"Our main focus has been the camp. We felt like we had good prospects coming in. Camp is a fun time. It's kind of like a practice coaching run. We get a lot out of it from a recruiting standpoint and a football standpoint. After that, we have the ACC meetings after the camps, and (next) Tuesday we start hide-away. That will be five days of that. We are ready."
What did you tell your unit heading into summer?
"Strength was a (priority). They were all young. We had pretty good guys from a speed standpoint. You can't be fast enough. Without losing any speed and hopefully gaining a little more speed, we wanted to get more strength. If you increase your strength without increasing your fat, it ought to make you faster as well as more powerful and explosive. From what I understand, the guys have gotten stronger and all have made pretty significant gains in strength. They've gotten a little bigger, too. That worries me a little bit. Most of them have gained a little weight and when they do, the body fat composition tests... we will get a better feel if they can carry that weight or not. But I think it has been a pretty productive summer.
"Another thing I wanted to see is them working together and working hard and doing it together, developing a little team unity. And they are doing that. I am in the weight room enough to where I see them and it appears they are accomplishing (that)."
The best quality about your group seems to be its overall athleticism. Would you agree?
"It's kind of like speed. You can't be athletic enough. As defensive ends go, we are a pretty athletic bunch. But all of it has to relate -- the speed, the strength, the athleticism -- to the production on the field. We like to get a little more of that this year."
With your defensive unit's overall experience, it's obvious the coaching staff wants to hit the ground running with the start of two-a-days.
"We will install and we will teach and we have some young kids we hope are going to help some in all positions, across the board. I think we have some young guys physically who can help us quickly. But we have some older guys too... what, we lost one starter on defense last year? Those guys are going to come in and they are going to be chomping at the bit to get to the meat of this thing (scheme) and we are going to do that. I hope the young kids can keep up. If they can, like I said, there are some physically who can play. It will be interesting to see. We have a little vet (experience) across the board. There are a couple of positions where we don't need to have an injury, but there's going to be pretty good competition across the board for snaps. I think that makes you better. That's what you want."
Who are you going to be looking at to help set the tone?
"Obviously, Kevin Emanuel. That's where you have to start. He's a senior. He's played. This is his third year of significant playing time. He's a guy we are going to rely heavily on. Kevin is not a flashy player but he's a steady, consistent, hard-working guy who is reliable. Then you have Eric Moore, who played a good-bit last year. Obviously, we will be counting on him. Charles Howard is coming back off a redshirt year and he played some as a freshman and sophomore. So, he will fit in someway. I don't knwo if he will play inside or outside. He was inside during spring (drills). Time will tell on all that.
"Then there's some young talented guys. Willie Jones, Kamerion Wimbley and Darrell Burston. And Chauncey is a newcomer and he's not young -- he's going to be a junior -- but I am looking for him to get in there and make a splash. It's going to be an interesting year. We have a good mix."
Obviously, you must replace Alonzo Jackson, the team's leading sack leader. You also have said you are looking for more pressure from your group as well.
"You go in there and make a great pass rush and you get the quarterback and the ball squirts one way and his helmet goes another, and somebody scoops it up and scores, that's the biggest play you can make. But it don't even count as a sack. It's counted as a caused fumble. Sacks are good and I like sacks just like anybody else. But the main thing I want is for us to get in there and chase the quarterback relentessly and him knowing it and feeling it and it affecting him. There's a lot of ways you can do that, but gettng back in there (pocket) and hitting his butt is the biggest thing. That's what we are going to try to do."
Technique-wise, will you be trying anything differently this year?
"Nah, it's going to be pretty much the same. There's always things you can do to help certain guys but it's not enough to interest anybody. It's going to be pretty much... we are going to line up wide, we are going to pin our ears, we are going to come off the ball. We ain't going to hat read, we are going to hit it running. That's what we've done here for years. That's what the guys knew when I got here and we are going to continue to emphasize that and play hard. None of that is going to change."