Shannon: The team responded today

The Hurricanes put on full pads for the first time this morning. Read on to see what Coach Shannon was saying afterwards about it.

On today:
It was the first day of pads. We had one live drill, emphasizing the run the game. We ended with a two-minute drill. We had a lot of enthusiasm today after we came out slow yesterday. The team responded. We still got a long ways to go. As long as they're having fun and executing and having constant improvement and don't go backwards we're gonna be OK.

On players held out:
Everyone was ready to go. A couple guys we held out because it was their day off.

On the return of guys like Moncur and McCarthy:
They're gonna get their days. Jason Fox didn't go today. It was his day off. Each day, we'll have guys off. You take Fox out and now you can see what Ben (Jones), Jermaine (Johnson), and Brandon Washington can do. You take Colin out and you got Arthur Brown and others taking reps. You need to put those guys in those situations.

On Jimmy Graham:
He did OK. It was typical Jimmy. He made a couple plays, made some blocks. He needs to work on things but we're excited about his progress.

On the freshmen coming along:
You get the same amount of reps. The freshmen are getting a lot of work in. It will all come down to the scrimmage situation and who can execute in the heat of the battle. Practice is always situated -- all runs and no worry about the pass or all pass or all blitz. You go in phases like that. We're gonna see who can handle the stress of a scrimmage situation.

On the depth now compared to two seasons ago:
(Laughing) We could barely go one-and-a-half units. One of the biggest improvements is numbers are up, the talent level is up, and its a whole lot different.

On Dedrick Epps:
Dedrick went today. He bounced around. He did some good things. The middle drill, he was fine blocking. We have to monitor him but it's great to see him doing the things he's doing. He didn't do any contact but there's no tackling the tight ends in middle drill. All the blocking you worry about and he's been doing that. Him, Eric, Colin, Sharpton, those guys are doing contact, just not tackling yet.

On Harland Gunn:
He's doing a good job. Usually it takes threeyears to get it done (for OLinemen). Orlando played last year as a freshman but he only played part time. It wasn't until the seventh game he finally played the entire game. You can't rely on offensive linemen go to out and start the first day. There are a lot of mental things they have to get done and it's a lot different than in high school.

On being a leaner team:
If you look at our team from now till then (when he first got here), everything's different -- size, speed, strength. Those guys are still big but they're cutting off body fat. You got guys 320, 325 within 17 to 15 percent body fat. You got guys 200, 230 with seven, six percent body fat. It's good to see guys keeping the mass on them and that's a good thing.

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