is over," Yates says. "It's nice not to have so much negative energy around like we did last year. It definitely gives me a lot of confidence."