Larry Porter Q&A

Larry Porter Q&A

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- North Carolina running backs coach Larry Porter discussed his position group in an interview with following Wednesday's practice.

Thoughts on the overall group of UNC running backs:
"I think we've got a good group of guys. Obviously, there's a lot of work to do from the standpoint of everybody improving. I think the chemistry in the group is good."

What did you see from Romar Morris during the early part of the spring prior to his injury?
"I thought Romar was having a pretty good spring up until he got injured. He—to me—serves as more of a leader of the group. He's the oldest in the group and they respect him just by the way he comes about doing his business on a daily basis, whether it's on the field or off the field. From a skillset standpoint, he has tremendous speed, I like his protection ability and also, just his vertical path in terms of the run game. He's able to stick his foot in the ground and get vertical, so I think his skillset as a whole will serve us well and putting us in position to do some different things."

Thoughts on T.J. Logan's skillset and what you've seen from him this spring?
"T.J. Logan is a guy that finished the season strong last year. Again, he's another back that we count on his speed to serve as an advantage for us. I think his vision and just his shiftiness, in and out of cuts and being able to get one-on-one with defenders and being able to make them miss."

What does Khris Francis bring to the table in this group of backs?
"Khris Francis is a guy that—in-between the tackles—he can be an advantage for us just because of his vision. His hands in the passing game are another strength of his."

What have you seen from Elijah Hood so far this spring?
"We have Elijah Hood who has come in and done some good things. I think in the latter part of the spring, he kind of hit a wall. I'm looking forward to seeing him finish strong, but I think all in all with his speed and strength and power and willingness to be a good player, he'll be able to help us come fall."

Has Charles Brunson offered another option in the backfield after turning some heads this spring?
"Charles Brunson, I think he's had a really good spring and has definitely opened some eyes around here. Now it's just about taking the momentum he's gotten over the course of the spring and carrying it into the fall and see if he can establish himself in the rotation."

What is the major hurdle left for T.J. Logan to be able to solidify himself as a potential starter?
"As a coach, you want all of them to be a dynamic blocker. With him being a young guy, that's always something that initially they have to grow into. I think he's made progress in that area, but again, we're not where we want to be as a group or individually. There is work to be done, but it's good that he understands that in order to truly sustain being an every-down back, you've got to protect the football and protect the quarterback. That's an absolute must."

What is the most important attribute to you for a running back to possess to succeed under your tutelage?
"I think the number one thing, above all else, is the identity of our group has to be toughness. We've got to be able to grind, bleed those hard yards and those tough yards and that comes from within. When you look at Carolina's group, I think at the end of the day, we want toughness to be our identity."

Do you think the current lot of UNC running backs has the potential to grow into the tough identity that you pride yourself on?
"Absolutely. It's all about an attitude. All of them have a different skillset, but I think in their own way they all can help us. At the end of the day, I think there's enough there to establish a dominant run game here at North Carolina."

What kind of running back is the right mold to fit what you want to see at that position?
"We're not in the NFL so we can't draft guys. We have to take the skillsets of each guy that we have back there and use it to our advantage and know how to use it. I think it's our jobs as coaches to put them in situations that will serve their skillset and their strengths to allow them to be very productive on the field."

Do you foresee Elijah Hood offering the ability to be used as a third-down back and at the goal line?
"That's the third or fourth time I've heard somebody labeling him. I think his skillset fits into everything that we do offensively. It's just a matter of him selling it and getting more comfortable with what we do. We just don't want to label him and limit him to anything because his skillset serves us great."

How has Morris remained influential amongst the running back group despite his injury?
"He's been all-in from day one, whether he was on the field or off the field. He still participates in meetings every single day. He's at every practice. He's around and is serving as a motivator. He has not lost touch with what we're doing offensively. He's still mentally in it, so he's here. We feel him every day, he's just not out there getting reps."

Is there a timetable for Morris's return?
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