Evening Football Practice Report

The UNC defense looked strong, while offense sputters.

The first full-contact scrimmage held a few surprises.  What follows are our observations from practice:

  • Florida transfer C.J. Stephens lead the first team offense, while sophomore Darian Durant directed the second unit.  Neither quarterback looked sharp, and offensive coordinator Gary Tranquill had lots to say all evening. 
  • Contributing to the quarterbacks' struggles was a defensive secondary, and a defense as a whole, that gave receivers little room to operate.  Pass breakups and coverage sacks were the order of the day as receivers had to fight hard to gain separation.  Redshirt frosh Jawarski Pollock probably was the most successful in that regard. 
  • Safety Defonte Coleman practiced with the first unit on defense, and delivered several pad-popping blows.  Linebacker Malcolm Stewart again showed good skills in pass coverage, but seemed to jam a finger on one breakup and was held out the rest of practice. 
  • The best play in the offensive playbook seemed to be the fullback dive to Madison Hedgecock.  Don't be surprised for Hedgecock to exceed his total carries in 2001 (1) by the end of the first quarter of the Miami (Ohio) game.  He made the defense resemble bowling pins after a strike on a couple of occasions.
  • In the passing game, the best pass and catch of the night may have come from redshirt frosh Matt Baker to true frosh Michael Gilmore, which went for about 30 yards.   
  • Senior Eric Davis appears to have the starting spot next to Will Chapman, who appeared to play without any noticeable effects from his knee injury. 
  • Running back Willie Parker, sometimes called "The Clinton Bypass" because of his tendency to always take the ball to the outside, seems to be learning to run between the tackles and did so successfully on one particular play.  Andre Williams participated in the scrimmage and also seems fully recovered. 
  • On balance, it is surprising that the defense appeared to have the upper hand against a more veteran offensive unit all evening.  "Dominating" may be a bit too strong a word to describe the performance of the defense, but not by much. 

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