Tuesday was the opening to spring practice as the Tar Heels took to the practice field for the first time since the Duke’s Mayo Bowl loss to South Carolina. Following the practice, the team’s head coach, Mack Brown, spoke with the media about the first day back and the change at the offensive line coaching position. Here are our three biggest takeaways from what the head coach had to say yesterday.
Hoping to Find Separation At Quarterback But Willing to Go With Two Quarterbacks
It is way too early in this battle to start making speculations, but Brown made sure to address the position that everyone will be focusing on throughout the preseason. Jacolby Criswell, Drake Maye and Conner Harrell took the majority of reps on Tuesday and, according to Brown, they tried to keep things pretty even. He said that he was pretty excited by what he saw from the trio on the first day out there and some of the videos that were surfacing from practice looked encouraging. The most interesting quote of the day, though, may have been when he said he wouldn’t rule out running a two-quarterback system this season, citing the success that he had in the past running the system at both Carolina and with Jason Stanicek and Mike Thomas and Oscar Davenport and Chris Keldorf and at Texas with Major Applewhite and Chris Simms. Right now it is way too early to make an educated prediction but with the fact that all three guys are relatively similar in their skillsets, I find it hard to believe that that will actually be the case.
Offensive Line Has Good First Despite Circumstances
While the quarterbacks were expected to be the biggest headline heading into camp, the news of Stacy Searels departing for Georgia put the focus on an offensive line group that was suddenly without a full-time coach on the first day of practice. The Director of the Koman Game Plan for Success, Kevin Donnalley, stepped in to coach the group on and while Brown talked about how much fun Donnalley had, he stressed just how important it was for them to usher in the new full time guy as soon as possible. Without that full time guy in place yet, though, Brown said that a couple of veteran offensive lineman in Brian Anderson and grad transfer Corey Gaynor stepped up to lead the unit and overall, Brown was happy with what he saw, even from the true freshman Zach Rice, who was noted to have taken some significant snaps with the ‘blue team’. The good news is, the Tar Heels shouldn’t have to wait long to get their new offensive line coach, Jack Bicknell, in and the first couple of practices with no pads really aren’t where the guys in the trenches can really work on things. Those practices will commence following tomorrow’s practice, but will involve one more practice sometime in the remaining thirteen that they go just shells.
2022 Squad Will Be a Youthful One
Brown said on Tuesday that while it will not be an excuse, this is a Tar Heel team that will be extremely young this season and particularly in spring camp. The team will have just fifteen seniors that will be a full go for the spring and the defensive side of the ball as a whole will have to play a ton of underclassmen with the injury issues that they are currently struggling with. Brown pointed to just how young the Tar Heels were going to be in the defensive backfield last Tuesday and reiterated it once again yesterday. The unit is currently without or limiting Storm Duck, Ja’Qurious Conley, Giovanni Biggers, Don Chapman and Dae Dae Hollins, a group that is a third of the total members of the defensive back room.