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Make-or-break position battle: North Carolina

8/18/2015

We're breaking down the biggest fall-camp position battles in the ACC for each team. Up next, North Carolina.

Position battle: Strong safety

The candidates: Junior Dominiquie Green is the most experienced of the group, starting 22 games in his first two seasons at UNC, but this spring, true freshman J.K. Britt took command of the position and ended up atop the depth chart.

The impact: The scheme on D will be completely new this season with Gene Chizik taking over the coordinator role, but that's not the biggest reason for Britt's ascendance. Chizik wants to see fundamentals and physicality above all else this season, and during spring practice, Britt seemed much more adept at displaying those characteristics.

UNC's defense was a mess last season, and the safeties certainly didn't help things. The Heels led the ACC in missed tackles, finished 12th in yards allowed per rush after contact and surrendered the second-most plays of 20-plus yards of any defense in the country.

As an early enrollee this spring, Britt showed poise, confidence and -- most importantly -- an eye for the football. He wasn't fooled or out of position often, and he was happy to play physically. Officially, he opened fall camp as a co-starter at strong safety, but Green will need to show his experience can translate into better production if he wants to keep the job.

Prediction: There's really nowhere to go but up for the Tar Heels' D, and Chizik gave everyone a clean slate this spring. Britt took that opportunity and ran with it, but whether it was a true reward for a strong performance or a challenge to the veteran to get better remains to be seen. Here's betting the freshman builds on that foundation though and wins the job when the season starts.