It's fun to be back on the field first of all. A lot of guys have made progress. Now you get to go in and watch it. Obviously, we are not in full pads--so you can’t get too excited about anything but it is just fun to see the guys that have played and have experience--the way that they come back. You can see their confidence. You see them coaching other players. You see them feeding off of each other. It is exciting as a coach to see that progress in year three.
A lot of guys had their first college practice today, so there were some nerves out there. We have to teach them how to let the butterflies loose. It was fun to be on the field today.
Do you see a tangible change in attitude from last year to this year?
The attitude was good last year. That wasn’t a problem. We just have more guys that played in games that are back even though we are still a young team--only 11 seniors. A lot of our sophomores or our juniors are guys that have one or two years of playing time now so you can see that part of it coming back. There are not as many spots [on the roster with players] that have not played a college game.
How does it feel to see more players that you recruited taking on presumably the identity you want this program to have?
At this point, they are all mine. Even if I didn’t recruit them, they are mine. They are a good group of guys and I love them all. You want to see guys that you have brought into the program come into practice, there is no doubt, but I am just as excited to see the senior class as I am the freshmen.
Do you see the improvement in depth in the battles with 2’s and 3’s?
Today it is hard to say. The linemen are not competing as they normally would without pads on but competitive depth is our goal in recruiting. We want to build a team, a roster full of guys that want to beat each other out everyday, help each other get better, and we are definitely in a better place than we have been.
How did Jacoby Brissett look today?
You can tell it is his team. The control, he knows the system inside and out, and he has Jalen [McLendon]. He just understands what he needs to do--pretty businesslike.
Is left tackle one of the biggest question marks going into camp?
We know what Tyler Jones can be. He is pretty talented. I think it is more about who is going to play behind those guys now. Tyler and Alex [Barr] came out of the Spring as our starting tackles. We need to look at our backup tackles and see if there is some competition after that.
Have you ever had this much depth at running back?
Not at NC State. At Wisconsin we did. Not since we have been here. It is a good problem to have.
Have the players met their offseason goals?
Everyone is going to tell you that want to be bigger and stronger. Our goal is to be able to move people on the line of scrimmages, to be explosive in our skill positions, and to be injury-free. That is our goal so you try to create as much of that as you can in the weight room.
With so many guys back, is it a more polished team in August than your other NC State squads?
There are some guys that are two-year starters that probably don’t have the same competition that some other guys but there are still some wide open jobs out there and as a coach I want to see competition at every position. If I ever feel like a guy is relaxed the competition is going to get hot and heavy pretty quick at his position group.