Carolina football concludes the spring practice season with the annual spring scrimmage Saturday at 3 at Kenan Stadium. With the Tar Heels entering Larry Fedora's second season in Chapel Hill, there's a lot to be excited about. Here are a few things to look for on Saturday.
We'll start off the field.
1. New uniforms.
People love uniforms, and people love talking about uniforms. On Saturday, Carolina will unveil the new uniforms, both traditional and alternate looks, for the 2013 football season. They'll be on display outside the Kenan Football Center before the game, and players will model the new threads at halftime. On his radio show Tuesday, Fedora said the team will have alternative uniforms and helmets every year.
2. Who's on the field? Who's not?
The spring game rosters are posted here. At first glance, it appears the Blue team is the first team, and the White team is the second team, although there are definitely some intriguing names dotting both rosters. Also interesting is the list of players not participating in the spring game, names like Smiley, Price, Rankin, Hurst and Ebron. So if you see something you don't like on Saturday, keep in mind that some of the players not participating will have big roles come the fall.
3. Offensive Tempo
The Carolina offense wants to run 80 plays per game, and with a season under their belts, they'll look to rev it up starting this weekend. The play-call process starts upstairs with offensive coordinator Blake Anderson, who relays the call to tight ends coach Walt Bell, who then has to get it to the field to the quarterback. It all happens very quickly, and with a veteran quarterback, the process should be streamlined for 2013.
4. Defensive Leadership
Senior defensive end Kareem Martin said that he intended to step into more of a leadership role this season. Carolina will miss middle linebacker Kevin Reddick as the quarterback of the defense, so it will be fascinating to see who really takes charge of the defensive huddle. Sly Williams will be missed up front, but Martin said Shawn Underwood and Devonte Brown are coming along at defensive tackle.
5. Offensive Line
Giovani Bernard was certainly an extraordinary Tar Heel running back, but he had the luxury of running behind a veteran, accomplished offensive line. Carolina lost left guard Jonathan Cooper, right guard Travis Bond and right tackle Brennan Williams to graduation. With left tackle James Hurst missing the spring scrimmage, center Russell Bodine is the only 2012 starter participating Saturday. Who will impress in the trenches? Landon Turner (who subbed at right guard when Williams was hurt and Bond moved outside), Kiaro Holts and Nick Appel in particular are names to watch.
6. Mitch Mania
Quarterback Mitch Trubisky is the first early enrollee under Anderson, and the offensive coordinator is excited by the Ohio native's potential. Watch the White Team's quarterback to see what has Anderson smiling.
7. Secondary Considerations
Despite hauling in 16 interceptions, the Tar Heel defense gave up nearly 247 passing yards in 2012, good for 83rd best in the country. We all saw some missed assignments and the resulting big plays given up last year. Have they made the leap necessary to compete for championships in 2013? Saturday's spring scrimmage may give us a clue.