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August 13, 2012Following Monday morning's practice---the twelfth so far of training camp for North Carolina during this summer's training camp---head coach Larry Fedora spoke with reporters.
"It's 12 practices today. 12 straight practices. They're tired. They're sore. There's frustration because you've got coaches in them all the time. It's a good thing. It's exactly where we need to be right now," Fedora said.
Carolina's first-year head coach acted as though Saturday's scrimmage in Kenan Stadium was a long, long time ago although it was barely 48 hours prior, but having watched the scrimmage live and then extensively on film, he was ready to get back on the practice fields Monday and back to work.
"Golly, that was what? Four, six, days ago?" Fedora joked about the scrimmage. "It was good. We had some really good things in the scrimmage. We had some things that weren't good. It was a typical first scrimmage."
"I think the freshmen, it opened their eyes as far as the intensity and the tempo that it takes to be able to sustain that. But there were some really good things throughout it."
"Kareem Martin did some really nice things. Kevin Reddick was all over the field making plays everywhere. I mean, he was everywhere. Eric Ebron made some really nice plays. No. 26 (Giovani Bernard) made some nice plays. Up front Jonathan Cooper did some really good things," Fedora added.
Although UNC lost Reggie Wilkins to an injury in the scrimmage, and others such as Russell Bodine and Erik Highsmith weren't going full-go either Monday morning, the Tar Heels got back a couple of guys, including Brennan Williams and Shawn Underwood, as well as James Hurst.
For the first time since training camp convened we saw both Williams and Underwood practicing full speed without limited contact red jerseys.
"It's nice to have those guys back, and the great thing about it is we got Travis Bond a bunch of reps at the right tackle in case he has to go there. And then you've got some of those younger guys stepping up at guard, Landon Turner, and then you had the Caleb Peterson kid. You have other guys vying for that spot, and they've gotten a lot of reps, which is good," Fedora said.
Without Bodine the Tar Heels have looked at senior Peyton Jenest, as well as redshirt freshman Jarrod James at the center position. Jenest, who also has experience at left guard, worked with the first team at center on Monday.
"I think (with Jenest in the scrimmage) probably the first series the balls (shotgun snaps) were all high and all over the place," Fedora said. "And then he settled down and did a nice job. That's like the quarterback of that offensive line, and you get thrown out there and be the guy at that position, that's tough. But he did a nice job."
True freshman Quinshad Davis could definitely help UNC's depth situation at wide receiver, and it appears he's getting closer to taking the practice field for the first time live with the Tar Heels.
Fedora hinted that once Davis gets final clearance from doctors, he could be practicing as soon as UNC's next two-a-day round on Wednesday.
"Yeah, I think we're real close (with Davis)," Fedora said. "It's good. I think there's a couple of signatures to be made, and then we're ready to go. I'm anticipating him being out here on Wednesday is what I've been told. We don't have much depth right now (at wide receiver). And so we need that body out there and we need him learning, because we hope that he's going to contribute."
While UNC's depth at wide receiver is clearly shaky heading into the second full week of camp, things look a lot stronger along the defensive line, particularly with the return of Underwood.
Tim Jackson appears to be settled in for the foreseeable future at the three-technique defensive tackle position, and even with Underwood's return to the defensive rotation, Jackson was seen at practicing working in with the first-team unit on Monday.
"Tim is a guy that has grown into the inside. So he's been a guy that has been a defensive end and he still has the explosiveness now that we've moved him inside because he's gotten bigger. He gives us some quality depth inside and is vying for a starting spot right now," Fedora said.
Another defensive lineman that has been impressive so far this summer is true freshman Jessie Rogers, who recorded five tackles on Saturday.
Fedora indicated that Rogers is one of the true freshmen in strong position to play right away for the Tar Heels this fall, and on Monday he was seen working with the second-team defensive rotation.
"Jessie had five tackles in the scrimmage the other day in the reps that he got. So he's really, really doing a nice job. I think he's proven at this point in camp that he's going to be a contributor on our defense," he said.
At tight end, Ebron still appears to be the primary target for quarterback Bryn Renner, although we've been hearing good things all summer about Tabb.
Tabb wasn't practicing Monday, but Fedora continues to speak highly of both he, Ebron, and fellow young tight end Sean Fitzpatrick.
"It (tight end) is the one position on the field that I feel like we have good, quality depth," Fedora said. "That's the only one in the entire team. And so we've got enough depth to get us through a season and be good at that position."
"Ebron is playing well. Jack Tabb is solid and really a good football player. Jack is very mature, very solid. He blocks really well at the point of attack but he catches the ball real well. He's more athletic than people give him credit for. And 'Fitz is doing a heck of a job. So I'm really pleased with that tight end position," Fedora said.
"They've all three got different personalities, as you all well know. And they all contribute something differently also."