GoHeels Exclusive: Opening Scrimmage Observations

GoHeels Exclusive: Opening Scrimmage Observations

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By Pat James
 
Through the first five practices of fall camp, four of which didn't include full pads, only subtle observations could be made about this year's North Carolina football team.
 
But that started changing Tuesday.
 
The Tar Heels hosted their first scrimmage of camp on Tuesday morning at Kenan Stadium, commencing the real evaluation period at nearly every position for Larry Fedora and his coaching staff.
 
Here are a few notes from the scrimmage:
 
Play of the day
 
With grey clouds hanging over the stadium, there appeared to be a lack of intensity on the field during the first possession, when the offense was forced to punt after just six plays.
 
Corey Bell Jr. quickly changed that.
 
On the ensuing possession, Bell made a quick adjustment on a tipped crossing route, caught the deflected ball, and returned the interception roughly 30 yards for a touchdown.
 
The pick-six triggered a loud eruption from the defensive players and coaches along the visitor's sideline and set the tone for the rest of practice.
 
Three who stood out
 
Dazz Newsome: It was difficult to ignore the freshman on either offense or special teams. He provided the best special teams play of the morning on the first punt of the day, quickly tackling the return man after less than a yard. Newsome also showed how dangerous he can be in space on a pair of punt returns (roughly 35 total yards) and a carry for about 15 yards.
 
Chazz Surratt: The dual-threat quarterback shined as both a runner and a thrower. On a third-and-long midway through practice, he dropped in a perfect pass over two defenders for a 20-plus-yard completion to Anthony Ratliff-Williams. Surratt later carried the ball three times for approximately 27 yards on one drive, which concluded with a 30-yard touchdown run by M.J. Frazier.  
 
Jordan Cunningham: He registered the best grab of the day when he snagged a deep ball from Harris for roughly 40 yards and completed the process of a catch through the ground with two defenders draping him.
 
Other observations
  • Fedora lauded Brandon Harris' arm strength during Monday's press conference, and it was easy to see why on multiple occasions Tuesday, such as his deep ball to Cunningham.
  • Nathan Elliott's first possession lasted only two plays thanks to the quarterback rushing about 50 yards for a touchdown on an option play.
  • Elliott's touchdown run followed a gain of about 20 yards on a jet sweep by Beau Corrales, who later hauled in a 22-yard reception.
  • Dajaun Drennon broke up a pass at the line of scrimmage on a third-and-long. That wasn't Drennon's lone impact play, as he also blew up a run for a loss of five after the offense picked up 22 yards on the previous play for a first down. The offense didn't gain any yards after Drennon's tackle for loss and was forced to punt.
  • Jordon Riley also proved to be quite disruptive, stuffing a run play behind the line of scrimmage on one third down and then recording a sack on another.
  • J.K. Britt's leaping breakup of a pass down the left sideline was one of the best plays made by the secondary.
  • Practice concluded with a two-minute drill. On the final possession, Freeman Jones nailed a 43-yard field goal to end the scrimmage. Jones finished 3-for-3 on field goals, adding a 21-yarder and a 42-yarder.
 
 
 
 
 
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