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UNC football: RB T.J. Logan ready for bigger role

  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/07/18/19/10/1svPU9.Em.138.jpeg|210
    Robert Willett - NEWS & OBSERVER FILE PHOTO
    North Carolina’s T.J. Logan returns a kick following a safety for a 78-yard touchdown against Cincinnati in the Belk Bowl in December.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/07/18/19/10/1g2MWh.Em.138.jpeg|199
    Robert Willett - rwillett@newsobserver.com
    UNC's T.J. Logan (8) rushes for 14 yards into the end zone to score a touchdown in the fourth quarter to secure the Tar Heels' 27-19 victory over N.C. State on Nov. 2 at Carter Finley Stadium in Raleigh.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/07/18/19/10/1tsyMR.Em.138.jpeg|337
    Chris Seward - cseward@newsobserver.com
    UNC's T.J. Logan (8) celebrates his TD with Allen Champagneduring the Old Dominion game at Kenan Stadium in Chapel Hill.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/07/18/19/11/8cqBJ.Em.138.jpeg|198
    Robert Willett - rwillett@newsobserver.com
    UNC's T.J. Logan (8) carries the ball during the Tar Heels' annual spring football game on April 12 at Kenan Stadium in Chapel Hill.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/07/18/19/10/ThtW2.Em.138.jpeg|389
    Chris Seward - cseward@newsobserver.com
    UNC's Damien Washington (35) lays a big hit on Old Dominion’s Daquin Moore (16), clearing the way for T.J. Logan (8) to score a touchdown. .

CHAPEL HILL T.J. Logan knows what it takes to have a good season in the ACC. But just like his North Carolina teammates, good isn’t enough.

After a knee injury kept him out of the first four games, he came back for the final nine and performed as the Tar Heels’ top back as they rebounded from a 1-5 start to finish 7-6.

Logan carried 93 times last season – second only to quarterback Marquise Williams – and averaged 5.7 yards. This off-season has been about preparing to do more.

“He’s unbelievable,” Williams said of Logan. “He’s . . . doing what he needs to do to help us win football games. That backfield is unbelievable.”

UNC coaches assign each player a weight to meet by the time camp opens. Coming into college, Logan weighed 175 pounds and played at 180 most of last season.

Logan has added 12 pounds while maintaining his speed. As a back who had carries of more than 10 yards in all but one game last season, retaining that quickness is crucial.

“They want me to be 195, I’m like 192 right now,” he said. “But the weight feels good because I’ve been running with it. It hasn’t really affected me too much.”

Redshirt junior Romar Morris and touted freshman Elijah Hood, a former Charlotte Catholic star, will join Logan in a full but talented backfield. Morris led the backs in rushing touchdowns last year with five. Unlike Logan and Morris, Hood is a 6-foot, 220-pound bruiser who will add a powerful punch in short-yardage situations.

“I feel like it’s a combo with me and Romar,” Logan said. “I probably bring speed along with Ro, but then you got Elijah bringing in the power.

“We’re like brothers, we’re like a family, man. So nobody’s really down on themselves because they’re not getting enough carries. It’s going to be running back by committee, just like it was before.”

With the committee set, Logan knows his key to more playing time is to improve his blocking, an area he struggled with as a freshman.

“If you can’t protect the quarterback as a running back, you probably won’t get a lot of playing time, so that’s definitely a big thing you’ve got to be able to do,” he said.

Logan’s to-do list will expand this season. With new offensive coordinator Seth Littrell calling the shots, Logan said don’t be surprised if he splits out wide, as the Tar Heels want to run sets with multiple backs on the field.

“We’ve been learning all types of receiver routes,” he said. “It’s been going good so far. In the OTA’s (organized team activities) we ran it a little bit. The main thing is we want to have two running backs out there at the same time.”

Martin: 919-829-8954
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