UNC Spring Football: Players of Note

CHAPEL HILL – The North Carolina Tar Heels split up into two teams and faced each other in the annual spring game at Kenan Stadium on Saturday.

Here is a look at some of the players of note in the White team's 21-10 victory over the Blue team.

Freshman tailback Ronnie McGill carried the ball 24 times for 104 yards for the game. He had 72 on 16 carries in the first half. McGill, who graduated from high school in December and enrolled at UNC in January, also scored a touchdown. On the possession that resulted in his first score, he had three runs of at least 10 yards essentially up the middle, including the score. He later had a run of 29 yards around right end to open the second half.

Junior defensive tackle Jermicus Banks looked quicker and faster than last fall. He batted down one pass and made a few other plays. He looked more like an ACC defensive lineman than he did last season.

Sophomore defensive end Tommy Davis has improved his lateral quickness and speed. His quickness off the ball is better although his rush technique still needs work, especially after he gains an advantage on the blocker. On the next to last play of the game, Davis literally took the ball from QB Landon Mariani and ran about 55 yards before being brought down by Mariani.

Junior quarterback Darian Durant had a solid but unspectacular afternoon. He completed nine of 19 passes for 115 yards and no official interceptions. Durant only ran the ball a few times and was sacked a couple of times as well. Durant looked comfortable and connected with Pollock a few times over the middle. But he didn't air it out but a couple of times, so gauging his arm strength is difficult.

Senior quarterback C.J. Stephens aired it out more than Durant but didn't connect on any long heaves. However, he did strike some nice out patterns and got better as the game wore on. But he was off early, often significantly overthrowing his target. Stephens completed 11 of 17 passes for 113 yards. He did not throw a touchdown pass and was picked once.

Sophomore quarterback Matt Baker had some nice stretches, but was mostly ordinary. While quarterbacking the White team, he led the Heels on a long scoring drive, which ended on a 4-yard TD pass to RS freshman tight end Lewis Burnham. The key play of the drive was a 27-yard scramble after no receivers got open and a pass rush coming. ON the day, Baker completed seven of 16 passes for 68 yards and a score.

Sophomore cornerback Cedric Holt stood out all afternoon. He picked off three passes, although two were brought back because of penalties. But he looked sharp in his coverage and physical ability to get to the ball. He not only hit well and played his man with necessary pushes off the line of scrimmage, but also displayed nice hands.

Some players, like senior free safety Dexter Reid and senior tailback Willie Parker (52 yards on 10 carries) had solid but unspectacular games. Neither did much to stand out, nor did they make any noticeable major mistakes.

The offensive did a solid job. The quarterbacks usually had time to throw the ball, but it should be remembered that UNC's defensive line struggled mightily last year and while it has improved, the D-line remains a big concern of Bunting's.

Senior writer Andrew Jones is in his seventh year with Inside Carolina. He also covers the ACC for the Wilmington Star-News/Morning Star and can be reached via e-mail at: AndrewJones@AM630.net.

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