Has anything in training camp adjusted your expectations?
The biggest thing is just the way the leadership on the team has changed. We had good senior leadership last year. The thing I'm seeing now is freshmen, sophomores, juniors... guys emerging in each class who are doing a really good job. That excites me because you never know when one of those guys will be in.
We have experience but we also have youth backing up experience.
You see Jack Tocho, who is not a senior yet, grabbing guys and counseling them. It's fun to watch. Fernandez is grabbing guys... guys who have played a lot but who are not seniors.
That makes me feel good about what we can do. We have to stay healthy in the right places... but having a great season, we'll see. I haven't felt that way about our team yet, where you see it throughout the roster... the leadership.
You don't have a lot of seniors, but it seems like they talk about having a special season.
When we started this semester we talked about raising the bar. Then Jacoby got up at the end and said, 'A lot of you guys are young, but the young guys that have played ... you are not young so you can't say that.' He made it real clear to them as a senior that the guys that have played you treat them like they are [veterans]. You have to own up to it.
Guys like Nyheim that were redshirts or true freshmen this is going to be their first game in eight days. They are going to be nervous. The rest of the roster is not. They got to act older because they've played enough to be able to tact that way.
For us to be the team we need to be, our juniors and sophomores need to play ahead of their years.
You've said in the past to have a great season you need All-ACC caliber players. Who have you seen that could get that type of recognition?
I don't want to label anybody because there are still guys that can emerge, but the returners on the list are guys that everyone talks about. Jacoby and Mike Rose stand out... it's hard to say.
I think Jaylen Samuels... I don't know where you'd put him on a list, but he is a really good football player. I don't know what he is as far as how you would slot a guy but that guy is a really good football player. The stuff he does everyday is fun to watch.
Defensively there are five guys playing in the secondary that are playing at a better level than they played. I don't know how it stacks up to what Louisville and Florida State but for us they are playing pretty good ball.
Are you ready to go with a week to go?
We want to play a game.
Everybody in their right mind is sick of hitting each other. We want to get out there and as a coach you need to see what you have. You don't really know until you're out there what you probably are.
We need to play a game. I wish it was sooner than eight days away.
Have you decided to try to redshirt Johnny Frasier?
[Frasier] will probably redshirt. We still aren't to game week yet so... unfortunately he has the flu today. He is not practicing, and he had it yesterday.
If that's what we end up doing we will only do it because we think it's the best thing for him. He is going to be a really good back, he really is. But, it's hard when you're sick and you're in the middle of getting ready to play a game. We're excited about his future.
Thoughts on early enrollee impact...
I don't know what it is, I think over 20 of early enrollees, those guys just have a better opportunity to showcase their skillset because they are not thinking like the other guys are.
They've already been through spring ball and summer one... the ins/outs of their position.
Reggie has an advantage and he's been playing like it. He's done a good job.
Would you consider fining players from their cost-of-attendance?
No, because I'm not above the courts. The courts said we had to do that... it's not optional. It's a thing we have to pay out right now.
There are guys that come here that don't have much back home it's really helped them. It can actually help their parents get to games which is a big deal for some of the kids.
Have you ever done anything like that as a disciplinary issue?
I've used the bowl that way, not giving bowl gifts. Guys will get sweatsuits and tennis shoes... things like that. Scholarship money is different.
Do you think cost-of-attendance will play a role in recruiting?
I hope not. We haven't seen it yet. We're fortunate here where we're not in the bottom third. We're in the middle-of-the-pack.
Florida State gets more than anyone in our league, but kids are going to go to Florida State because they are Florida State, not because of $3,000 more dollars.
With all the injuries going around in football, no one has been injured?
Pharoah sprained his knee and we got a great report from the doctors. It's day-by-day with him... but there was no injury that required surgery for him which is great news. We'll get him back as soon as we can.
He's really the one guy that got nicked up in camp and we got good news on him.
If we can get the swelling out, he'll have a chance [for the opener].