T.J. Thorpe #5 of the North Carolina Tar Heels catches a pass in front of Kantrell Brown #37 of the Clemson Tigers during their game at Memorial Stadium on October 22, 2011.
Three days into practice, Larry Fedora has alerted the media to his policy regarding injuries:
"I don't know what to tell you because I don't talk about injuries," he said. "Here's what I'll tell you about injuries, guys - I will tell you about anybody that we lose for the season and that's it.
Now this isn't a surprise — I eagerly await the coach who says, "Why yes, I will be telling the press each and every thing to befall my players, so it can be transmitted to a paranoid fan base and opposing coaches looking for any advantage" — but I am curious as to how this silence will be handled. There's the standard Tom O'Brien method of not saying anything, to the point of not releasing injury reports unless mandated by the ACC. This is boring, but occasionally amusing in that it creates the occasional frustrated reporter. I would recommend however, that Fedora take a page from Roy Williams' playbook and go in the opposite direction. I firmly believe that if he thought he could get away with it, Roy would announce that all his players, most assistant coaches, and the waterboy were "doubtful" for the next game. Everyone is injured, everyone is a gametime decision, and if we run out of baling twine, the Dean Dome might collapse on itself to boot. I happen to like that unique brand of pessimism and poor-mouthing, especially this past season when there was a disaster around every meeting. So walk into those weekly press conferences with stories of how Casey Barth might be press ganged into playing linebacker this Saturday; it's much more fun to watch the press corps scribble furiously.
The impetus for Fedora's injury talk was T.J. Thorpe, sophomore wide receiver and kick returner best known for doing this last season:
Thorpe, las season's ACC leader in kickoff returns, appears to have broken his foot on Sunday, and has spent this week watching from the sidelines with a boot on his foot. Fedora says he's not out for the season, however — or rather he says he would only comment if Thorpe was out for the season, and that he is not commenting, so wink, wink, nudge, nudge. Or something to that affect. Red Bull was probably also involved.
Coincidentally, Inside Carolina chose today to run a little story on track star turned wide receiver walk-on Roy Smith, indicating that the hurdler is doing well in practice. Numerous folks are quoted saying the right things, and it's almost as if UNC would like it known that they still have a deep receiving corps, despite Thorpe's injury and Todd Harrelson's dismissal from the team. Without those two, everyone you'd might consider is getting tryouts for kick returning positions; we'll see closer to the regular season who will actually get those duties. The Tar Heels still have great receiving threats in Erik Highsmith, Jheranie Boyd, and Eric Ebron, so there's no need to panic, but we really have no idea who if anyone will flourish in an entirely new offense. Still, I'd rather have Thorpe on the field than in a boot.