ACC: Jordan Hemby
Here are the injury reports for Thursday night's game between Virginia Tech and North Carolina:
- AJ Blue TB/QB Knee
- Carl Gaskins OT Knee
- Matt Merletti S Knee
- Trevor Stuart DS Knee
- Jamal Womble TB Wrist
- Jordan Hemby DB Concussion
- Ryan Taylor TE Knee
- Joshua Adams WR Shoulder
- Cam Holland C Shoulder
- Jonathan Cooper OG Ankle
- Lowell Dyer C Shoulder
- Linwan Euwall LB Ankle
- Kyle Jolly OT Ankle
- Zack Pianalto TE Concussion
- Devon Ramsay RB Knee
- E.J. Wilson DE Thigh
Out for Season
- Darren Evans (ACL)
- John Graves (ankle)
- Brandon Dillard (ankle)
Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich
The Tar Heels' depth chart for their season opener against Citadel reflects the strength of the team -- stability on defense. With nine returning starters on defense, the only real surprise was that junior Charles Brown beat returning starter Jordan Hemby at cornerback. Brown really started to get an edge there back in the spring, even though Hemby started all 13 games last year.
The one position in flux this summer was at weakside linebacker, where Zach Brown and Kevin Reddick are listed as No. 1 and No. 2, respectively. Neither of them, though, have really played, and they're likely to alternate in a live audition for their job until one of them secures it permanently.
Also, you'll notice that Da'Norris Searcy won the starting job at strong safety, and much will be expected of him there.
Offensively, it's the first time in a long time that a freshman will start on the offensive line. Redshirt freshman Jonathan Cooper is the starter at left guard.
And the backup quarterback position, despite Mike Paulus' limited experience, is as much a question mark as it is around the rest of the ACC. T.J. Yates' backup is listed as either Paulus OR redshirt freshman Braden Hanson. Not exactly a vote of confidence in Paulus.
Johnny White makes for an interesting subplot at receiver, which lists Greg Little and Dwight Jones as the starters, with White and Joshua Adams as their backups. It's not shocking that Little and Jones are the starters, considering their experience, but who the No. 3 receiver was going to be was a question mark, and White obviously has a chance to be that guy.
White started his career as a tailback (his 5,133 yards at Asheville High School broke Charlie "Choo-Choo" Justice's 63-year-old record), but struggled to break tackles and make guys miss. Last year, he spent half the season at cornerback before moving back to running back. Now he's got another shot to get comfortable on offense.
Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich
We've talked about players who will be names to remember this fall, but there were also a few who came out of absolutely nowhere this spring, players we had no idea about who weren't necessarily heralded recruits.
Here are five players who caught coaches' attention this spring:
Charles Brown, UNC cornerback: Brown is going to be a junior this year, and was limited last season because of a sprained ankle. Coming out of the spring, he is listed as co-starter with Jordan Hemby and that's impressive considering Hemby started every game last year. Brown, from Ohio, was recruited mostly by schools from the MAC.
Dalton Freeman, center, Clemson: Freeman, a redshirt freshman, has a legitimate chance to challenge Mason Cloy at center. Freeman, of Pelion, S.C., was a top recruit at guard.
Chris Givens, wide receiver, Wake Forest : Givens tore his ACL in his right knee as a junior, then tore it in his left knee and recruiters dropped the speedy Texas recruit. Wake Forest didn't. At the last track meet he ran in high school, Givens ran a 10.09 hand held and 10.22 electronic. Wake's coaches knew he was good, but this spring they realized the redshirt freshman is very good.
Steve Greer, linebacker, Virginia: He traveled with the team to every game as a true freshman, but always sat next to veteran Jon Copper. Coach Al Groh said Greer "almost tried to clone himself" into the same kind of player as Copper.
Travis Ivey, defensive tackle, Maryland: Ivey is a James Franklin recruit who was signed out of Prince George's County in Maryland and was a basketball player. He was a stellar athlete, but not the greatest football player. This spring, it all finally started to come together for him. Ivey, who is about 6-foot-3 and weighs between 320 and 335 pounds, has the body type, can run and is physical.
Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich
|Jeff Gross/Getty Images|
|Everett Withers was the defensive backs coach with the Tennessee Titans from 2001-2006.|
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- First-year defensive coordinator Everett Withers was a good hire for North Carolina.
He's got connections all over the place -- he grew up in Charlotte, he worked for Mack Brown at Texas, and he wanted to play at UNC but "wasn't good enough" and instead played defensive back at Appalachian State.
But that's not the reason he seems to be the right man for the job, and it only took 12 minutes in his office today to draw that conclusion. Mainly because of how he answered my non-question about his 2007 Minnesota defense, which ranked 119th out of 119 programs in total defense. With Withers as their defensive coordinator, the Golden Gophers allowed a whopping 518.67 yards per game.
"Don't take this the wrong way," I said, "but Minnesota's defense last year ..."
"Awful," he said, finishing my sentence.
Withers took some blame, saying he might have tried to compensate for a lack of talent with a complicated defense, but probably confused the players instead of helping them. He's not the first defensive coordinator tasked with trying to turn around Minnesota's defense, and the Texas secondary improved from 75th in the nation in pass defense in 1997 to first in 2000, so it's not like he hasn't had results before.
The bottom line is this: Withers thinks he has more talent to work with at UNC and is convinced it's enough for the Tar Heels to be a legitimate contender in the ACC.
"This place is on the right track," he said. "It's on the right track, getting the talent you need to compete and be a BCS team. This program is on that track."
Withers is not trying to change things drastically, rather he's trying to simplify things for a defense that, as linebacker Chase Rice put it, doesn't want to "have to think when we're out there, because when we think, that's no good for any defense."
Especially one with so many questions at cornerback.
"Everett, his attention to detail has been very, very good in the secondary because he's got a huge challenge, not only being the defensive coordinator, but it's an area of enormous scrutiny with this football team," coach Butch Davis said. "We feel very comfortable with the safeties. We think we've got four, maybe five safeties who are pretty good players. But corner is truly really an unsettled situation. I think his experience is giving those guys confidence, having coached the corners an awful lot. They trust him, they believe in him. He did it in the NFL. There's that willingness to listen to him."
So far, Kendric Burney has one starting spot, but there is tough competition between Jordan Hemby and Charles Brown at the other spot. Hemby, a junior, is finally healthy after being injured each of the past two seasons, and Brown is a sophomore who made nine starts as a true freshman in 2007 at either cornerback or nickel back.
"The kids are working hard," Withers said. "All of those kids have gotten better since we ended in the spring. I've gotta help them some and not put them in situations where they're going to be exposed all the time, but they're working hard and they're competing. We've got our hands full, but we'll compete and fight."
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