RALEIGH, N.C. -- Head coach Tom O'Brien spoke with the media following the team's first scrimmage of fall camp, discussing the new turf and the secondary's stand-out performance.
O'Brien said the coaches kept things pretty vanilla for the first scrimmage, just seven days after the start of fall camp. "It wasn't a scrimmage where we tried to trick anybody. We tried to be basic and be fundamental and be sound and execute our base offense and base defense so its just a matter of guys performing."
He also commented that the team as a whole is nowhere closet to being ready. "We've got a long way to go. There are a lot of things that have to be better. We aren't anywhere close to being a football team ready to play a game."
Most players got 30 plays to try to get 'into the swing of things'. He emphasized that with another scrimmage just a few days away it will be a good opportunity to see which players can watch tape from the first scrimmage and improve during the next - "If we don't improve then we are going to have problems"
The secondary, which has been depleted by recent attrition, was a bright spot on Sunday as the group intercepted three passes and allowed just one touchdown reception. "A couple of kids made some plays today which is very positive for us. Especially Rashard Smith returning it for a touchdown so you know guys are fighting for jobs."
"At practice sometimes the coach is there and everything else so you aren't really sure if a guy understands what's going on so its always good when you go out there and guys do step up."
O'Brien acknowledge that the heat, which got into the upper 90s with heavy humidity, was a factor saying that his team had to 'slug it out' today. But he commended the players for their attitude saying 'the guys hustled around and there was some enthusiasm.'
Josh Czajkowski's 2-for-5 day on field goals was a 'concern' to the coach, who said the place kicker has changed his mechanics. He compared it to a golfer changing his swing in that it might take some time to work everything out, but said he has been kicking well in practice and hopes that it doesn't remain and issue the rest of the camp.
O'Brien said the offensive line was 'still a work in progress like everybody else.' He referrenced a few false start penalties which he called 'unacceptable,' adding that 'one of them was in the red zone segment where we had a first down and we had to back up and start five yards deeper so we have some work to do there'
Among the running backs, who averaged 3.8 yards a carry on the day, O'Brien said that no one stood out particularly but did add that he was encouraged by the running of Toney Baker, who ran 'pretty decently' according to the coach.
O'Brien said the new field 'stood up', but that he would have to wait till tomorrow to get a real feel for how it held up. "I don't think there were any slips and slides, it was a firm field. We finally have a level playing surface."
'One swallow does not make a spring' was a phrase that O'Brien threw out several times in reference to his players' performance. The phrase is a reference to an Aristotle quote (usually quoted as summer instead of spring) and might be best translated to 'one day doesn't make a season' in football terms.