Elzy Ready to Display His Burst

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Anthony Elzy's been labeled a power runner for as long as he can remember. But the redshirt freshman has dropped 20 pounds since weighing in at 225 during spring practice, and has set his sights on the starting running back spot for the Tar Heels this season.

"I was always a power runner – I can't shift or move like Richie Rich and Johnny [White] can," Elzy said.

The Warren, Ohio native believes that a rigorous offseason workout plan has allowed him to develop more speed out of the backfield, providing the opportunity to make big plays from his tailback position.

"Once I feel my way through the line, and I see an opening, I use a burst when I need it," Elzy said. "We've been taught to hit it – as soon as you see a crease or a hole, then you attack."

Head coach Butch Davis mentioned Elzy Friday morning as one of three running backs vying for the starting role, along with sophomore Richie Rich and fellow redshirt freshman Johnny White. The three underclassmen have formed a strong bond over the past year, even though they are in a fierce competition to play on Saturdays this fall.

"We look at it more as helping each other," Elzy said. "We understand that it's competition, but at the same time, we're trying to help each other grow as backs... Short-term, we're fighting for the starting position, but it's a game of battling, and we're going to need each other in the long run."

After nine practices, there seems to be no clear frontrunner in the backfield, with all three backs seeing a variety of snaps on any given day.

"It changes from day-to-day," Elzy said. "The coaches put in what they want to see. Today, it was Johnny getting the bulk of the snaps, yesterday it was me, and the day before was Richie, so it's kind of back and forth. But we learn from each other's mistakes and we coach each other up on this and that."

Elzy and his teammates have survived the first week of Davis' training camp – now there's only three weeks left to go.

"The first week's been very fun," Elzy said. "We've enjoyed it – it's been an experience. We've learned a lot coming from last year. We're growing a lot as a team, and we're expecting to learn a lot more with the week coming up."

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