Listen to Audio (10:20)
"First of all, I was really happy with the way we finished the game. I thought it was important first of all we got through the game without any injuries and that was big. We're beat up enough and to come out healthy, I was really happy. Our objectives were for the guys to go out there and finish up spring. Have a lot of fun. Play the game the way it's supposed to be played. Play smart. Play fast. Play physical. Didn't start off that way with the penalties and the snaps and some of the problems you don't want to have, but they calmed down after that and played, I thought overall, pretty well. We didn't have turnovers. I thought our quarterbacks managed the game fairly well, so there were some good things that happened in the game."
On Gio Bernard's injury in the first half:
"I don't know. They said he could go back in, so it couldn't have been too bad. Just put a Band-Aid on him and go."
On Romar Morris's performance:
"Yeah he stepped in when Gio couldn't come back in and made some good plays. Made some really nice runs, showed some good vision, caught the ball on the seam the one time for a touchdown, looked like he picked up the blitz pretty good, so he made some progress this spring."
How do you think the team handled the speed in between plays?
"For me it was awful slow out there and sluggish in between the plays. We've still got a ways to go in understanding the tempo, but it's not hard to see the stress you can put on the defense when you start moving the chains a few times and you got a tempo going. The defense gets on their heels and their breathing pretty hard. Those big guys up front; makes it tough on them."
Overall, how do you evaluate the progress of the team this spring?
"The way I look at it, did we meet the objectives that we set going into spring? One was that coming out of spring ball we had to have a good understanding of our base offense, defense and special teams. The base, the fundamentals and we did that. I think our guys understand the base concepts of the three phases.
"Two, was to learn how to practice the ‘Carolina way.' The new way. The way that we need to. With energy and passion and enthusiasm throughout a practice and at a tempo. We're not there yet, because our work capacity isn't where it needs to be. We've got to be in better condition to be able to do that. These guys will work hard over the summer to get that in. Coach Hernandez will get that straightened out. Then the third thing was to try to identify as many of our playmakers as possible going into fall camp."
Listen to Audio (5:16)
Can you talk about the combination of Romar Morris and Gio Bernard?
"With the amount of snaps we're going to get, one running back can't do it. It's just too many snaps at the tempo we're going to play. We need a 1-2-3-type punch. Romar had a really good last couple of weeks and to be honest with you, he moved up the depth chart a little bit within the last week. Showed signs of being able to help us. He's got the ability, he's got a burst, catches the ball well, he'll step up and hit you for protection. We're going to need at least two if not three and sometimes four running backs with the amount of snaps and the ability to run the ball and catch the ball out of the backfield. It's going to take a lot of those guys."
When installing a new offense, how important is it to have a player like Bryn Renner who picks up on things so quickly?
"I think regardless of what offense you're putting in, your quarterback better be a thinker. He better be cognitive and understand what's going on. That is crucial for anybody. Because we are playing as fast as we are playing and we're trying to process as fast as we're playing I think that magnifies the issue.
"It's been hard. It has not been real pretty at times I'll be honest with you. The last three or four days have been our best, which you would expect. It's gotten better and [Renner] had his best day today. Up top looking down, he showed to be calm. He showed to be aware of where guys are supposed to be. He communicated. He had a day today that would allow you to have a chance to win a game come next fall. Still has a lot of improvement to go, but that's the right step where we needed it."
On the numerous penalties today:
"We've had it every day and it's been our Achilles heel. We talked about it yesterday and today again reminding them. I think it just has to do with the speed of how we're playing is so different. The terminology is obviously different. The speed is different. They're not having that time to process from the huddle to the line of scrimmage. They're having to do it now and something as simple as the snap count or the cadence is creating a bigger issue than it normally would be. They settled down gradually and got better as we went and we were able to move the ball, but that has been a huge issue. Bigger than I expected it to be, but we're just going to continue working on it."
Listen to Audio (1:59)
Can you speak to the different formations and versatility of the defensive scheme?
"I think that's one of, we hope, the strengths of [the defense]. It's got some versatility and it gives you the opportunity to give people different looks without stopping. To me that's a big deal and it's one of the reasons we run it. The more looks you can give and offense, the harder it is for offensive linemen, the harder it is for quarterbacks and it just makes it tough on them. That was one of the things that when you put this defense in it was designed to do."
How would you assess the progress of the defense this spring?
"Everybody keeps saying we're not there yet. We're not even close, but Coach [Fedora] wanted to come out of spring with a working knowledge of the defense. The base calls. I felt like the first group accomplished that. The second group, not quite there yet. We have to create some depth. I think that's an area that we're really concerned with. We've got some incoming freshmen. We got some guys that worked hard this spring and made some progress, but I think the one's on defense have an idea of what we're trying to do. As far as playing at the level we want to play at with the energy and the passion, we're not there yet, but hopefully we'll get there."
Can you address depth in the secondary?
"There are some questions. You got to go with three or four corner's, three or four safety's and we'll evaluate this tape. I think we're getting closer to having a little bit of depth. We got three good freshmen in the secondary coming. We hope one of them can give us depth, but to me, creating depth is ongoing. You can't give kids experience, they got to go out and earn it themselves, but we have some definite progress."
Listen to Audio (6:25)
Can you talk about what the combination of Romar Morris and Gio Bernard potentially presents?
"It's awesome to have a 1-2 punch like that. Last year we had [Ryan Houston] and Gio and it was lighting and thunder. Now we just got two lightning's. So it's awesome. Obviously you guys saw it today. He's got a lot of speed and potential and we're happy to have him in the backfield so it's good."
Is there a lot more depth to the playbook than we saw today?
"Absolutely. We have 50% of the offense in. We really didn't run that complicated of a system today just because we wanted to make sure we have the base things down. I think we did an adequate job, but we can get a lot better just at the base stuff. We have a long way to go just filling the playbook. We have 50% in, there's a lot more things we could be doing and we just got to make sure we're in our play books and the whole summer we're going to be working hard."
Listen to Audio (2:08)
Did you get stitches in your head?
"Yeah. I got five stitches in my head, but I'm good. The training staff came up to me and said if I needed to go back in I can. Some of the guys were like ‘chill out', so…"
What happens between now and the start of fall practice?
"Just really getting at it. Keep working on our conditioning. Keep working on getting stronger, faster and everything and even mentally. I think we have another practice on Monday, we're going to go through a little stuff and things coaches want us to do during this break period of ours and kind of get better at every single phase of our game. Even though we're not playing football we still got to be able, at any point, when training camp comes we got to be able to pick up where we left off here."
Listen to Audio (2:43)
How did it feel out there today?
"It felt great. Once it started rolling it just felt like practice again. Just like I was running on air. Great movement, great motion, offense was just rolling."
What did you focus on in the offseason?
"This offseason I was focusing on getting stronger so I could be more durable in the backfield, so I can be able to help the team out more."
How fun is it to play in this offense?
"It was excellent. It just feels great. Basically like you're free. Just get on the edge, run through tackles, everything. It's an awesome feeling."