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"Obviously today's practice 14. We actually have one more day. The NCAA obviously doesn't allow you to go back and review, and correct mistakes from today or watch the film unless you got an extra practice. So we saved it for Monday to come back and kind of clean up anything that was a little bit not as good as we would've liked for it to have been, but I think the spring on the whole we've accomplished a lot of the things. Clearly we're not the finished product, and we're a long ways away from being the type of football team we're going to need to be.
"If there were some highlights from the spring clearly one of them has got to be the improvement and the development in the offensive line. I think it's probably has a chance to be one of the strongest units on our football team. It has taken several recruiting classes to build that kind of talented players and depth all at the same time, but obviously I think it's going to be a really good unit. I think [the] defensive line on the flipside is also going to be the strong area of our defense. We'll have we think somewhere between six and eight and maybe nine guys that literally could go in the game and play well.
"Bryn Renner showed a little bit today of some of the things that certainly excite us. His ability to extend plays, move around in the pocket, get outside the pocket, throw the ball, I think that clearly he's doing a lot of things well. He's still got a lot of things that he's got to improve on. The areas obviously of concern certainly is depth at the linebacker position and in the secondary, and I talked to our team, and I've talked to some other people a little bit; two things are always the same with every football team when there's a changing of the guard. There's a little bit of a vacuum that on your football team when last year's group of seniors leave at any time, whether it's the group that we just lost or any year; this year maybe more so than any year that I've been coaching, because of the number of seniors that not only left, but how much experience that they actually took.
"When you take a look at Bruce Carter, Quan Sturdivant, Deunta Williams, Kendric Burney, you're talking about four guys that basically started for straight four years, and took 90-something-percent of the reps in all those years. Da'Norris Searcy who was a two-year starter if you lose those kinds of guys, and so leadership is something we're still waiting for it to emerge in this football team both offensively and defensively that's part of it, then obviously is building the depth and the experience. There's no way, we can't empower these kids with experience. They're going to have to gain it on their own through every single game through the early part of the season, gaining experience and gaining confidence, but if they'll work hard enough we'll have a chance to have a good football team. I was pleased today with C.J. Feagles's punting. I think he's gotten a lot more solid, a lot more consistent. I think we all feel very comfortable with Casey [Barth] as extra points and field goals. He's kicking the ball as well as I've ever seen him kick."
Can you talk about Sylvester Williams and what he's brought? He looked like a pretty tough guy to block.
"Well Sylvester's extraordinarily active. I think if you were going to describe him as a football player he's got a lot of short area quickness. He's explosive. He's powerful at the point of attack. Clearly is a guy that comes into your program, and in a short amount of time he's had a chance to make some impression on our football team and our coaching staff, because he's got two years of college experience.
"Here's a kid, it's not like the typical high school defensive lineman that comes, and he's kind of star-struck and feeling his way. This guy came in with a mission that he wanted to play. He wanted to compete for a starting job. He wanted to get himself in that rotation to know that he's going to have a chance to play, and he's done everything that we've ever asked him to do. He's a terrific worker in the weight room. He runs. He lifts. He's been a great inspiration, and that meeting room. As in the case we felt really good about Tydreke Powell, and we felt really good about Jordan Nix, but here's two guys that are seniors.
"They've been in the program for a long time, that they just like everybody else, they need competition. They need somebody to trying to take their job away from them, and I think that Sylvester has provided not only his own personal motivation, but I think it's helped spur them along to not get complacent, and not say, ‘I can just put it on autopilot, and I can cruise.' We're very happy that Sylvester is in this program."
You were a little fired up after the game today.
"Oh yeah, I was a little fired up. We had a great crowd out there. It was just a lot of fun to get in front of people, and have basically a practice, so it was a lot of fun. I had a lot of fun out there."
How do you feel about your performance?
"I feel like I did alright. I need to get better at pre-snap checks at the line, and I think I didn't really do a good job with that, but I thought I made plays. It was the first time Coach [John] Shoop was in the box with me, and we were getting signals from the sideline, so I think I need to work on that and get a lot better on that aspect."
Sylvester [Williams] was disruptive on a couple of plays. Has that been kind of what he's done this spring?
