CHAPEL HILL, N.C.--<i>Inside Carolina</i>'s J.B. Cissell spoke with senior cornerback Michael Waddell and head coach John Bunting [<i>pictured</i>] on Saturday after practice to catch up on how things are progressing.
Friday was the first running back contact drill and all four players in contention for playing time (Scott, Parker, Lewis, McGill) made positive plays; Parker is picking up where he left off in the spring, hitting the hole fast, rather than always bouncing it outside.
"He looks extremely physical right now," Bunting said. "He looks as good as I've ever seen him. He looked good in the spring. He's stronger and has a lot of confidence. He's looking and taking the hole. He's not getting to the line of scrimmage and studder-[stepp]ing. He's taking what he sees a lot better. I haven't seen him bounce a play yet."
A lot on both sides of the ball is being thrown at the players early, with the plan to have everything installed by the middle of next week. "Then it will be cleaning up—repping and repping the defenses and the offenses," Bunting said.
The first two and one-half hours of practice each day is for the entire squad with the freshmen receiving special attention for the last 30 minutes.
Bunting: "They get to work with the varsity, be around the varsity and see how it's done, and then they get to work by themselves and get some individualized teaching time in terms of scheme."
Micheal Waddell looks quite a bit bigger—much more noticeable without pads—than he did last year. He says his weight is up from 173 to 183. He also says he's gotten stronger without losing any speed or quickness. "I can push 'em a little harder than usual," Waddell said, "and it's harder for them to throw me around like they used to."
After losing his staring position last year, Jupiter Wilson appears to be in the best condition and the strongest he's ever been, according to Bunting. He is expected to compete for a starting job and will make up part of a three-guard rotation, along with Jeb Terry and Kyle Ralph.
Bunting, on Saturday's practice stand-outs: "Jarwarski Pollock made some plays. I like what I see in Jesse Holley and [Mike] Mason. Jonas Seawright is doing some good things. I think the linebackers are flowing very, very well to the ball, which is excellent. I saw some good secondary play, some good adjustments. 'Tranq' is throwing the whole kitchen sink at them right away, and they are adjusting well. The backs impress—McGill, Jacque Lewis, Willie Parker. I think he's on a mission. Chad Scott—once again, each practice he does something that I think is really special. The offensive line is really coming together. The quarterbacks—it's going to be very interesting to watch the back-up situation. Darian is on target."
Lionell Green practiced with the team in a limited capacity on Saturday but wore #1 instead of #38 that was being held for him and that is still unused by any other players on the team.
According to Michael Waddell, Green worked on hand drills and foot drills and watched to learn the scheme. He also fielded some punts and looked "very smooth," according to Bunting, but was "exhausted" after the eight-minute session, which indicates that he still has a lot of conditioning work to do.
Some of the positions are fluid for the first two weeks of practice. Specifically at the two safety positions, Mahlon Carey moved from strong safety to free safety on Saturday and Michael Harris moved from free safety to strong safety. Kareen Taylor is going to get snaps with both first and second units—probably the fastest safety, according to Bunting.