- Heather Dinich, ESPN Staff Writer
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On Monday, North Carolina running back A.J. Blue shared some of his thoughts about the upcoming season. Here is Part II of our conversation:
How much competition are you going to have this spring and summer?
AJB: I’ll have a lot of competition. Romar [Morris], he’s very fast. He’s versatile. We have a freshman coming in, T.J. Logan, he’s very fast and versatile. I think a lot of them bring a lot of different stuff to the table. I think it’s going to come down to the small things, like pass blocking, mental errors, catching the ball out of the backfield. Romar is great at that, but I think my experience may outweigh that. God-willing I do everything right, it will play out the way I want it to.
Because it is your last season, how important is it to you to make it your best?
AJB: It’s definitely important. I put out a goal this year to score 10 touchdowns, and to come from one last season, I felt that 10 was kind of out of range, especially with having Gio as the star running back. But I kept it in my mind and I thought about it week in and week out. I ended the season exactly on 10. That was a big step for me. I felt like I was a backup to an all-american running back and I scored 10. Why not set the bar higher and go out with a great senior year? I definitely plan on doing a lot better this year. I want to make it to the next level and I want to be able to help my team win.
Do you have a new number for touchdowns this year you’re willing to share?
AJB: Yeah, 15. Gio had 19, but he played punt return. I don’t think I could quite do punt return, but I put it down to 15 and hopefully 1,000 yards.
That’s good, a lofty goal. Aim high. How much better do you think you guys are going to be offensively just because you’re going to be in the second season under Larry Fedora?
AJB: If you looked at the last five or six games last year, we were rolling. I think we kind of got the concept of the offense and what was expected. I think we’re going to be a lot better. Like you said, we lose Coop and we lose Gio, but we all understand the offense and we understand what a fast offense does to a defense. I just think we’re going to be a lot better. With the tempo we run and the understanding of it now in the second year is definitely something we’re going to be able to hold onto and use as an advantage.
So this season how much different is the attitude going into it knowing you guys can play for the title?
AJB: Oh man, it’s different. It’s much different. Last year it was just talk. It wasn’t just talk, but it was somewhere we haven’t been in a long time. To actually be in reach of it last year -- and unfortunately we couldn’t make it -- so this year it’s a different perspective, like we know we can get there. We know we have the talent to get there. It’s just are we going to work to get there like we did last season? We didn’t have anything to play for, so we have something to play for this year. The attitude is great around here. We’re looking forward to doing it again.
18hMatt Fortuna and Andrea Adelson