Anderson, Part II: Receiver Depth

Offensive coordinator Blake Anderson sees a deficit this spring at one position, while there is a pleasant surprise at another.

Larry Fedora has noted that North Carolina will have only five wideouts available to practice this spring. For a pro-style offense, that may sound like a sufficient number for spring ball, but Anderson and Fedora need more for their spread attack.

"We typically carry a good bit more than that, I promise you," Anderson said.

It is not unusual to see four or even five wideouts on the field simultaneously in the spread offense envisioned at North Carolina. How many is enough?

"Typically, we would want nine-to-11, depending on some of our other personnel," Anderson said. "So, 10-to-11 guys that we consider receiver, A-back skill guys, so we're short-handed at that spot."

With low numbers of wideouts available this spring, Anderson will look elsewhere for receiving help. Though it may not be typical to think of tight ends involved in a spread offense, Anderson says that's not the case in the new offense North Carolina will field. In fact, the tight end position will be an integral part of the offense.

"Huge part -- and it will be, it absolutely will be -- there's no doubt," Anderson said.

"We would love to have a tight end on the field every snap of the game – that's ideal. There have been years we didn't have one that we felt (was among) our best 11 – if you want to play with your best eleven.

"There have been years we were four wide; there's been years that we were a tight end, three wide. There have been years where we had two tight ends and we only played with two wideouts. It is going to come down to the best 11 that can play the tempo we want to play and be versatile. But that is a year-to-year conversation on who developed at being your best 11 players on the field."

The good news for the Tar Heels is that they've recruited well at the tight end position, and Anderson has liked what he's seen from a couple of young former "H-backs" -- rising sophomores Eric Ebron and Jack Tabb.

"Absolutely they both have the talent to do what we want to do both attached and detached and standing up," Anderson said. "There's an opportunity for both those guys to get on the field at the same time. Just in what little bit I've seen of them, yes, they both show to have promise to be really versatile and do what we want to do."

The presence of those tight ends makes the dearth of numbers at wideout less troubling for Anderson.

"We have the luxury of some tight ends and other positions that may fill in from those spots," he said. "We'll use whatever personnel we've got. We've played with a lot of different personnel groupings, but just five receivers to be a spread team is less than you're going to need; you're going to need to fill in those spots."

On another topic of interest to North Carolina fans, Anderson confirmed that there are plans underway to hold a scrimmage off-campus this spring.

"Absolutely, done it that the last four years at Southern Miss, we would like to take one or two of our spring scrimmages and try to make them available to an area in the state that normally don't get a chance to get on campus," he said. "I don't think all the logistics are worked out, but that is definitely something we will try to do, if at all possible."

Check back tomorrow for Part III from Inside Carolina's one-on-one interview with Blake Anderson …

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