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The H-Back

UNC will have a new offensive wrinkle when they open play on September 1st. Butch Davis has introduced the H-back into the offense and there are high hopes it will produce. Via the N&O:

North Carolina sophomore Ryan Taylor doesn't know exactly what he will do the first time he enters a game at H-back next month.

But then again, neither will the opposing defense. And that's the point.

UNC's newest offensive position -- a tight end and fullback hybrid, which accounts for the 'H' -- is a versatile playmaker who can block on the line, catch from the slot and sometimes rush out of the backfield.

Tight ends coach Steve Hagen defines a good H-back as a player who "can run like a wide receiver and block like a lineman," and thus confuse opponents because they never know quite what to expect. And he thinks the Tar Heels have some good ones, including Taylor and freshman Zack Pianalto.

"Hopefully, we can find some mismatches with our H vs. one of their linebackers; that's what we're trying to do," Hagen said. "... It makes for a versatile offense."

According to the article, Joe Gibbs first introduced this position in the 1980's for the Washington Redskins. I like the idea of having a little used wrinkle in the offensive scheme which can sometimes confuse the defense. It will be very interesting to see how much this gets used given the degree of uncertainty there is in the backfield and the fact this offense appears to be shaping up as one which will rely on the pass only because know one can say for sure what kind of production will come from the backfield.

This factors, more than anything, make preseason predictions somewhat pointless.