Tuesday was the first time in nearly two weeks that the Tar Heel football program had media availability, as Power Echols, Kamari Morales and Dontavius Nash all spoke in individual press conferences. Here is a look at our takeaways from their comments as the Tar Heels returned to the practice field following a week long pause for spring break.
Dontavius Nash Continuing to Impress with First Team
This has been one of the biggest storylines so far in the spring and continues to be one of the focal points of the pressers. Nash, who Brown said prior to the start of spring practice would get more reps because of the injuries, confirmed that he has been taking first-team reps, ones that have clearly paid off for him so far. Kamari Morales raved about what he has experienced going against Nash so far this spring, echoing some of the compliments that we have heard from the coaching staff and fellow players earlier in the spring. Nash said that some of the guys who were banged up entering the spring have begun to return, but it will be interesting to monitor his reps in the fall to see just how impactful this spring has been for him.
Gene Chizik Getting Rave Reviews for Simplicity of Defense
In his three seasons with the Tar Heels, we heard repeatedly about the simplicity of the Jay Bateman scheme. Since the change at defensive coordinator, multiple players have made comments that seem to point to the fact that the system in place may not have been as simplistic as it was being made out to be. Every player who has been asked about the defense points to the simpler system that is in place and one that allows them to be more aggressive. Chizik’s system is getting rave reviews so far and let’s hope that that will translate to more success on the field.
Tight Ends Set to Be More Involved This Season
I know we’ve heard this before, but it seems like there is a better chance this year than any of the prior years that it will happen in 2022. Mack Brown mentioned prior to the start of spring ball that Bryson Nesbit was going to be taking reps out of the slot and as Morales mentioned on Tuesday, the team has been using a lot of two tight ends sets so far in spring practice. It’s way too early to tell at this point whether that is something that will actually carry over into the fall. However, with the production that Morales and Nesbit have had in the reps that they played a year ago and the uncertainty that still lies in the wide receiving corps outside of Josh Downs and Antoine Green, it’s not crazy to think there won’t be more involvement from the tight ends this season.
Tylee Craft Announces Cancer Diagnosis
This wasn’t something that was mentioned in the media sessions, but on Wednesday afternoon, Craft announced the news that he had been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. The junior receiver said in a post on his social media account that he was diagnosed back on March 14th after a visit to the hospital for back pain. He has already begun chemotherapy and says that his goal is to get back on the field as soon as possible. We here at the Heel Tough Blog are wishing the best to Tylee and the Craft family and hope to see him back on the field as soon as possible.