Updated: Aug 20, 2022
Mack Brown’s press conference on Tuesday was one that was filled with more praise about the performance of this year’s team as opposed to last year and more questions about the quarterback battle. Prior to all of that, though, Brown revealed some important injury news about some key contributors, primarily along the offensive line. Here is a look at those that are or have been banged up and the impacts that those injuries have on the team.
Brown did not specify how much time Barnes missed, but as you’ll see below, he is one of a few guys on that right side of the offensive line that has missed time. It doesn’t seem like there is much concern here, as it appears that he is back now, but this is part of what has complicated things on the right side of the unit.
All of the major news from Brooks injury was released over the weekend, but Brown did discuss the plans for him this season. As someone who has told Brown that he wants to get into coaching, he will help coach and mentor the running backs and special teams this season alongside Larry Porter. Brown also revealed that Brooks will have the option to return next season for what would be his seventh season with the program.
Cavazos was one of those guys who entered the fall with a chance to be the top rotational corner on the outside behind Tony Grimes and Storm Duck despite joining the team back in the summer. The good news for the team is that the plan is for him to be ready to go for the opener, but this means that it is on Dae Dae Hollins and Dontae Balfour to battle it out for that top rotational role for now.
Speaking of Duck, Brown mentioned that he has just recently returned to the practice field at full speed after getting banged up. This is a little bit concerning considering his issues he had staying on the field. The Tar Heels need him to be healthy to start the season, especially with Cavazos behind the curve.
Brown really didn’t reveal anything new about Green’s status, but he did confirm the timeline that was laid out last week. Brown reiterated that the hope right now is that he can return before the September 24th meeting with Notre Dame. For now, it’s one the rest of that group to step up, including the two true freshman summer enrollees, who Brown raved about on Tuesday.
Green has been out for a while now according to Brown and still remains out as of right now. He had shown some nice things for this team in the spring and was set to challenge for a rotational role this season, but there is no doubt that this will stymie his progress a little. The hope has to be that this will allow some of the depth deeper on the offensive line depth chart to get some valuable reps to allow them to be ready to play if needed.
This was another guy who it was concerning to see pop up on an injury report again after the issues he had staying on the field last year. This offseason hasn’t provided better luck as he missed a good portion of spring camp and has now been out for most of the fall with a lower leg injury. He has practiced the last two days, but this has put him behind the eight ball in the battle at running back and with Brooks’ injury, it’s becoming more and more likely that the two true freshmen, George Pettaway and Omarion Hampton, will play substantial snaps early in the year.
Rice is yet another player attempting to earn reps on that right side of the offensive line that has missed some time so far in camp. Rice missed five practices with an upper body injury, costing him some important reps as he pushes for a starting role.
Rolland has had to miss some practice for a non-injury issue. Due to the business graduate degree that he is pursuing, he has had to be off the field a few times throughout camp. With him off the field, this was supposed to be an opportunity for guys like Rice and Barnes to step up but instead has challenged the deeper depth at the tackle spot to play a bigger roles than expected.