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Heel Tough Blog: Lane Will Play Saturday; Boykins Will Be Game Time Decision

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Monday was the first game week press conference of the year for Mack Brown and the Tar Heels ahead of the team’s important matchup with South Carolina in Charlotte. There was plenty of talk about the status of the team heading into Saturday, including a full breakdown of each position group. As he was talking about the defensive back room, Brown offered up an update on where things stand with two guys who have been banged up and missed some time recently.

Georgia State transfer Stick Lane got banged up early in fall camp and we hadn’t heard much about him since, but Brown confirmed that he will be available for the team against South Carolina. With the amount of time that it appears he has missed this month, it’s hard to tell just how impactful he can be because he has so few reps in Gene Chizik’s system, but having someone who can play both safety and nickel is some nice security for this room.

Lane spent the first four years of his college career with the Panthers where he was one of the most productive defensive players in the Sun Belt. The three-time all-Sun Belt member registered 226 total tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, eleven interceptions and 13 passes defended in his four years with the Panthers.

His ability to play the nickel could come in handy on Saturday with the status of DeAndre Boykins still up in the air. Brown said Monday that they are waiting to see what he looks like on Saturday before they make a decision on whether or not he will actually play.

Boykins started all fourteen games in the nickel a year ago and played the most snaps of anyone on the team with 931 snaps. He finished fourth on the team in total tackles with 67 but did have his struggles in coverage, allowing 58 receptions and 724 yards receiving in the 78 times he was targeted.

If Boykins can not go, it looks like converted running back D.J. Jones will get a serious look at that position. The staff has been very complimentary of what they have seen from him in the past week or so and the hope is that he can give them some valuable reps on Saturday. Alijah Huzzie could also see some snaps in the nickel with how much progress the staff has seen from Tayon Holloway this preseason on the outside.


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