This offseason around Tar Heel football has been one of excitement and expectations, but there have been plenty of questions about just what this team, primarily the offense will look like. On Monday, we got the release of the official depth chart ahead of the team’s season opener against Virginia Tech. Let’s take a look at some of the biggest takeaways from this afternoon’s release.
No Injury Information Can Be Taken From the Release
Some people were hoping that the depth chart could be used to discern some of the injury statuses of others who were questionable as of this week. Unfortunately, it didn’t as Beau Corrales’ name was listed in the two-deep after being declared out earlier today. This means that both Brian Anderson and Khafre Brown’s statuses remain up in the air as of right now. Something worth noting, though, is that both guys are listed as backups at their position, something that is extremely notable for Anderson, who has started 22 of the last 23 games at center for the Tar Heels.
Chris Collins Starting at Outside Linebacker
Des Evans has been raved about throughout the fall and is one of the main guys that has been talked about when it comes to pass rushers who could win one-on-one assignments in the front seven. Veteran Tyrone Hopper also returned to the group after starting ten games and playing in all twelve games last year. However, on Monday, Chris Collins was listed opposite of Tomon Fox, not Evans or Hopper. There will be a lot of rotation up front defensively from the first game of the season, so both will have the opportunity to rotate in, but this is definitely a little bit of a surprise, especially with everything that we heard about Evans this fall.
D.J. Jones Appears to Be the Third Running Back in the Rotation
A couple of weeks ago, Mack Brown revealed that Caleb Hood had shown enough to be the No. 2 running back behind Ty Chandler on the depth chart and the search for that third option in the backfield was now the focus. It appears that D.J. Jones has emerged as that guy. On Monday he was listed as one of the three options in the backfield and Hood was listed with an “OR’ next to his name suggesting that both guys will share snaps in this Friday’s game. Chandler will likely see the most carries of the group but Hood and Jones will almost certainly see some solid reps themselves in Blacksburg.
McMichael and Duck Battling For Starting Corner Job
The corner spots were ones that Brown talked about last week when talking about the best battles that were taking place in camp and the depth chart showed that. Duck was reportedly still limited at the start of camp but said himself a couple of weeks ago that he was back to being a full participant in camp and practice. That has him locked in a battle on the outside with McMichael, who started eight of the nine games that he played in last year, for the starting job after he missed the last ten games of last season with a lower extremity injury. Both guys will likely see time against Virginia Tech, but this will be interesting to monitor throughout the early part of the season to see if someone stands out between the two in the fierce battle for reps.
Still No Separation at Backup Quarterback
One of the main battles that Brown was hoping to get clearance on over this past week was the one for the backup quarterback position. As the release on Monday shows, this week wasn’t able to solve that question mark. Sophomore Jacolby Criswell is the first quarterback of the two listed, but there is an “OR” next to his name, meaning true Drake Maye is still pushing for the chance to earn those second-team reps. The hope is that the two won’t be needed to play a major role this season, but the staff will without a doubt continue to push for separation at the position. The game against Georgia State next Saturday could provide the next major opportunity for separation between the two.