Tar Heel Lettermen are reminded to make plans on Saturday Aug. 10 to visit Chapel Hill for a morning scrimmage followed by lunch with players and staff in the Blue Zone.
Practice will be held from 8:30 to 10:40 at Navy Field, with lunch at 11:30. There will be a $10 charge for lunch to cover the cost of the meal. Contact Teresa Vanderford in the UNC Football Office at 919-962-9144 to make arrangements if you have not already.
The Tar Heels opened fall camp last Thursday with a handful of priorities, most noticeably replacing tailback Gio Bernard and three starting offensive linemen; replacing place-kicker Casey Barth, whose departure ends a near-decade run of having a Barth family member handing those duties; and shoring up a defense that suffered meltdowns in the first half at Louisville, all game vs. Georgia Tech and late in losses against Duke and Wake Forest in 2012.
“We’ve had a good start,” coach Larry Fedora says. “I’ve seen a lot of feistiness out there. Guys are anxious to build on what we started last year.”
Fedora’s first Carolina squad posted an 8-4 mark in 2012 and tied for first atop the Coastal Division standings. The highlights included an offense that cranked out 41 points a game, memorable home victories over Virginia Tech and N.C. State and an aggressive swagger that permeated the special teams.
“Eight-and-four is not the bar,” Fedora says. “As a staff, I promise you we were not satisfied. Going forward, winning eight games is not something we’re going to be excited about. But under the circumstances, we were really proud of what those seniors and that team accomplished.”
Initial impressions through the first weekend of practice include the immense potential of freshmen running backs T.J. Logan and Kris Francis and receivers Bug Howard and Ryan Switzer. Noticeable also is the added confidence and command of the offense that senior QB Bryn Renner exudes. Receiver Quinshad Davis has added some 20 pounds to his frame—“I need some extra armor going across the middle,” he says.
On defense, linebacker Travis Hughes has been fiery and active in running with the first team at the “Will” linebacker slot, and the Bandit position that got limited production last year has drawn some attention with the improvement of Norkeithus Otis and the return of Darius Lipford from a knee injury. Freshman walk-on Dominique Green could be a surprise starter at a safety position alongside senior Tre Boston.