Fall camp is a grind for everyone, even reporters who crank out daily reports on practices they get to see about 15 minutes of. Not to mention that those short moments are generally filled with the same rudimentary drills that really only allow you to be able to ascertain how fast a guy moves, how physical he appears to be or if someone is injured. So in a nutshell, you don't learn very much with regard to what happens when the game is played for real.
Up to this point, head coach Al Golden, going into his second year, has been pretty up beat about camp when he speaks to the press. The only area he cannot hide his dissatisfaction is when he talks about the defensive line.
He's not pleased by a long shot there. He's praised Stephen Morris for taking the lead and earning the starting quarterback role, he's praised the team for being more mentally and physically prepared to practice this camp, he's even praised fifth year senior Kendall Thompkins who looks like he might finally break out this year. But he's been lost on finding praise for the defensive line.
In fact, Golden couldn't be anymore sour on them. As it stands now, with a gimpy Curtis Porter and no real reliability for four downs because of conditioning with Darius Smith, you're looking at some combination of Luther Robinson, Olsen Pierre or Jalen Grimble. All those lineman have played sparingly or not at all over the past year and the freshmen (Dequan Ivery and Jacoby Briscoe)) taking the reps at DL and it's going to be a long season there if no one steps up and takes charge.
Today we learned that defensive end Anthony Chickillo was limited by a sinus headache and with Kelvin Cain seemingly in coach Golden's doghouse after a great spring during which he was consistently praised, there are more questions than answers at defensive line. Injuries are taking their toll on the team, especially the linebacking corps, which appear to be getting quality contributions from the depth at the position. That's not happening at defensive line. The vertical depth there appears to be inexistent and is probably a major recruiting target in 2013.
Every day on defense, there are fewer black shirts (representing players who are starting and exceeding coaches expectations) and coach Golden was asked about it this morning in practice.
"Black jerseys represent championship level play on the first team defense," Golden insisted.
It appears that that level of play has been declining on the defense as camp increases in practices and intensity. Today's jersey holders were as follows: punter Dalton Botts, defensive lineman, Shayon Green, true freshmen defensive back, Tracy Howard and corner back Brandon McGee.
Thursday's practice is scheduled for 8:20 a.m. and Friday is a day off for the Hurricanes. Saturday's scrimmage will be the second of the camp season as the Hurricanes continue to evaluate the talent they have on both sides of the ball. It will be followed by Canes Fest, an event for family and friends, and interviews the following Monday as there's no media availability after the scrimmage. However, CaneInsider will post the scrimmage stats as soon as they are released.