The Carolina Football Family's annual spring reunion is set this weekend with no end to the storylines that will unfold at 5 p.m. in Kenan Stadium. The Tar Heels will run about 70 scrimmage plays as Coach Mack Brown makes his second debut as Carolina's head coach.
What will Coach Phil Longo's offense look like with three talented but young quarterbacks at the helm and a bevy of talented tailbacks to run the ball? Expect to see Cade Fortin, Jace Ruder and Sam Howell take snaps at quarterback and run an Air Raid offense that will “chase space” in the passing game and add a powerful downhill running game built around Antonio Williams, Michael Carter and Javonte Williams.
How has co-defensive coordinator Jay Batemen retooled the Tar Heel defense to account for losing four linemen and one key linebacker to graduation and having a half dozen players out with injury? The good news is senior Aaron Crawford returns from a season-long injury to anchor the line, and a linebacker Jeremiah Gemmel is an example of the kind of young player showing smarts and speed and helping set a base for the future.
“I like this team, I like who they are, they've tried to do everything we've asked them to do,” Brown said this week. “The first four months have been about as good as it can be. I told the players that now they need to give themselves the gift of consistency, to play at a very high level every day. We're still too up and down. We're not a team that can win unless we play with high energy and give it all we've got every day.”
Among weekend highlights for ex-Tar Heels returning to Chapel Hill will be a dinner Friday night when Brown will address the group and former linebacker Dwight Hollier, now on the Carolina athletics administrative staff, will talk about the evolution of the Carolina Football Lettermen's Association into the Carolina Football Family.
Brown was the architect of the original Lettermen's Association when he first took the Carolina job in 1988. Now you can count on a handful of initiatives and tweaks to further improve the connection between Tar Heels over many decades, their university and their football program.
The weekend begins with the Morris Mason Golf Tournament at Finley Golf Course at 10:30 on Friday. Dinner Friday night begins at 6 p.m. in the Blue Zone in the east end of Kenan Stadium.
FanFest will begin at 2:30 Saturday in Kenan Stadium, with a Football Family lunch catered by Al's Burgers at the same time. The new Indoor Practice Facility will be open throughout the afternoon for anyone interested to walk through and see the ACC's top indoor facility. The men's and women's lacrosse teams will also be playing Syracuse, the women at Noon and men at 3 p.m.