Heel Tough Blog: Weekly Headlines- January 14th
With the 2018 college football season officially coming to a close on Monday, the 2019 season has officially begun. The Heels welcomed everyone back from break with their first official team meeting on Thursday that may very well have produced the inspirational phrase of the season. Let’s take a look at the other headlines that dominated the week in Tar Heel Football.
Mack Brown Makes Staff Official
Prior to the team’s meeting on Thursday, the team officially announced the final additions to the 2019 class. Both Scott Boone, who will coach special teams and outside linebackers, and Stacy Searels, who will coach the offensive line, were officially added to the staff as coaches, while Darrell Moody and Sparky Woody were officially announced as senior advisors to the head coach. With these announcement becoming official, the Heels have completed their 2019 staff. Only two coaches from the Fedora regime has been retained, as Tommy Thigpen will be the team’s co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach, while Robert Gillespie will return as the Heels running backs coach. Here are the official coaching roles for the 2019 season as they stand today:
Mack Brown- Head Coach
Phil Longo- Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks Coach
Robert Gillespie- Running Backs Coach
Lonnie Galloway- Wide Receivers Coach
Tim Brewster- Tight Ends Coach/Recruiting Coordinator
Stacy Searels- Offensive Line Coach
Jay Bateman- Co-Defensive Coordinator/Safeties Coach
Tommy Thigpen- Co-Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers Coach
Tim Cross- Defensive Line Coach
Scott Boone- Outside Linebackers Coach/Special Teams Coach
Dre Bly- Cornerbacks Coach
Brandon Fritts Announces Return to Carolina
Fritts announced back in early December that he would transfer for his final season of eligibility, but after a little over a month of consideration, he has reversed his decision. Fritts announced via Twitter on Tuesday night that he would be returning to Chapel Hill for his senior season. Fritts’ returns to Carolina having caught 47 passes for 439 yards and 8 touchdowns in 24 games over his four-year career with the Heels. Fritts missed all of the 2018 seasons with a torn ACL, but is expected to return to full strength at the start of spring camp barring anything unforeseen. Fritts’ return means the Heels will return every scholarship tight end from a season ago, while they add also true freshman Kamari Morales to the mix.
Malik Carney Accepts Invite to East-West Shrine Game
For the second week in a row, the East-West Shrine Game announced a Tar Heel participant in the game that will take place next Saturday. Carney will join teammate Cole Holcomb down in St. Petersburg after accepting his invitation on Thursday evening. Carney finished the 2018 season with 60 total tackles, 12.0 tackles for loss and 6.0 sacks while also forcing five fumbles in just eight games due to a suspension stemming from the illegal sale of team-issued shoe prior to the season. Carney concluded his career with 176 total tackles, 32.5 tackles for loss and 17.0 sacks. Saturday will be a chance for Carney to move him onto most major draft boards, as currently he is seen undrafted prospect by most major draft sites.
Heels Host Successful Junior Day On Saturday
Saturday was a major recruiting day for the football team as they welcomed some major prospects to Chapel Hill. Eight 2019 targets took their official visits on Saturday, all eight of which are being looked at for the defensive side of the football. Also on campus was a sizable group of juniors headlined by a strong in-state presence along with a group of defensive backs from the state of Virginia. One 2021 prospect was amongst the group, as current Tar Heel enrollee Sam Howell’s high school teammate, Gavin Blackwell, was on campus for another unofficial visit. The day didn’t produce a commitment, but it seems that the visits went well, especially for the 2020 prospects.
Spring Game Date Announced
The football program officially released the date of the 2019 spring game on Thursday afternoon. The game will take place on April 13th in Kenan Stadium and according to Lee Pace of GoHeels.com, Mack Brown wants to turn the game into an event. With the excitement that has been generated around the program by the new staff and the fact that there should be many crucial battles being played out, particularly at the quarterback position, one would expect there to be a good turn out for just the Heels second spring game in the last four seasons and the first spring game in Kenan Stadium since 2016.