"The crazy thing is he came in with the development from JUCO to Division One he's definitely done a tremendous job. I feel like he's getting better. He's a very hard worker. I have to match his intensity. I fell in love with him. He's like a little brother to me, and he's going to continue to do a good job. He'll help us out a lot."
Is that the key to have a good defensive line? You're on one side, Donte Paige-Moss is on the other, Tydreke Powell in the middle with Jordan Nix and Sylvester. Is that important as teams are unable to double-team you?
"Yeah that's definitely the key to a complete defense. They just can't game-plan against me, or game-plan Donte or Dreke or Jordan or a single-handed game plan. It gives us an opportunity to say, ‘Look you're going to have to block us one-on-one. May the best man win.' So I like that we have depth, and we got experience."
How does it feel to be sort of the new Ryan out there?
"It feels good. I feel like high school again. You're the only guy in the backfield in high school, and kind of like that again. I just have to take it one day at a time, and stay humble, and just keep working. If I keep working I can be the best running I can be, and will help this team a lot of football games."
Since you're the man this year what are your goals? Do you have some things you want to work on? Some things you want to accomplish?
"The number one goal is to win the ACC. They feel like we've lost a lot of guys last year, and they feel like that's going to be hard for us to rebuild and to have a competitive team this year. So I feel like just take the games one at a time, and just try to open up with some highs this year."
Last year T.J. [Yates] was the senior. This year you're the senior, Bryn [Renner] is the underclassman. What's the relationship between you and Bryn?
"Me and Bryn have always had a cool relationship. We're still developing our chemistry, so he's young when he gets down I'm always like, ‘Bryn, come on you can't think about it. Just move on.' I'm really trying to keep him focused."
How good of a quarterback can Bryn be?
"He can be real good. He's special. He's a lot ahead of the game than where I thought he was going to be, so he's looking good right now. He's got a lot of work to do, but I feel that he could be real good."
You were with the second team a good portion of the spring, but after today where do you think you're at?
"Toward the end of spring practice I moved back to the first group. I think I'm going to start the season with the first group."
Describe that touchdown, and how it unfolded. You got behind those two guys.
"Just something we've been working on all spring. It felt normal, nothing exciting really. It was touchdown of course, but it just felt like practice."
You've shown that you can run a little bit too. Can you just describe what you saw on that play when you rolled out to the right and sprinted up field?
"It was a little dump off pass to the fullback, so I didn't see him there. He was covered. I've been hitting it all spring, so I figured that now he's covered. Coach said if it's not there just take off, so I just wanted to show my wheels and have a little fun running the ball."
Were there any points of confusion out there?
"No actually it wasn't. It was actually just getting used to this environment, playing in front of thousands than playing in front of like 500 at your school. It's just adapting to more receivers than what I've had too, faster receivers and a faster defense around here, so we weren't on the wrong page or anything. That interception I threw, I just need to put some more zip on it. The defenses are much faster than in high school."
Josh, what did you see on those two picks to be able to make the play?
"They were both seven balls. We had definitely been working those all spring, and I just got a good break on them. I saw the quarterback, and I just stepped and planted and got a good catch too."
Going into the spring it seemed like the most question marks were in the secondary. Looks like you guys made some good headway with Tre Boston's breakup and then your interception.
"Oh yeah, definitely, just us coming along as a defensive secondary that helped so much. If we talk, communicate, that translates. We help everybody. We're like the generals of the defense. We get everybody lined up, and let them know what we got to do, and down-right and down-left calls and all that."
The other side of the line, how about Travis Bond and Brennan Williams? What's good about those guys, and what do they bring to the game?
"They're monsters. They're huge guys, and they just bring a physical aspect. We [Cooper and James Hurst] like to call ourselves the smart side. They like to call themselves the strong side. They just have this toughness, and a mean demeanor about them that we're working to get on the left side."
Can you talk about how you think you all did against the defensive line today?
"I feel like we had a pretty good showing. We had 11 run plays scripted I think, and our goal was to get about 60 yards rushing, and give up zero sacks. I think we gave up one sack, but the coaches told me it was a questionable call. I feel like we did pretty good as a whole today."