Nicks looking to bounce back after drops
UNC running back battle continues
Among the many surprising events in Saturday's game against East Carolina were the multiple mistakes made by the normally sure-handed Hakeem Nicks.
On the first drive of the game, the sophomore wide receiver dropped one pass and had both hands on a jump ball in the endzone but failed to come down with the touchdown.
Although he caught a touchdown a few minutes later, in the third quarter Nicks dropped a ball on the sideline that could have resulted in a breakaway down the sideline. But the most crucial mistake came in the fourth quarter with UNC driving down the field and the score tied at 31.
On third-and-two from the ECU 36-yard line, Nicks caught a first down pass, but fumbled the ball to ECU.
"One of the toughest things for players is to let things go," head coach Butch Davis said. "You hate to talk about, like, selective amnesia, but if you're going to be a big-time player you have to have that.
"Every great player - Jerry Rice, Michael Irvin - they've all dropped a ball before, but you can't let that one continue a pattern throughout the course of that game."
Davis also hinted that some of Nicks' troubles might have come from looking too far ahead before the ball arrived.
"I would say that a lot of receivers would tell you that one of the biggest reasons that they do drop balls is that they're looking to see, 'Where am I going to go with the ball after I catch it,' and take it as a foregone conclusion," Davis said.
"And you have to go back and say, 'I'm going to catch the ball first.'"
RBs get a little separation
The North Carolina running back position has been filled by committee for the first two games with Johnny White, Anthony Elzy and Richie Rich.
While the backs carried the ball nine, eight and seven times, respectively, against ECU, it appears that White - the starter for both games - has given himself a slight edge thus far.
"I think that Johnny White, certainly we were impressed with how hard that he ran the other day," Davis said. "He caught the ball well out of the backfield, did a nice job on his protections."
Davis said that although all three players will be used, he is looking for one to take the lead.
Playing with a legacy
Junior linebacker Mark Paschal has quite a history with UNC football. His father, Doug, starred at UNC from 1976-79 and went on to play in the NFL.
But the younger Paschal said having success in the family doesn't put any more pressure on him.
"Absolutely not," he said. "I just love having (my parents) at the game, and I think they enjoy coming and watching. I really appreciate all that they do for me."
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