Tuesday Practice Report

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – North Carolina practiced in shorts and shoulder pads Tuesday, and contact was limited accordingly. Head coach John Bunting addressed the running back battle, progress on the defensive line, freshmen redshirt possibilities and other topics afterwards.

True freshman Ronnie McGill missed practice again Tuesday with an illness and Jacque Lewis was still out with a bruised thigh. Chad Scott, who missed a couple of days of practice because of an hamstring injury, was back today. North Carolina head coach John Bunting expressed some concern about the camp injuries at tailback.

"Our biggest problem (with injuries) has been at running back," Bunting said. "Ronnie McGill hasn't practiced in four or five days. That's the biggest concern I have right now. Willie Parker, I don't think has ever missed a practice due to an injury, so he's a remarkable guy, and that's key too.

"What was a strength coming in -- and the competition we expected -- has basically been a one-man show. Chad Scott has been in and out some. When he does play, he plays well, and I'm hopeful he'll play extremely well when we get started. He's had his share, Ronnie's been out, Jacque has been out, so it's a one-horse show, right now."

Running back coach Andre' Powell still expects a running-back-by-committee approach.

"The starter would probably be Willie Parker if we had to play three days from now," Powell said. "He hasn't missed a practice, and he's had a good camp. From that standpoint, that's who it would be. But, again, they are going to have to play roles: run, block, and go in and out in certain situations. If we played tomorrow and had 75 snaps on offense, I don't think any of them would get over 30 snaps—that's good and bad.

"The good thing is they should be fresh, and the way we plan to insert them should cause some problems for defenses. [On the other hand], I don't know if we have a guy who can go in the game and play 70 plays and be really good at all the things we want our back to do."

Bunting spoke favorably about the progress of the defensive line, and singled out a surprise player as a candidate for the two-deep chart there.

"I've seen a tremendous amount of progress on the defensive line," Bunting said. "A guy that just passed us here, as we print the two-deep tomorrow, you will be surprised to see Kyndraus Guy on the two-deep. Here's a guy not a lot of people know about. People talk about the Bynums and the Isaiah Thomases and those guys, but Kyndraus Guys has really had a great camp.

"Also, I've seen some really good signs from the Alden Blizzards. Jacques Dumas has had a fine camp, along with Madison Hedgecock and Tommy Davis. I'm pleased up front with Jonas Seawright, Chase Page. Isaac Mooring has come off of an injury and is starting to get back into shape. I'm happy with the defensive line. We have a chance to play well up there, based on what I've seen."

At this point, it seems that none of North Carolina's touted class of linebackers or wide receivers will redshirt this season.

"I think all of them (freshmen linebackers) are going to be excellent," Bunting said. "Joe Kedra is going to be a great linebacker. Larry Edwards and Freddy Sparkman from Tennessee -- those guys are going to be tremendous. They will touch the field right away; there is no holding them back. They may end up being starters before it's all over. Right now, I project them to be core special teams players, and that is saying something."

As for the freshmen wide receivers …

"Adarius [Bowman] was out for a day or so, but he's back and looks good," Bunting continued. "Jesse Holley has looked good and Mike Mason. I expect all three of those guys to get on the field and play this year. They will be fine players."

Bunting also indicated that while punter John Lafferty holds an edge, David Woolridge is making it a fight for the starting job.

"Right now the edge is Lafferty, but Wooldridge is right on his heels. That's a real heat right now. It's probably going to go down to game day next week."

Notes: In addition to McGill and Lewis, Brian Rackley (shoulder), Jeff Longhany (hip flexor), Doug Justice (hip pointer), and Daunte' Fields (shoulder), missed practice today.

(J.B. Cissell contributed to this report.)

Inside Carolina Top Stories