Spring Practice Notebook - April 2, 2003

Spring practice is heading into its final phase, and position changes are taking place.

Wednesday's practice saw some players in new positions, as North Carolina head coach John Bunting discussed. Madison Hedgecock has moved from fullback to defensive end, Chris Curry has moved from safety to wide receiver and Andre Williams has moved from tailback to fullback.

Mahlon Carey worked with the first team defense yesterday and drew praise from Bunting on several occasions. Carey's athleticism and speed have moved him into contention for the starting berth there. Rashaad Tindall also drew some "attaboys" from Bunting as well.

It is good to see Madison Hedgecock lining up at defensive end. Hedgecock has a defensive mindset, and just looks like a defensive player. At one point yesterday, he had blood streaming from a scrape on his right elbow but didn't seem to notice it. He is already lining up with the second team defense, and it wouldn't be a shock to see him move up the depth chart.

Kendall High had a good practice yesterday; during team scrimmage he caused a fumble and then recovered a fumble on the next play.

C.J. Stephens, who has been nearly overlooked during spring practice, seems much more comfortable in the pocket than he did last spring and fall. On several occasions, Stephens got the ball out quickly while under pressure. Last spring and fall Stephens seemed to have problems managing pressure in the pocket, but he looked yesterday to have made progress in that area.

One of Stephens' targets yesterday was Wallace Wright, and the walk-on wide receiver continues to show signs of being a capable wide receiver at the Division 1-A level.

In the passing game, there has been some emphasis on running screens this year, and with a good bit of success. With a more experienced line, North Carolina appears to be able to add variety to their offense more so than in the past two years.

One of the more interesting drills taking place this spring is the "man-on-man" drills that take place between the offensive line and defensive line. In previous years, in has been common during drills to have offensive lineman simulate defensive linemen during their own drills, and likewise the defensive linemen. This year, offensive line coach Hal Hunter and defensive line coach Brad Lawing bring their troops together and have them square off against each other individually, then as a line. A lot of chatter goes back and forth between the two groups as one player bests another one.

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