Today was the first day in full pads. What follows are notes and observations from today's morning practice.
- Several players did not practice due to minor injuries. True frosh running back Mahlon Carey was out with an injury to his Achille's tendon, offensive lineman Jeb Terry sat out with an ankle injury, and middle linebacker Doug Justice missed practice because of a groin pull. None of the injuries are considered serious and all three should return to practice in the near future.
- The attrition at the middle linebacker spot continued during practice as Sean Williams and Victor Worsley also missed portions of practice for minor injuries. At one point in practice, the only middle linebacker able to go was walkon Martin Jernigan. Williams and Worsley did return to practice however. The Tar Heels are very thin and the linebacker spots.
- The depth at the wide receiver spot may receive a boost because from appearances Brandon Russell may be able to go this year. The tape on his left hand he wore in previous practices was gone, and only his left wrist is taped. He did not appear to have difficulty catching the ball and following practice Coach Bunting said he was pleased with his progress. Bunting did not say if a decision had been made regarding Russell at this point, but from appearances he will be ready to go.
- In addition to the news about Russell, frosh Derrele Mitchell has continued the flare he showed during frosh practice and should make a solid contribution this season. Not only is Mitchell tall (6-4), but he also has good speed and can jump as well. Danny Rumley has also showed well in practices. Daunte Fields, who missed some practice because of a pulled hamstring was back today. The losses of Kory Bailey and Bosley Allen made this a less impressive group of wide receivers on paper, and if Russell were unable to go, significantly less experienced. With the addition of Jawarski Pollock, Mitchell, Rumley (and perhaps one or more true frosh), and with it appearing Russell may be ready to go by the Miami of Ohio game, this group appears to have the potential to be just as strong as last year's group.
- Senior Malcolm Stewart continues to be impressive. He broke up a couple of passes in drills today, and is strong in pass coverage.
- Reserve cornerback Chris Hawkins appears to have made significant progress. He intercepted two passes today in drills. The secondary seems to just keep getting deeper, as Defonte Coleman looks good as well.
- For future reference, transfer Rikki Cook (is not eligible to play this season), who was measured at 6'0" and weighed in at 253 pounds is practicing as a tail back and not at full back.
Inside Carolina will bring you a report after evening practice.