Friday, August 6, 2010
Opening camp: North Carolina
By ESPN.com staff
Schedule: Not for public release.
What’s new: The NCAA investigation has brought uncertainty to Chapel Hill, as it’s unclear whether or not the findings will have any repercussions for players. If the investigation does not end by the time the season opener against LSU rolls around, coach Butch Davis will have to make a decision as to whether or not to play athletes who could later be ruled ineligible.
Sidelined: Despite the current investigation, a school spokesman said everyone on the two-deep roster is expected to practice today.
Key battle: Left tackle. Junior Carl Gaskins and freshman James Hurst are both trying to replace three-year starter Kyle Jolly. Hurst enrolled in January and impressed the coaches this spring. He is a member of the ESPNU 150. Gaskins was competing for the right tackle spot last year but suffered a season-ending torn ACL during the preseason. He was limited in the spring, but is healthy and ready for fall camp.
New on the scene: Jonathan Cooper at center. Last year he played guard, but is expected now to anchor a line in need of improvement. He moved to center this past spring and last year had a team-best 40 knockdown blocks despite missing three games with an ankle injury.
Breaking out: Middle linebacker Kevin Reddick. Quan Sturdivant and Bruce Carter get all of the attention, but Reddick is just as good and has the potential to be better. He’s fast, physical and became a starter as a true freshman last year when he started the last seven games. He finished the regular season with 45 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss and one pass breakup.
Don’t forget about: Defensive end Tydreke Powell. He will replace Cam Thomas and could be the next top draft pick for the Tar Heels. He’s the player who stripped the ball from Ryan Williams in the surprising road win over Virginia Tech. He’s a powerful player and was in the regular rotation last year.
All eyes on: Quarterback T.J. Yates. He had 15 interceptions last year and will be pushed this summer by backup Bryn Renner. Davis said he doesn’t need to see Renner in a game situation to make a change in the starting lineup, but it’s Yates’ job to lose.
Quotable: “The only instruction we gave the players was ‘tell the truth.’” -- Davis on the NCAA investigation.
More teams opening camp.