"This is a different team from last year," Shannon said. "We think we have some depth. I had high expectations last year but when we played 10 freshmen, there aren't gonna be very many wins. We thought that was a big factor that we had to develop this year."
Some people may think that by losing some players since last season, the Hurricanes may have lost some of that depth but Shannon believes it made the team better.
"We had some guys leave," he said. "They weren't bad players, bad people. They just didn't believe in what we were doing. You move on. We have to surround ourselves with people with great attitudes. We had eight guys come in January and that helped out tremendously."
While the depth appears to have improved pretty much across the board on this football team this year, the one area of concern is at the quarterback position.
"The only position we don't truly have depth at right now is quarterback because all of them are freshmen," he said. "We'll play two quarterbacks but we won't do double duty. One will be a starter and we'll have one who will have to get experience. We have to get those guys in the game to play. If someone gets hurt, you're using a quarterback without any playing time."
The two quarterback system has been widely talked about by Canes fans this summer and Shannon made it very clear that he plans on having one starting quarterback and not two.
"Let me say this -- it's not a rotation," he said. "We will have a starter. We gotta get this other guy some playing time. We could be losing by three touchdowns, winning by three touchowns, or it could be a two-minute drill. We gotta get the other guy some reps. During the season, you're gonna have problems -- a guy may be out due to an ankle injury. I remember, as a player, playing at LSU. Steve Walsh was the starter and Craig Erickson goes in and tries running over a linebacker and twisted his leg. So Steve had to go back in and finish the game. We were up three or four touchdowns but we had nobody else. You gotta make sure you have depth at every position. We have to develop depth at that position."
"All are very talented, very competitive," he said. "All of them have been in situations where they came in and waited their turns. They never had to come in and be the guy. They understand competition, understand winning. They're always watching film together, communicating on the sidelines. They do those guys and you get excited about those things."
Whoever becomes the starting quarterback of this year's team, which will be announced sometime in late August, one thing's for sure -- he'll need help from his running game to avoid some growing pains of being a freshman. Shannon talked about the importance of that.
"Everyone thinks the quarterback has to throw it 30,000 times a game," he said. "John Elway never won the Super Bowl until he got that running back (Terrell Davis) in the backfield. Look at his stats. He went from throwing 40 times a game to 24-28 times a game. They were still scoring a lot of points but that made a big difference. Everyone has to have a good running back or a good running game. Look at New England. Everyone says how they threw the ball. No, no, no. New England ran it well. They made big plays downfield but when it was all said and done the running game was getting them 100-105 yards a game. That's the key to anything you do. We have tight ends who can make plays, we have receivers who can make plays, running backs who can make plays. Don't make it a dropback game where the (QB) has to read every blitz and put it in his hands to win the game. (Our quarterback) will be a young guy, let those other guys win it for him."