The ACC is proposing this five year deal with eligibility and if it passes they will make it retroactive. What are the chances that will make it more tempting for you to not red-shirt your freshmen?
"You won't need to. If that passes you won't need to red-shirt freshmen. It won't make sense to."
What about your current freshmen right now?
"Yea, but we haven't red-shirted a lot of kids. The teams that are in the top 5 or 10 with a ton of fifth-year seniors it won't affect them, but it will affect us because we don't have a lot of true seniors.
I have to know if it's retroactive. If it is then these guys need to make a decision on if it's going to pass because it is going to affect the recruiting class of next year."
How many scholarships do you have?
"Well, we've got quite a few. But, if you have six or seven guys that are coming back then we wouldn't have as many left. But, I'd take a fifth-year senior coming back over a first-year freshman.
I'm all for it, and I hope it goes through. I hope they make that decision. I talked to the seniors last night about it. It's a fifth-year deal where you would be a redshirt-junior right now.
We'll probably know more about how things will go well before they would have to make a final decision."
Are you making few offers in terms of scholarship offers to high school players?
"I don't make a lot of offers. If the kid's a stud or a no-brainer we'll offer him a scholarship, and if he decides he wants to come then we'll take him."
Your old quarterback Philip Rivers is stuck in contract negotations. How tough do you think this is for him knowing that he wants to be there and play?
"There's no question he wants to be there and he does understand that it's a business. That's his business. I'm worried about who's going to replace him."
How have the guys in your secondary looked so far?
"I think everybody right now is fired up. They are only practicing one time a day and you get a lot more out of them.
The skill kids have done a good job on both sides of the ball. In the secondary the corners have done well and the safeties are right there too."
Offensive Coordinator Noel Mazzone
You're going to have a new quarterback and more depth at running back. Is there a temptation to tweak the overall philosophy into a more ground-oriented attack?
"I don't want to get carried away with ground-oriented. I don't like that word. In any offense you're always striving for balance because that's what defenses don't want to see. Last year we had such an exceptional kid at quarterback it was hard to take the ball out of his hands. Plus, with the injuries we had at running back we really didn't have running backs to take the heat off that position.
I'm excited about our situation at running back right now. All of those kids have been working hard and they all are really talented. [Laughing] Hopefully we can do better than last in the league in rushing this year... I really hope so."
Do you see with the running backs and an experienced offensive line a much larger margin of error for those quarterbacks?
"Yea, it takes a lot of pressure off that position. We're not asking them to convert every third-down with their arm. Just like in these drills, we can sometimes hand the ball to a running back on 3rd and four or 3rd and six and they can make big plays for us. Plus they are all good pass receivers out of the backfield which is big in our offense.
It's been nice and I think it's taken some pressure off the quarterback position. It's something I'm a little more used to... I have had the luxury of having guys like Deuce McAllister in the backfield. It's nice to have those type of skill kids back there. We're real excited about having those kids."
"Yea, they are going to be alright. [Laughing]Were you guys here today? They give us some depth at that spot which we didn't have. They both are very energetic guys who obviously have a lot of talent and a lot of skills. They can also catch the ball real well, and if you throw Tramain [Hall] into that mix it's a good nucleus to build some things around."
Will you talk about the depth and experience you now have on the offensive line?
"One of the things I think is good for us is we're playing against a very good defensive line... a very athletic defensive line which does nothing but make us better.
Really at every position and maybe moreso with the offensive line between that first year and second year comes the biggest jump in how you play. Every year you keep getting better, and I've really seen a big jump in those guys who played for the first time last year."
Defensive Line Coach Todd Stroud
If you get more pressure on the quarterback it has to help the entire defense...right?
"It's going to help everything. Obviously last year we weren't very good at rushing the passer and it affected our coverage. Anytime you have six freshmen taking snaps you're going to struggle and we struggled. It's pretty simple."
What does Mario Williams weigh now?
"Mario is about 290 right now. He weighed back in at about 285 today but when he comes back in the morning he's 290.
We go off of body composition index and he's under 10% body fat at that weight right now. He is at about 6.8% body fat at 290, and he runs well. He hasn't had any problems with conditioning and is still as fast as he was at 250 pounds.
He's done very well with his body and he's strong and physical and big, and I like that stuff. He's everything you want... he just has to keep getting reps."
Can you talk some about the progress of DeMario Pressley?
"Sure. When freshmen come in here they are in shock the first couple of days. We put some upper pads on today, and he had his best day out here as far as fundamentals. It's a learning curve for those freshmen because they are so far behind fundamentally from where we want them to be.
He was like every freshman the first couple of days, but he flashed some good things yesterday during 11-on-11s and he flashed some today during pass rush. We'll just keep chopping wood with him and get him in a scrimmage this weekend to see how he stacks up against the other guys. There's a chance he can find some playing time as a true freshman."
Where have you put him?
"He's playing left tackle right now behind Johnny McCargo and Martrel Brown, but all those positions are interchangeable. So, if he plays left he can play right and those type of things."
What's the situation with Kennie Covington?
"Kennie Covington is still battling academics right now. He's fighting the fight right now and finishing up his academic work."