Football opens spring practice

Chapel Hill, N.C. -- The University of North Carolina football team opened spring practice on a crisp, cool evening with a two-hour workout at the Navy practice fields on Tuesday.

It was the first of 15 practices the Tar Heels will conduct this spring. Tuesday's workout was one of three NCAA mandated practices requiring shorts and helmets. Carolina will practice again in shorts and helmets on Wednesday before doning full pads on Friday.

"We're so far ahead of where we were last year at this time," said head coach John Bunting. "There was a lot of enthusiasm with guys knowing how to practice, knowing some of the schemes and knowing where to go. Chase Page was flying around out there and Jason Brown was working out at center. It was exciting."

Bunting will have to replace eight starters on defense in the fall, including six of the front seven.

"We have a lot of experience in the secondary," said Bunting. "Chase Page is working on the defensive line and we're anxious to get Chapman back. Linebacker is a position we have depth problems and experience problems. But there is some talent there. I think Malcolm Stewart is going to have a breakout senior year."

Among those players missing practice included tailback Andre' Williams who had surgery last Wednesday to repair a disc in his back. Williams, who experienced back pain at the conclusion of the 2001 season, should be ready to practice in the fall. He is expected to compete with Willie Parker and Jacque Lewis for the tailback position in the fall.

Note: The Carolina High School Coaches Clinic will begin Thursday. Coaches from across the state will have the opportunity to watch Carolina's practice and spend time with the UNC coaching staff. Carolina's annual Spring Game is April 13 at 1 p.m. at Kenan Football Stadium.

LINK: Tar Heel Blue photo gallery

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