'Full Speed Ahead' for McGill

'Full Speed Ahead' for McGill

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – John Bunting confirmed on Tuesday what many North Carolina fans were hoping for: junior tailback Ronnie McGill will play -- and play a lot -- in the Tar Heels' upcoming game at No. 23 Louisville. Bunting said he expects McGill to be in on 20-25 snaps this Saturday.

"That may change, but that's what I'm thinking," Bunting said during his weekly press conference. "It's full speed ahead."

Bunting said in recent practices he had seen no noticeable signs of the injury that had sidelined McGill since undergoing surgery on June 17 to repair a torn chest muscle. Bunting also said he doesn't anticipate any problems unless McGill's left arm were to get significantly wrenched backwards. Other than that, McGill is all set physically according to the Tar Heels' fifth-year head coach.

"I talked with his mom, Juanita, last night; she was thrilled to hear Ronnie is going to play," Bunting said. "She also told me, ‘Don't let him get hurt.'"

McGill suffered a torn pectoral muscle while lifting weights this summer.

McGill played in seven games last season and finished third on the team with 419 yards rushing on 79 carries (5.3 yards per carry) and scored five touchdowns. As a true freshman in 2003, he played in 12 games and started eight, leading the team with 654 total rushing yards. McGill scored seven times that season, finishing seventh in the ACC in rushing yards per game (54.5).

The Tar Heels hope McGill's return can jump start their rushing offense, which is averaging just 86.8 yards per game. In McGill, not only does Carolina add desperately needed depth and experience in its offensive backfield, it also adds another dimension.

"He brings a lot of emotion and power," guard Kyle Ralph said. "Ronnie loves contact and we really need that power back. I think Ronnie's ready to go."

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