Spring Practice Report - 3/24/04

The Hurricanes continued spring practices today at Greentree Practice Fields. It was a cool afternoon with a strong wind. This was the second spring practice with 13 remaining. We have a full update including quotes from coach Coker, Baraka Atkins, Frank Gore, Roscoe Parrish and Brandon Meriweather.

Coach Larry Coker

"The thing that stood out today was our effort. I told the guys that I really liked how they ran around today. I think we have a good opportunity to be a good football team if we can keep that up. I really like how our defense is running to the football. There were a lot of defensive players swarming the ball."

"We are going to be better on offense than we were a year ago. At this point in the game we are already a lot better. We have a lot of receivers back and some quarterbacks with experience. We have Tyrone Moss at running back, we have Talib Humphrey back and we have Quadtrine Hill at running back and have looked good helping us out there. I think the defense is looking pretty good, but offensively we are going to be a lot better than we were a year ago."

"Frank Gore is not going to do anything full speed. He is going through some running things, pass routes, and some protections. He can move, but we just don't want to slash and cut. He will not scrimmage for us in the spring. He is going to be limited, but we are going to get him some work. I think he has put on some weight and we are going to take a look at that. It is a bit of a concern for us and for him. He was working out, but not normally the intensity that he would if he was healthy, I think that is part of it."

"I have been real encouraged by the speed of the linebackers and the way they have been playing. Roger McIntosh has a lot of experience for us. Leon Williams has been around for a while now. Tavares Gooden is a very special athlete and I think he is going to be outstanding for us. Jon Beason and Glenn Cook have started to step up. If you look at the top three I really like our athleticism and when you look in their eyes they are wanting to get after it."

"Playing Devin Hester at cornerback is a possibility. We have to get him on the field somewhere. Right now he is a wide receiver for us. If he can master the spot then we might look at him at another position. We haven't moved him to cornerback and if we do it will be later in the spring."

"Today I think Roscoe Parrish had an outstanding day. I think Talib Humphrey has done a nice job as well for us at fullback. Talib has also done some things for us at running back too. I think Orien Harris and Teraz McCray had good days today for the defense."

Defensive End Baraka Atkins

"Everybody was anxious to get back on the field. We have to go through these first few days without pads. We just have to do what we need to get ready for the season. Workouts were pretty tough. We were trying to get bigger, stronger, and faster and for me personally, I did not make the improvements that I wanted to, but I still feel fine with how I am. I am just very excited to be back out here."

"We are going to have a lot of competition along the defensive line this year with a lot of guys back. Because a lot of guys played last year we have even more competition in the spring. The key is right now is to work on our technique and make sure we have it all down."

Running Back Frank Gore

"I am real happy with how things are going now. It is a lot easier for me this time around because I know what to expect. I know where I am at with my recovery and understand the timetable better this year. I changed my number because I wanted to go back to my high school number. I don't believe in luck. I just wanted to get my high school number ever since I was here, but Jason Geathers had it. I know I am going to play this year; I just have to stay healthy. I weighed in at 218 this year. Last year I was about 209."

Wide Receiver Roscoe Parrish

"Its good being back out here, just coming out and everyone is working hard out here. All of us receivers are out there making catches. During seven-on-sevens we went up against the defensive backs that all were pretty new because of the guys that we lost, but we bonded with them pretty well. They are coming along pretty good. You can see them improving all of the time. I was hurt last year so I am just glad to be back out here playing. My knee has felt fine so far. Today I was trying to be a leader and I made some catches. I am just out there having fun, that's what its all about. I am real excited to be out here again. I've been waiting for this ever since the Orange Bowl was over."

Safety Brandon Meriweather

"I just gained a little weight, I am up to 185 pounds now. I worked out hard in the off-season. I feel like I am moving around well out there with the weight, but they say I wont notice it until we do extensive running. All of the defensive backs have been gelling well together. Greg Threat is a playmaker. We work real well together because we know where each other will be. We compliment each other real good and we get along real well too. We know what each other is thinking. When we came in together we clicked real well."

Notes:

* Coker said Antrel Rolle, Orien Harris, Chris Myers, and Brock Berlin have all shown positive leadership through the first two days of spring practices. Each year new leaders must be established and if these four can remain leaders throughout the season the Hurricanes will be in good shape.

* Tony Tella had another good day at practice and a once anticipated battle at left guard could be solidified quicker than originally thought. Tella has stepped in real well with the first team and if he continues to be a consistent performer, he could stay in that spot. It all depends how he performs when they put on the pads.

* Antrel Rolle, Roscoe Parrish, and Darnell Jenkins are working out at punt returner. Parrish is the likely candidate to win the job even though Rolle led the team in average last year. According to Coker, at times Rolle would have preferred to relinquish his duties because he was tired from playing on defense.

* Former Hurricane Mike Rumph was at practice today.

Next Practice: Friday, March 26, 3:00 Greentree Practice Fields

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