"Yeah, there's been some guys that have from the very beginning when we got into the winter workouts and ‘Blue Dawn.' Guys like Sylvester Williams, Jonathan Cooper. Guys like Kevin Reddick, Gio [Bernard], Bryn [Renner] even though Bryn was hobbled after the surgery he still was going as hard as he could go. We had to pull him out a lot of times and so, there's been quite a few guys that have stepped up, stood out, have shown they want to do what it takes to be successful."
What are the goals for spring practice?
"When we walk out of spring ball, the three things we have to accomplish are, one, our guys have to have an understanding of our base and that means special teams, defense and offense. They have to understand what we expect. Two, they have to learn how to practice and we're not there yet. We're not where we need to be as far as understanding the energy, the passion level, the enthusiasm that it takes to practice the Carolina way now. Those two things we have to accomplish and, third, we got to identify the players, figure out what they can do, how they can help us win a championship and then put them in the right place."
How is the team doing health-wise?
"We had quite a few guys that really haven't participated in spring ball for injuries during the season or at the end of the season and surgeries that we had, so there's quite a few guys that we haven't seen on the field yet. We understand they can play, we've heard they can play, but we haven't seen it in person yet. I think for the most part, we've done pretty well. We haven't had anything major happen, knock on wood, to this point.
"We've had quite a few guys get beat up at various times during the spring, because there is quite a bit of hitting during the spring. We're getting after it and a lot of guys are trying to prove themselves. We just had a 170-play scrimmage yesterday and just about each player got to play almost a full game and that's difficult. Then we'll come back and get after it again on Wednesday, because it's really our last day in pads for the whole spring. Then we'll come back on Friday, be in shorts and helmets, and then get after it in the spring game."
How is Casey Barth doing after having to red-shirt due to injury last year?
"You know what, he's done a nice job. He hasn't had any problems with the groin. He's really kicked very consistently this spring, so we've been happy with it."
What was your reaction when the NCAA handed down the sanctions about a month ago?
"Okay, let's go. It was just like, okay this is it, this is what we got, let's roll now. Let's put together a plan, let's work the plan and let's get out of here and let's put it behind us. There's no reason to lie around, cry about it, talk about what it should've been, what could've been. It doesn't matter. That's what it is, so I really didn't give it much thought after that. This is it, let's put a plan on how we're going to handle 80 scholarships now for the next three years and let's move forward."
What would your ideal kickoff time be?
"I don't really have an ideal time. It doesn't really matter to me what time we play, where we play, if it's on asphalt or in the gravel. It doesn't matter. You get to play and you don't have that many opportunities in the game of football. You work year round, who cares what time it is, you just get another opportunity to go play. Nobody cares about the weather, where you're going to play, when you're going to play. Just go out there and get after it and that's what it's all about."
Is there an emphasis on the NC State game and what do you think of rivalries overall?
"Well, first of all, I'm making a big thing out of every game we got, including the first one and that's the most important one. That's really the only one we got, is the next one and that's going to be the most important thing we do.
"But, yes, I understand rivalries and I understand the importance of rivalries and that's great not only for the football team, but it's great for your fans. It is going to be a game of importance. It will be something we put a lot of emphasis on and that's already started."
What is the format for the spring game on Saturday and what are your goals?
"We split the team in half. The first half we're going to play a normal game. There will be T.V. timeouts… it's going to be a game in the first half. In the second half we'll come out and we'll probably run the clock. We won't stop the clock; we'll let it run. We're still going to play two quarters, but we're going to let it run. It'll go pretty quick in the second half.
"Number one thing is I want to get out of the thing with no injuries. That's number one. I want to get out healthy. I want our kids to have fun. I want the people to leave and say ‘you know what, they may not be there now, but those kids are having fun playing the game.' That's what I want."
Offensive coordinator Blake Anderson
Who are some of the guys that have stood out to you so far on the offensive side of the ball?
"Up front, [James] Hurst at left tackle has been steady and obviously can play, so he's a guy that's been a solid guy for us up front. [Russell] Bodine is showing improvement at center and getting a lot of snaps. He didn't play a lot last year. He's starting to take a little better control up front.
"We've had steady play at tight end by two or three guys. [Eric] Ebron, [Jack] Tabb and even [Sean] Fitzpatrick. All three of those guys have shown up. By committee at wide out a little bit. It's been a different group every day. A guy that has really stood out to me I think is [Sean] Tapley. I didn't know exactly what to expect going into spring and he's just been a guy that everyday comes with good effort and has made plays maybe that I didn't expect he'd make early and has been a spark.
"Gio can play. You know he can play. He's been probably more than what I expected him to be early, just in how quickly he picked things up and the fact that he's been even a leader. For a young guy he's been a good leader.
"And we're so crazy at quarterback. Bryn will have a good day and then have a bad day and Marquise [Williams] will have a good day and have a bad day. Caleb [Pressley] had a couple good drives yesterday, so we're still trying to do out best. Bryn has shown leadership, which has been encouraging. And he has studied the game, so you can tell he's moving in the right direction."
Why is the spread so effective and why is it the right way for you to run an offense?
"Well it allows you to create some mismatches. In some places we've been maybe we can get a small quick guy on a bigger quick guy that doesn't handle the space very well. At time the tempo and the conditioning that we put our guys through has allowed us to diminish some of the mismatches we've had up front at times. Better defensive linemen, better linebackers and towards the second quarter and the fourth quarter, our conditioning and our ability to be good in space has helped us to create some matches on our side of the ball.
"But mainly, to be honest with you, we spend a lot of hours in the office, we spend a lot of hours watching film, we spend a lot of hours on the field. I want to be involved in something that's fun for me as a coach, it's fun for the kids as players, fun for my wife and kids, who've been doing it for twenty years. It's enjoyable and it allows you to recruit skill guys that want to be involved in it as opposed to just throwing eleven guys in there and ramming the ball right down the middle every time. So, there are a lot of reasons that we do it and things that it brings to the table."
Defensive coordinator Dan Disch
What players have stood out on the defense thus far?
"It's some of the guys everybody knows. Kevin Reddick's done a good job and ‘Sly' has done good. I think some kids that people maybe don't know about. Sam Smiley stood up a little bit in the secondary. He's done a good job. He's a teammate of Tapley's from high school and they're actually from my hometown so I know those guys pretty good and excited to see them playing. Tre Boston has done a nice job, but overall it's not about the individual kids as much as trying to get these guys to play hard and play together, but they've been the ones that have stood up and been our leaders right now."
Can you explain your 4-2-5 defensive philosophy?
"It's the thing that gives us the opportunity to be versatile. With these modern day offenses and the spread and stuff, you're putting more athletes on the field. We've got a ‘bandit' who's kind of a hybrid linebacker and our ‘ram' who's really a defensive back, so against the spread offenses and some of these high tempo offenses, you just get more speed on the field and it allows you to be multiple like offenses are. We can be 4-3 or 3-4 without changing personnel. The kids like it because we're attacking from everywhere and trying to do different things."
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