CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Bug Howard has always been a wide receiver with tight end size. This season, it’s possible to see Howard moonlight as a tight end in the slot.
Howard has gotten several reps at tight end during North Carolina’s training camp, lining up along side split end Quinshad Davis, A-back Ryan Switzer and flanker Mack Hollins.
“I told Coach [Gunter Brewer] I want to work inside-outside, to be more versatile and to get in there with those guys,” Howard said following practice on Monday.
His inclusion in the slot gives quarterback Marquise Williams his four best targets on the field at the same time.
“With Quinshad and Mack, I can be right there in the mix with them, and we can have Switzer on the other side," Howard said. "And then we can go all big and have everybody over 6-3 on the field at the same time.”
Howard enters the 2015 season following a sophomore campaign that saw his numbers improve significantly. While he caught two fewer touchdown passes in 2014 than in 2013, he caught 20 more passes for 177 more yards.
Howard is one of the Tar Heels’ best jump-ball receivers. His 6-5 height and 39.5-inch vertical leap makes him a red-zone threat. A set involving Howard, Davis and Hollins would challenge most opposing secondaries.
According to Howard, he can also run-block at the tight end position.
“I’ve got the big boy weight now, 215, so I can stand in there with a linebacker and take on a linebacker and that won’t be a problem,” he said.
As for how often fans can expect to see Howard on the inside, Davis played his cards close to his chest.
“We’re gonna leave that as a surprise," he said. "We’re going to keep that on the low right now.”
Howard Taking Snaps at TE
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