After a week off due to the bye week, head coach Mack Brown spoke with the media for the first time since the Georgia State postgame on Monday. Prior to him speaking, the Tar Heels released the latest injury report as they begin their preparations for this weekend’s game with Notre Dame in Chapel Hill.
Two key players in the trenches for the Tar Heels have returned to practice and will be ready to go for Saturday. Defensive tackle Myles Murphy was banged up early in the second half of the Georgia State game and likely would have been questionable if the team had played this past weekend, but the week off will allow him to be ready to go. Meanwhile, on the offensive side of the ball, Spencer Rolland is a full go and will have a chance to return to a starting role this weekend, although it may not be at his right tackle spot. There are some reports that he has instead been taking snaps at right guard, which would mean that William Barnes would be the starter at right tackle for the time being.
Also amongst those that will return to the lineup this weekend is senior defensive back Don Chapman. Following the news of his arrest, he did not travel with the team to Atlanta for the Georgia State game, but as Brown made clear in his press conference this morning, he was never off the team. Brown confirmed that with the information that they have right now, Chapman will travel with the team this weekend and be active.
The staff monitor three players throughout the week in hopes that they can play on Saturday. Wide receiver Josh Downs was someone that many were hoping might be ready to go from his knee sprain that he suffered in the opener, but that doesn’t appear to be the case. Despite missing the last two games and the bye week, it looks like there is still a chance that the Tar Heels could be without their preseason All-American receiver once again this weekend.
Fellow wide receiver Antoine Green is attempting to return from a collarbone injury that he suffered in the first scrimmage of fall camp and the hope was that he would be able to play this weekend. The good news is that his return is still on the table, but the team will have to evaluate him throughout the week. The good news for the Tar Heels is others have stepped at the position, so if either Downs or Green can’t go, this is a group more than capable of making up for it.
Running back Caleb Hood will also be a game time decision after reaggravating a hamstring injury he suffered in fall camp. If he cannot go, it will be a heavy use of the three-man rotation of Omarion Hampton, D.J. Jones and George Pettaway like it was in Atlanta.
As for Ja’Qurious Conley, the team itself did not include him in their release and Brown seemed to explain why in his press conference. He said that the junior defensive back, who is recovering from a lower-body injury suffered in the Wofford game at the end of last season, has yet to return to the practice field thus far, making it seem like a near certainty that his return will not be on Saturday.