The media was allowed to observe four five-minute sessions. Here are some things of note:
The scout team wore blue – the colors of the Tar Heels – as head coach Les Miles began installing the North Carolina packages into the daily work of the team. With the breakdown of what names wore blue and what names stayed in purple, the picture for what young names – especially freshmen – will see the field this season becomes more clear.
Freshman Eric Reid worked alongside Brandon Taylor as the first-team safeties towards the end of the session, meaning that Reid is likely closer than most of the 2010 defensive signees to seeing early action outside of special teams. After practice Miles complimented Reid as a standout from the group because of the mix of his size and smarts. He pegged him as one of the future leaders of that defensive backfield.
Freshmen Tyrann Mathieu, Tharold Simon and Ron Vinson also worked with the purple team at defensive back. With numbers short at linebacker, coach John Chavis brought 2010 signees Luke Muncie, D.J. Welter and Justin Maclin up to the front group. Right now I feel like Muncie is ahead of the other two freshmen names, especially since the team really could use the extra bodies on the outsides.
Of the defensive linemen, names of note on the scout team included Chris Davenport, Bennie Logan and Ego Ferguson. The top four defensive ends remained the same in Sam Montgomery, Ken Adams, Chancey Aghayere and Lavar Edwards. With Josh Downs gone at tackle, the three top names – and rotation that Brick Haley will certainly turn to – were Drake Nevis, Pep Levingston and Mike Brockers. Walk-on Dennis Johnson worked as the fourth name, sending Davenport and Logan into blue jerseys.
The running backs stuck to the top rotation of Stevan Ridley, Richard Murphy and Mike Ford, and newcomers Alfred Blue and Spencer Ware joined the fold. Murphy looks completely healthy for the first time since he tore his ACL last season, and earlier this week he said that he has been able to go full-contact and not miss a practice through the entire fall – big progress given that the veteran wore a green jersey every day in the spring.
On the offensive line things lined up as usual, though starting left tackle Joseph Barksdale was dressed in a green no-contact jersey. Barksdale missed practice on Saturday. Miles has not mentioned him as a candidate to miss time, so there should be no worry on that end.
At wide receiver Kadron Boone appeared to be the top freshman name once more. Miles said after practice that a number of freshmen would see time due to an injury to Chris Tolliver. Another name that worked with the front group was James Wright, and the 2010 signee was the lone new name to reel in a score through the team’s first two scrimmages. Terrance Toliver, Russell Shepard and Rueben Randle led as the top names in each drill.
On the injury front, Miles said that Tolliver and Karnell Hatcher would likely miss the first game of the season. Linebacker Ryan Baker will be sidelined for at least the first two weeks of the season.
The team will return to the field on Tuesday for an indoor scrimmage.