Spring Practice Report - 3/27/04

The Hurricanes had their fourth spring practice today at Greentree Practice Fields. It was the first day in pads and the weather was great for the first time this week. The team will enjoy a day off tomorrow before getting back to practice on Monday.

Coach Larry Coker

"It was great today having the officials here. The thing that I saw today was that guys really flew around and made plays. What I didn't like was that we had too many dropped balls. I think Brock Berlin stepped up and did some nice things. Also on offense I think Buck Ortega did some nice things. Our defensive ends are really going to be exciting for us. This will be a great tape for us to look at. Obviously we have a lot of work to do. I think we are going to like this football team."

"The thing that I was very pleased with is that usually the first day in pads is very sloppy. They have been out of it running and in shorts. They handled it pretty well today."

"I think our offense really has trouble blocking our defensive ends. I have been real pleased with our number one offensive line. They are holding their own pretty well. When you get past that it is different. Our defensive ends really have depth. We have Bryan Pata as a second-team end, Alton Wright, and Eric Moncur. Plus you have the sack leader in the Big East back in Javon Nanton."

"There is no doubt about it that Brock has stepped up so far in practices compared to last year. Him and Derrick Crudup. Brock has a lot more confidence compared to not knowing what is going on. They both know what is going on and we will go through the tape and look at ‘drive-stoppers.' There were a couple of dropped passes that would have been first downs and we can't have that. We are better on offense and probably quite a bit better on offense a year ago at this time."

"If we are going to be a good offensive football team the receivers have to step up. We were very average at receiver last year and this year we have all of those guys back, basically. We expect all of those guys to step up in practices with the exception to Ryan Moore, who is out with a shoulder injury. They have to play well this year for us."

Cornerback Kelly Jennings

"The defense is looking pretty good and so is the offense. Everybody is working hard out there and it continues from working hard in the weight room. I think we are off to a good start. We had a lot of guys around the ball today. The offense was working hard today trying to score. The tempo and attitude was real good today. The young defensive backs are doing well. They are working on their technique a lot, but I think they are doing well so far. Personally, I am working on trying to be more physical."

Defensive Tackle Kareem Brown

"Practice is going pretty good. We are just trying to get everybody in the groove. The defense has looked real good so far. Today went all right. We had to get back in groove of hitting and staying focused. I did all right today; I made a couple of plays. I put on a lot of weight in the off-season so I am where I need to be to play defensive tackle. I did a lot of weight lifting and it wasn't so much how much I ate, but what I ate. I have been around 300 the past couple of months so I feel comfortable with it. Last year I had four sacks and hopefully this year I can get about 8-10."

Offensive Lineman Alex Pou

"It is great to be back out here again. We had a nice break after last season. Now we are back at it and its been going well. I did real well in the weight room in the off-season trying to get a lot stronger and I got a lot faster. I cut down on my body fat and I improved on my muscles. Today was fun. There was a lot of intensity. The offense made a lot of mistakes and we need to cut down on that. The left guard position has about three or four guys trying for the position. So far I feel pretty good. I have gotten a lot better since last year. I feel very healthy and everything feels great."

Wide Receiver Ryan Moore

"I am able to run routes out there, but I am not able to go up against any competition right now. It is a little tough because I want to be out with the rest of the guys. It is kind of tough from that standpoint. My shoulder feels fine. It isn't sore at all. I am just out for precautionary reasons right now. Last year was a little different because I was little bit more pressed because I had not played very much. I am working on my footwork a lot and my foot speed. If I can get that down I think it will really help me since I am a big receiver. My footwork is a lot different now. It is like I am a whole different person with my footwork and how much I have improved with it."

Notes:

* Vegas Franklin had a solid day getting to the quarterback. He showed good speed on the outside and is pressing for playing time at defensive end.

* Jon Beason is doing a good job of learning the middle linebacker position and getting more comfortable with the position. Coker is very pleased with his progress and he will be a solid contributor on special teams this year.

* Roger McIntosh had the best block today during a punt gunner drill. McIntosh has starred on special teams in the past and shows good athleticism in various drills.

* Tight end Brandon Sebald had ice on his shoulder after practice and is status is unknown at this point. Sebald is a quality blocking tight end with good size. If he is not able to take as many snaps it opens up time for Greg Olsen and Buck Ortega.

* 2003 Hurricanes Jonathan Vilma, Kevin Beard, and Vince Wilfork were at practice today.

Next Practice: Monday, March 29, 3:00 PM, Greentree Practice Fields

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