CHAPEL HILL – For three games, one of North Carolina’s most promising receivers was shut out of the end zone.
Mack Hollins reacquainted himself with that area against Delaware last weekend.
“It just felt good to cross the goal line this season,” Hollins said after practice on Tuesday. “I think to get that out of the way before ACC play, it felt good.”
Hollins re-emerged as North Carolina’s best deep threat with three catches for 100 yards and two touchdowns. It was the first game he scored in since the win at Duke last November.
Hollins has caught six passes for 132 yards and two touchdowns on the season. He believes his slow start was more about what he was doing than defensive schemes.
“I dropped too many balls,” Hollins said. “I had, I think, three or four drops in the first three games, which I can’t be doing, because it’s my job to catch the ball.”
Despite the drops, Hollins never got down on himself.
“I’m going to have confidence no matter what,” he said. “Just because I’m a receiver, that’s how receivers are supposed to be. So, it’s not going make a difference. I’ll have the confidence whether I catch the ball or not.”
Wide receivers coach Gunter Brewer believes Hollins’ presence as a deep threat completes his receiving corps.
“Any time you can have somebody take the top off, or what they call stretch the defense, it’s beneficial to you, because they can’t constrict down on you,” Brewer said. “Everybody has their niche. Quinshad (Davis) has caught a lot of back-shoulder balls, Bug (Howard) has caught over-the-top and some jump-balls, Mack’s stretched the field, (Ryan) Switzer’s gotten deep on some double moves and some things, and some other guys have contributed, such as (Austin) Proehl and (Damien) Washington, so everybody’s doing their job.”
After Hollins’ big day, each of North Carolina’s top four receivers has caught a touchdown this year. It’s a promising sign from an experienced group, and it keeps teams from zoning in on one receiver.
"They haven’t yet because we are balanced,” Brewer said. “I’m sure there’s a point in time where they may take a certain position out of the scheme, but that’s where the other guys have to step up, and that’s when that balance is so important.”