** Logan Kilgore, a senior three-year starting quarterback, injured his throwing shoulder in the third quarter of Middle Tennessee’s 45-24 win over Western Carolina. Head coach Rick Stockstill initially expressed concern over Kilgore’s ability to return to the lineup for Saturday’s matchup with UNC, but that changed on Tuesday.
“I doubt he will be 100 percent ... but I have no question that Logan will play and he’ll play well,” Stockstill told reporters during his weekly press conference.
Kilgore completed 12-of-18 passes for 144 yards and a touchdown in the season opener after throwing for 2,571 yards and 16 touchdowns against six interceptions in 2012. Koenning offered strong praise of the former three-star recruit.
“They’ve got a quarterback that’s as good as probably anybody we’re going to play this year,” Koenning said.
The 6-foot-3, 206-pounder also possesses an ability to scramble when needed.
“He throws the ball really well and takes care of it,” Fedora said. “He does a nice job with it. He’s an adequate runner. I wouldn’t say he’s the guy they want to run with it, but he can. He pulls it down and does some nice things with it.”
** Tyrone Nix, former South Carolina and Ole Miss defensive coordinator, is now in his second year in the same role with the Blue Raiders. After Houston Nutt was fired in Oxford following the 2011 season, Nix interviewed with Oklahoma to potentially fill Brent Venables’s spot as linebackers coach. But Stockstill, who worked with Nix at South Carolina in 2005, offered his former colleague the co-defensive coordinator position.
“Tyrone is a very good defensive coordinator, a very good defensive coach,” Fedora said. “They were probably more four down last year; this year they’ve gotten to more three down, so that’s the way we’re preparing.”
According to Fedora, Nix brought more pressure in the season opener against Western Carolina than he did in any game last fall.
** Dominique Green enrolled at North Carolina as a walk-on in January, earned a scholarship following training camp and made his first career start in front of a national audience last Thursday in Columbia.
He made sure South Carolina kick returner Victor Hampton knew his name at approximately 6:01 p.m.
“It was great to see Dominique Green run down on the opening kickoff on his first college play and knock the crap out of a guy,” Koenning said.
While Green wasn’t perfect, he turned in a solid effort, according to Koenning. The rookie finished with two tackles.
“He has got [Sam] Smiley speed, or close to Smiley speed, but hits closer to [Darien] Rankin,” Koenning said. “So he’s kind of a cross between Sam, who’s hurt, and Rankin, who’s been hurt and is just coming back.”
** Koenning was pleased with his defense’s performance in the season opener despite the four big plays that resulted in three touchdowns and nearly 200 yards.
Mike Davis’s 75-yard touchdown run likely hurt the most, especially considering UNC reviewed that exact play on Thursday morning.
“That was really the only thing that was a mistake, per se, and he was actually heading back there, he just messed around too long at the line,” Koenning said. “The other ones were just we got beat.”
Film breakdown concluded that UNC missed six tackles and had very few loafs.
“We played as hard as we could play,” Koenning said. “We had less poor effort plays than we’ve ever had.”
He also felt his defense did a good job in getting pressure on dual-threat quarterback Connor Shaw, who ran for 43 yards on 12 attempts.
“We didn’t sack them because the quarterback escaped,” Koenning said. “I want to say he had eight scrambles, he completed one pass and I think he gained 16 yards in all of his scrambles. I can show you the Clemson game [in 2012] where he ran 30 yards a clip sometimes when he scrambled.”
** There is one nugget that got lost in the shuffle from Fedora’s radio show on Tuesday night. Not only is freshman running back Khris Francis likely to see snaps this fall, but fellow rookie and currently injured tailback T.J. Logan may also see live action.
“I thought both of them really did a nice job in camp and I expect both of them to play this year,” Fedora said. “I really do. I think they’re going to help us. Khris was there the other night and the situation didn’t warrant putting him in on that stage.”