If the comments from the coaching staff are any indication, this is the one position that still represents a major concern for the 2001 offense.
Two scholarship positions were allocated to this position when the new coaching staff arrived on the scene. Those positions belonged to senior Doug Brown, and junior Zach Hilton.
Coach Bunting says, "It will be an interesting [fall practice] at the tight end position to say the least. We have a couple of guys coming in that will compete with the guys we have right now, no doubt in my mind."
The players that Bunting may be referring to are Brian Chacos, a 6-5, 250 lbs. tight end from Darien, Connecticut., and Danny Rumley, a 6-4, 215 lbs. receiver from Birmingham, Alabama.
Brown and Hilton could well end up as the duo on the two-deep chart, but it is clear from Bunting's comments that the newcomers will have a shot to challenge them next fall.
Assistant head coach Jim Webster, however, was unstinting of his praise regarding the progress of Doug Brown this spring. In an interview with www.tarheelblue.com Webster said,"
"He worked his butt off, particularly from where he was when he first got here. For a guy who people said didn't give much effort, who didn't try very hard, well, he sure changed. From a blocking standpoint, he made my guys better, because every time they went up against him, he made them work hard. I saw him every day going against my ends, " continued Webster.
"If I had to give an award right now to the guy who worked the hardest and made the most improvement this spring, " said Webster, "It would go to Doug Brown."
Chacos may be more of a prototype tight end, but Bunting was very high on Rumley in particular after signing day. Bunting said then, "He might be the catch of the whole group. He is an outstanding, tall, big, tough, strong wide receiver that could grow into the tight end position."
Some speculate that Rumley may fill a similar position as did Willie Wright did for N.C. State last season -- a pass-catching tight end in two-tight end sets.
Though he will not help in 2001, the Tar Heels received some good news when it was announced that Bobby Blizzard, a 6-7, 249-pound tight end/wide receiver who played the last two seasons at Kentucky, will transfer to North Carolina. He will not be able to play until the 2002 season.
Clearly one of the positions to watch in the fall, the tight end position will get very interesting when the freshmen arrive.