The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Friday December 9th

Injury Has Minimal Effect on Curry

Quarterback Ronald Curry, who was carried off the field with a sprained right knee in Saturday's loss to Clemson, showed few effects of the injury in Monday's practice.

"He's a little bit stiff, but he threw the ball really well," Torbush said. "As a matter of fact, he threw a lot better than I thought he would. He didn't miss a snap in practice, and he probably could have if he had wanted to."

Curry did not practice Tuesday because his grandmother died, and he left town to be with his family.

Torbush said he doesn't know when his signal caller will return to practice but expects Curry to start Saturday at Virginia.

Defensive end Julius Peppers also missed practice Tuesday because his brother was in a car accident. Fullback Anthony Saunders had to leave halfway through the workouts to tend to a family matter involving his cousin.

Lafferty Out With Mono

Punter John Lafferty, who started the past two games, will likely miss the rest of the season with mononucleosis. The sophomore averaged 35.4 yards per punt in 20 attempts.

Freshman Blake Ferguson, UNC's starting punter for the season's first five games, will resume his former role. Although Ferguson averaged 39.1 yards per kick, he lost his job after having a punt blocked for a touchdown against Georgia Tech.

"I wish I wouldn't have gotten the job like this," Ferguson said. "I would have liked to have competed against him. But God does some weird things, and he put me in position."

Torbush said Ferguson reminds him of former UNC punter Brian Schmitz. As a senior last year, Schmitz's kicks traveled an average of 47.8 yards, single-season records for the ACC and North Carolina.

"The only thing is we didn't ask Brian Schmitz to jump in there and do battle as a true freshman," Torbush said.

Torbush said he won't know who will serve as Ferguson's backup until after Thursday's practice.

Short Gains

North Carolina is averaging just 2.9 yards per carry and has enjoyed just 10 running plays of more than 15 yards this season.

Only two of those long runs have come from the tailback position, one each for Brandon Russell and Andre Williams. Curry has six and Saunders has two.

But Torbush said he expects UNC's young tailbacks to make that figure increase.

"We've been one block away several times in the last few games from breaking a big one," he said. "We've been able to get 5, 6, 7 hard yards but it seems like somebody from the backside is dragging somebody down and getting them around the legs, which keeps that 7-yard run from turning into a 20-yard run.

"I do feel like even though yardage at times does not seem like it, our running game has improved over the last two or three weeks."

Fumble?

Torbush declined to say if he thought Bosley Allen touched the third-quarter punt that was ruled a fumbled and recovered by Clemson.

"The main thing I can say is Bosley should have gotten away from the ball immediately or caught it," Torbush said. "But that's the way things are, and that's as far as I'm going to take it."

He added that he will send tape of that play and others the coaching staff felt involved questionable officiating to the league office to be reviewed - a practice that takes place every week.

The Sports Editor can be reached at sports@unc.edu.



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