This season, Mondays around Tar Heel football have been a little more stressful than in the past due to the volume of issues that the team has had to deal with health-wise. Prior to Mack Brown taking the stand to talk to the press, the team announced that they would be without two veterans on Saturday against Duke, while the team will monitor two others throughout the week.
Graduate defensive tackle Raymond Vohasek and senior defensive back Don Chapman will be out for a second consecutive game with upper body injuries. Brown complimented Kevin Hester Jr. on how well he performed against Miami and he will be counted on heavily once again on Saturday with Vohasek out. Chapman’s injury means that Giovanni Biggers will likely be counted on to play a significant amount of snaps against the Blue Devils. There is one unknown element at safety, though, in the form of junior Ja’Qurious Conley, who is still attempting to return from the lower body injury he suffered late last season. If he can play, expect to see him rotate in a little with Biggers.
Senior offensive guard William Barnes and sophomore linebacker RaRa Dillworth will be monitored throughout the week with upper body injuries of their own. Barnes, who went down with the injury in the third quarter of Saturday’s game, is the most important of any of the guys that we’ve talked about so far with how good he has been at right guard for the team this season. Without him in the lineup, the Tar Heels would have to start Jonathan Adorno full-time, who started the game against Georgia State at right guard when Spencer Rolland was inactive. He has been a bit inconsistent at times, especially in pass protection. At linebacker, the team used Malaki Hamrick as the rotational guy behind Power Echols and Cedric Gray and it is safe to assume that would be the plan again if it is needed.
The good news is that running back Caleb Hood did not appear on the injury report after leaving the game early in the 4th quarter on Saturday. That ended a career day for him early, where he piled up 124 yards from scrimmage, the most of any Tar Heel skill position player against the Hurricanes.