Saturday, August 2, 2008

QB Yates more familiar with offense ...

Here's a scene you would have never witnessed during the second day of North Carolina's training camp last season: a play being signaled in from the sideline, and quarterback T.J. Yates interpreting it, communicating it, and running it.
"We've come so far from last year,'' Yates said Saturday. "We're trying to do new things, tweak the offense a little bit, trying to get the best play out there on the field. And sometimes that might mean calling the play from the sideline, checking off."
Last year, with a new head coach (Butch Davis) and offensive coordinator (John Shoop), UNC was most concerned with installing an offense and finding its starting quarterback. Now that it has done both, the next step is to fine-tune it.
And it helps that Yates, who had surgery on his right (throwing shoulder) in December, said "I feel good" after his first two practices.
"I was actually a little bit (more sore) yesterday than today,'' the sophomore from Georgia said Saturday.
Yates, last year's runner up for ACC Rookie of the Year, has yet to get hit, or even throw in shoulder pads. But just getting back into a familiar stance behind center during his first practice in roughly eight months was a relief.
"It was good to get back out there, go through the team aspect of it,'' he said. "You can only do so many drills, so many simulations. But when you actually get out there with the offensive and defensive lines, it's different -- and definitely something I have to get used to again, since I haven't done it since the last game of (last) season. It's going to take a little more time than I thought to get used to."
Unlike this time last August, though, he's done it before.