Shannon: There's pressure on everybody

The Hurricanes open their 2009 season against Florida State on Monday and you can read on to see what head coach Randy Shannon is talking about just a few days before the big game.

Opening statements…
The season has come back around… big game Monday night, typical state rivalry. I think this game is going to be special, not only because it will be shown on ESPN and it's the only football game on. It's going to be shown to the military (overseas). Playing Florida State is always a great challenge for a football team…going against Coach Bowden is unique because he's a guy that most guys in the country look up to and you respect him because he's done it for so long. If you have a meeting, he can give you a lot of insight and a lot of stories about certain things. He and myself have talked in coaches meetings about how things were in 1983 and ‘84 when I was being recruited out of Miami. The way things have changed…five visits compared to unlimited visits, option football to the spread offense to what teams are doing now, things they're doing now. And you talk to him about parents. Coach Bowden really does a great job with parents. He expresses things that parents want to hear about how kids are supposed to be handled. It will be a great time and great game Monday night.

On the running back situation...
I'm happy now because you never have too many running backs because injuries do happen. We're happy about the way (Graig) Cooper and Javarris (James) have been doing. They're always working together, and I think this has been the best Javarris has done in camp since he was a freshman. He hasn't been nicked, nothing has gone on. He looks faster. Cooper is Cooper and I think Lee Chambers has taken that next step. Then you go to the next group of guys which is Damien Berry, Mike James and Lamar Miller. You got to use them in some fashion; a lot of guys will be used on special teams. A lot of guys will have some role in the game against Florida State. Barring injuries, Cooper and Javarris will be the main load guys and other guys will be used when needed.

On focusing on the first game with three ranked opponents to follow…
Honestly, we have never talked about it as a football team. As coaches we talked about it when it came out in the spring. But besides that, we've got some seniors on this team that have taken care of that for us - (Jason) Fox, Randy Phillips, Chavez Grant and a couple other guys. As far as the first game, you want to not let it affect the second and third game. Sometimes you get caught up with it if you win then you're off to a great start. No you're not… it's just one game. If you go into the next game not thinking about little details because you're too high from the previous game, then you lose. If you do happen to have a bad first game then you can't dwell on that for the next game. This morning was our first true Florida State practice. It's a good start for us today and they're excited about it.

About the possibility of college football adding an exhibition game…
It won't happen. We got 13 games and you would have to start a week earlier on certain teams. Not too many conferences will vote on it, because who would you play in an exhibition game? I don't think everyone would want to play a premier matchup in an exhibition game. You would want a lower ranked team or I-AA (FCS) team to get ready with.

Any concerns about playing late after holding weeks of early practice sessions…
No. We did camp at 8 a.m. and then scrimmages at (8 p.m.). They played faster and hustled more and made less mistakes at night. It's cooler at night. We do so much in the morning because of the thunderstorms in the afternoon. It would be too many missed practices. You could go in the gym, but it's not the same. If you lose that practice, you can never make it up.

On Jacory's game experience at Florida last year helping him with the crowd…
It will be a big crowd. I think that him coming off the goal line last year and managing the game, those types of things will help him. We put him in situations last season where when we put him in this game, he will already have been in those situations…they won't seem new.

On the possibility of freshman quarterback A.J. Highsmith playing at FSU…
He won't play if we don't have to use him.

On the challenges for preparing for Florida State…
Always remember this on the first game…there will be something offensively and defensively new that you could not prepare for. It won't show on film - run or pass - and you have to adjust to it. It will be on the first two series of the game, that's when it will happen. So when you see it, you make corrections on the sideline so when you see it again you can handle it. You can't let the unknown plays get you the second time.

On pressure on coaches to prepare…
There's pressure on everybody. Everybody wants to win the first game, everybody wants to have a great showing, and everybody wants to win. Everybody has the pressure. Just like if (a photographer) misses a play on the field, you're going to be under a lot of pressure.

On Jacory being the guy and trying to do it all himself…
He'll never do that. He's never done that. He's always been a team guy and has always done what he has to do to get everyone involved. He's not going to put it on his shoulders.

On the number of true freshman he expects to play at FSU…
Four or five...A lot less than last year and hopefully next year it will be a lot less too. The biggest thing is the guys who come in January, it makes a big difference. They have been here a long time. Maybe one guy from August will be part of that four or five.


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