Shannon talking Canes football

Head coach Randy Shannon addressed the media on Wednesday via the ACC teleconference and he spoke about a number of topics surrounding the football team. Read on to see what he's saying about the new coordinators, basketball player Jimmy Graham's future, the status of Dedrick Epps, where this team has improved the most, the backup quarterback situation, and much more.

On the new offense with Coach Whipple:
Offense was very competitive. Coach Whipple had a lot of creativity with the offense. The players like what he's doing. The team is very excited. Everything Coach Whipple brings to our offense helps us.

On the new defense under Coach Lovett:
Defensively, with Coach Lovett, it's the same idea as Coach Whipple. We had to understand what we can do on defense and players really responded to what he implimented. He's a a lot of fun with a lot of energy and the players really responded to him. I've known him from his days at Ole Miss under Tommy Tubberville. He brings a lot of excitement. You bring some excitement to the table and the players will respond to that. He brings a lot of knowledge of football. He's making sure everyone understands our strong points and weaknesses of our defense. When the players know that, they can respond better and play fast. Offensively and defensively, we came a lot of ways from the start of spring until now.

On the difference in offense and defense from last season with the new coaches:
It'll be different. The creativity of what Whipple brings in is gonna be unique and with Coach Lovett will be the same thing. We're gonna use what our athletes can do. Every year you gotta get better. Coach Young moved on and we made a change with Coach Nix. This is something we felt we could improve on.

On the NFL streak of first rounders coming to an end:
The streak has been going on for a long time. Right now, it was a great streat and it may come to an end next week. We just have to focus on rebuilding this team and down the road hopefully we can start a new streak with the players we're recruiting now.

On getting back to that:
Over the last 2 years of recruiting in south Florida has been wonderful. We got 85 to 90 percent of the guys we tagged and that's a tremendous asset to our coaching staff. What we've been recruiting, we tagged those guys who can make a lot of plays and win championships and there will be first round picks from that type of team.

On Whipple's impact on Jacory Harris:
The first week or two weeks of practice was really insturmental for Jacory. Jacory went 17-for-18 passing on his first day out (in a scrimmage). That's what Whipple brings to this team. Get it into the playmakers' hands and with him bringing that aspect to Jacory, that has helped him more than anything.

On Jimmy Graham playing football this coming season:
Basically, we've had discussions about Jimmy playing football this upcoming season. He has an opportunity to come back next year and play football. I told Jimmy you have opportunities out there and can fill the dream you've had since Little League and that's playing football. His size, his speed may help us. The hardest part for him will be putting on shoulder pads and running around because he hasn't done it in 5 years. He's 6-7, 6-8 and about 270. He has to get used to blocking. He's an athlete and he has a chance to do it.

On the backup quarterback:
Taylor Cook would be the second string quarterback if the season started today. The team will really prosper if you can develop that second guy.

On the experience edge over last year:
We have 56 freshmen or sophomores coming back. We had a chance, last year, to play Georgia Tech to be in the ACC title game. The things we went through like the North Carolina, Florida State, and Georgia Tech tough losses, we learned. Watching spring football, I could see guys not slacking off. They're trying to get better and that's when you know your team is getting better.

On the status of Dedrick Epps:
He's not wearing his brace right now so he's ahead of schedule. When you get into the pounding and conditoning of summer, we'll see where he's at. He didn't gain weight or slack off. He's really working hard on rehabbing his knee and coming back. He should be running full speed and ready to go in July. Injuries are often how the person's body reacts coming off knee injuies.

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