Football notebook: August 21

If you’ve been living under a rock, or purposefully avoiding any football news recently, let me be the first to tell you that in exactly one week, a very big event will take place in Columbia, S.C.

To the rest of you, I’m sorry for yet another football story that begins by bringing this up.

In seven days, the North Carolina football team will visit Sportscenter Top-10 sensation Jadeveon Clowney and the South Carolina Gamecocks.

And, like the lead up to any new, big event, there’ll be a dress rehearsal.

Thursday, the football team will walk through all aspects of a game day — complete with the pregame meal and a victory walk.

“All these guys that haven’t been in the program will know exactly what is expected of them in the pregame,” coach Larry Fedora said. “We’ll do every situation that can come in the game that we can think of.

“We’ll do all the kickings throughout the flow of the game to try to find out where our problems are communication wise.”

He put a ring on it

Speaking of dress rehearsal, Sean Tapley will host one of his own in the future. The junior receiver proposed to his girlfriend in front of the Old Well Tuesday afternoon.

But he’s not letting his declaration of love distract from his on-field duties.

“I mentioned something about it to him,” Fedora said. “I said ‘Congratulations.’ And he said, ‘I’ve got other things to worry about right now.’

“That was just because it was right before practice. You’ve got to appreciate that about him. That’s the way he is. He’s locked in right now.”

Blue, but not for long

After practice on Monday, Fedora said that sophomore Romar Morris is the front runner to get the starting running back spot ahead of senior A.J. Blue.

The decision doesn’t come as a much of a surprise — Blue’s been struggling with a nagging hamstring injury for much of the preseason.

Both coach and player aren’t too concerned with the injury, and Fedora thinks Blue will be ready to go against the Gamecocks.

“I don’t know if he’s 100 percent today but I don’t think there’s any doubt he’s going to be 100 percent by the 29th, the way that the coaches are bringing him along. He’ll be fine,” Fedora said.

Making it rain … scholarships

For some lucky members of the team, the First Day of Classes holiday came with a big present — a scholarship.

The staff awarded scholarships to a group of walk-ons, including punter Tommy Hibbard, kicker Thomas Moore and deep snapper Mack Lloyd — all starters on special teams.

Redshirt sophomore Jeff Schoettmer was another one of the fortunate recipients. A depleted linebacker corps bumped Schoettmer up on the depth chart, and he’s on pace to replace Kevin Reddick, who was second on the team in tackles last season, as starting middle linebacker.

“He’s had a good camp,” Fedora said. “Coming off of the injury that he had in the spring. He’s put on some weight. He’s really bought in to being a dang good linebacker.

“We had him kind of penciled in because of what he did last year and he put on some weight, he got stronger, we really thought he was going to be good and he’s really shown us that in camp.”


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