August 14, 2001 – Ten days to go
The final contours of the 2001 UNC football team are taking shape. Based on Tuesday evening's practice and what we have observed to date, there are several conclusions we can draw about this team.
Quarterback – This is Ron Curry's offense, and it may not be too much to say that it is his team. The reserve, unless something dramatic occurs in the next ten days, will be Darian Durant. The number three quarterback will be Aaron Leak.
Despite Bunting's oft-repeated quip that true frosh Matt Baker would likely be the backup, from this observer's perspective Baker is all but assured a red shirt year.
Running back – Willie Parker will walk out with the first team when the offense takes the field for the first time, but Andre Williams will not be too far behind him in terms of snaps taken over the course of the year.
For the first time since fall practice began, it appeared that true freshman Jacque Lewis has a good chance of skipping his red shirt year. Lewis got well over half the snaps with the second team at tailback.
Though Lewis may lack the power of either Parker or Williams, he may already be the shiftiest back on the roster. As much as Coach Bunting might like Michael Harris, he probably does not like him as much as Lewis.
Fullback – Yep, you heard right the first time, Richard Moore really will be the starting fullback this year. James Faison is likely to be the number one reserve here. What that means is that there is good potential for a position change for Madison Hedgecock or Kitawana Jones. The conventional wisdom would have Jones moving back to linebacker. Just a hunch, it would surprise me to see Jones move back to linebacker.
Offensive line – Jeb Terry was held out of practice this evening, and rumor has it that is was just a precautionary measure. The interesting part of Terry's absence was that Greg Woofter moved over to right tackle, while Willie McNeil lined up at left tackle.
Based on this alignment, my guess is that Woofter would slide over to right tackle if Terry were injured during the year. It also indicates that the staff is not sold on the left tackle on the two deep.
Tight end – This race, between Doug Brown and Zach Hilton appears to be tightening up. Late in the spring and early this fall, it appeared that Brown had a clear lead on Hilton as the starter. Over the course of the fall, it seems that while Brown as developed as a pass catcher, Hilton has improved as a blocker. With ten days to go, this is a dead heat, and both will play a lot.
The third team tight end will likely be true freshman Chase Page. He received a lot of snaps with the second team. The goal may be to red shirt Page if Hilton and Brown stay healthy the entire year, but have him ready in case of an injury.
Wide receiver – The question here is who will take the fourth and fifth spots at wide receiver.
Bosley Allen, Kory Bailey, and Sam Aiken are locks for positions one-two-three. That much is no mystery.
Chesley Borders, who won a "Hail Mary" jump ball in the end zone for a touchdown during the two-minute drill, Isaiah Robinson, and true frosh Harry Lewis are all getting a lot of snaps with the second team, and on occasion with the first unit.
Very little has been said about Robinson this spring or fall, but this kid will play at Carolina and play well before his career is over. As a true freshman, he was overshadowed by Sam Aiken and Jamal Jones, but Robinson has some skills at this position.
Harry Lewis could be an intriguing part of this team. His size makes him unusual for a wide receiver – 6-3, 220 pounds. Willie Wright, the NC State "tight end" is 6-4, 229. Lewis won't line up as a tight end, but he has a good chance of seeing the field this season for North Carolina.
Lewis has a quick first step, long arms – he picked the ball off the turf tonight – and good hands. Plus, he has the aforementioned size. It makes for an interesting combination, and offensive coordinator Gary Tranquill knows how to use a big wide receiver – does the name Herman Moore ring a bell?
It was a treat this evening to see Jawarski Pollock lining up at wide receiver, making a reception, and making a couple of would-be tacklers miss after the catch. Pollock will be an interesting contrast to Lewis in the years to come.
Defensive end – Jacques Dumas is a lock to be on the two-deep, and could the third defensive end in the rotation. Dumas has the instincts of a football player, even if he looks more like a basketball player. Spe