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UNC running game facing early challenges

North Carolina's running game misses Giovani Bernard, who also wasn't a bad punt returner. ROBERT WILLETT

CHAPEL HILL — We’re only two games into the season – it’s way early yet – but there is cause for concern about the North Carolina running game. Larry Fedora, the Tar Heels’ second-year coach, expressed surprise on Saturday after the Tar Heels struggled to run effectively in the 40-20 victory against Middle Tennessee State.

That sluggish performance followed another one at South Carolina, where UNC gained 99 rushing yards. Two games into the season, UNC ranks 94th nationally in rushing, and the Tar Heels are averaging just 3 yards per carry. Not good.

UNC football concludes camp: What we learned

The North Carolina offensive line faced plenty of questions, but overall it came together well during the preseason. ROBERT WILLETT

CHAPEL HILL — North Carolina on Monday finished up the formal “camp” portion of the preseason. Obviously, there’s still a bit of time – nine days, to be exact – before the Tar Heels begin the season on Aug. 29 at South Carolina. And so there is some preseason remaining.

But the rest of it will be focused on preparing for the Gamecocks. UNC on Monday actually began installing its game plan for South Carolina. Before that practice, on Saturday, the Tar Heels moved out of the hotel they shared during the past three weeks.

Indeed, camp is over. But, good or bad, the work the Tar Heels accomplished in recent weeks is likely to carry on throughout the season. Here’s a look at some things we learned from UNC’s preseason camp …

UNC spring football game: What we learned

UNC coach Larry Fedora address his team after the Tar Heels' spring game on Saturday. PHOTO: Robert Willett

CHAPEL HILL — North Carolina held its annual Blue vs. White spring football scrimmage at Kenan Stadium on Saturday. In case you missed the story that ran in the paper about this yesterday, you can read it right here. The Blue team defeated the White, 44-7. Well, actually, the final scoreboard read 44-21 – but that includes 14 points that the White team received at halftime to make the game a bit more competitive.

Of course, the final score of a spring scrimmage doesn’t mean much. And it’s difficult to read too much into the Tar Heels’ spring game, anyway, because it was, you have to remember, UNC’s 14th practice in the completely new, completely different offensive and defensive system that first-year coach Larry Fedora and his assistants are installing. A lot will change between now and September.

Even so, the spring game provided us some insight and some lessons. Here are some of them:

UNC lands speedy Salisbury back

Salisbury's Romar Morris rushed for 1,330 yards in 2009 and won the 100 and 200-meter sprints in 2-A.

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