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Spring Football Game Recap

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The Heels had their annual public football scrimmage.

Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

The Heels entered their Saturday scrimmage with a lot of small injuries on both sides of the ball. This prevented the Heels from playing a Blue vs White style scrimmage. Instead fans were treated to a scrimmage more like what the Heels do in practice with a defense vs offense scrimmage. The first team offense would play the first team defense and the backups would play the backups. The new format prevented the Heels from showing much to their fans or to opponents who would be interested in scouting them. The offense and defense each ran simple concepts which kept the game subdued.

Offense:

Elijah Hood and Bug Howard each didn't play on Saturday which meant the first team used T.J. Logan and Austin Proehl as first team running back and outside wide receiver opposite Mack Hollins respectively. Mitch Trubisky started hot, going 10/11 with a touchdown, but he cooled off to end 13/22 with one touchdown and an interception for 148 yards. Elsewhere on the offense, Caleb Henderson had an awful day. He showed little arm strength and threw three interceptions to the second unit defense. Nathan Elliot, a red shirt Freshman from Texas, played much better than Henderson and was the only quarterback besides Trubisky to receive time with the first team offense.

There were a couple standouts on offense. Mack Hollins was the best player on the field for his reps with 7 catches for 111 yards and the one receiving touchdown. Many running backs played well, Jacob Schmidt  had 16 carries for 74 yards and a touchdown as a member of the second unit, Jordon Brown on the second unit led the game in rushing yards with 85 yards on 11 carries and Khris Francis on the first team had the Heels' only other touchdown as part of an 8 carry 50 yard day. The Heels' most impressive drive of the day was a 96 yard touchdown drive led by Manny Miles, the eldest son of of LSU coach Les Miles. Miles was 5-8 for 52 yards on that drive, the only one he led for the day.

Defense:

The highlights for the defense were the four interceptions but the unit played well all afternoon to stymie the offense. Jalen Dalton, Mikey Bart and Dajuan Drennon each sat out the scrimmage but the defensive line still played very well. Nazair Jones was a star in the middle and when he was in the game the offense noticeably struggled. Outside of Jones the four standouts were Cayson Collins, Des Lawrence, Myles Dorn and Cameron Albright. Collins excelled in each aspect of the game, playing very well in coverage and rushing the passer. Lawrence had nine tackles on the first unit and an interception where he made a perfect break on a Trubisky pass. Dorn stood out as the best freshman on the defensive unit with the early enrollee playing a great game at defensive back. He was exceptionally fast, covering a lot of ground and nearly intercepting a pass. Albright had two of the interceptions off Henderson and played with good hands throughout the day.

Special Teams:

The scrimmage format had no kickoff or punt returns. The Heels' punting was mediocre and inconsistent all day much like it was last season. The only real note of interest on special teams was the Nick Weiler was perfect on his field goals on the day including a 52 yarder which he squeaked over the upright's crossbar. His career long in a game is 48 yards so this showed that he has a bit more range than previously seen.