How has the transition been coming from Indiana to here? What are the insights you have in terms of moving from one program to the next?
Well, transition is never easy. It's always kind of . . . at times it's uncomfortable because you just don't know everybody. There are a lot of new faces to get to know. You have a bunch of guys who have never met you that have to understand your personality too. It's never easy, but it's been a smooth transition. These kids have been great; the coaching staff has been unbelievable. I give credit to Coach Fedora for the things he's done around here. That's one of the reasons why I came here – I knew what an opportunity it was to be around great people and great athletes. Indiana was awesome; they had a bunch of the same. But, being in a place like this, to get an opportunity to work under another head coach who has been part of championships and been unbelievable as a head coach, it was a great opportunity for me. Like I said, transition is never easy, but it's been as smooth as it could have been just because of the players and coaches.
In terms of terminology, I know terminology varies from one program to the next, did they make you learn all new terminology or was it close enough so that the transition wasn't that difficult?
No, I did the terminology; I learned it all. The reason is that it's a lot easier for one guy to learn it than the rest of an offense. I've been under a few different systems, so I've called it a bunch of different ways; it's all very similar. It's just a different language; it's like learning anything -- Spanish. You've got to study it every day. You've got to get comfortable with it so when you are calling it, it comes out of your mouth quickly. Again, it's early on, especially when you're not scripting practice and you're not calling it off a script, it gets harder. But, at the same time, you've got to work on it; you've got to practice and the longer you do it the easier it comes. I'm getting pretty comfortable with it.
Are you a ‘in the coaching box' kind of coach, or are you a sidelines kind of guy?
I'll be in the coaching box. I've always called it from the press box. I think there are pluses and minuses to both. But, I'm kind of an emotional coach so it kind of gets me away from the emotion side of it a little bit. I also think you get to see it a little bit better from the box.
In terms of the players you're working with on offense – I know the talent varies from program-to-program – how have you felt about the guys you're working with on offense and where are they at in terms of their skill level coming from Indiana to here?
We've got a lot of talent. I'm not going to sit here and compare Indiana to North Carolina; they're two separate, different programs. Both of them have great players. There are a lot of great, great players here, a lot of great skill. The offensive line is young, but Coach Kap does a great job with those guys. There is definitely some real solid guys up front. We've just got to continue to grow and keep working with each other every day. We've got to continually get better on a consistent basis, and that's what we're working for. It's never a finished project; it's not going to be a finished project until, hopefully, we get into the season. Then, once we get into the season, there's going to be plenty of stuff to keep improving and growing on. So, we've just got to continue to get better and keep pushing every day. That's the thing; I think they're out here and giving me what they have. We've had a lot of solid days, there haven't days where I say there's a step backward. Again, there are a lot of young guys we were installing as we go through spring. We keep on installing different things here and there. So, we've just got to keep growing; I'm excited about them.
It's not typical for the tight end coach to be the offensive coordinator. How does that change things in terms of how the team operates?
The team operates the same. One, you have to make sure you have a quarterback coach that you trust. Coach Heckendorf has been in the system. He's worked with these quarterbacks before; that's how I've always done it. It's very comfortable with me as long as you have a guy in that position that you can really trust and know that he's teaching those guys the right things. He does; he does an unbelievable job. The quarterbacks have been great and very attentive. It's the same to me. I've always done it this way and I feel more comfortable coordinating from the tight end position.
You mentioned the offensive line, and probably from most perspectives of people watching the team, that's probably the biggest question mark, particularly on offense. Do you feel like those guys are progressing as you would like for them to progress? I know you've got some guys that are out, but how's the progress going on the offensive line?
Good. Coach Kap does a great job with those guys. It's a different group; the offensive linemen are a different group; it's not like any other group on the team. That's a big group, a very tight-knit group. They work hard together; they're in it together. I can't say enough about the job that Coach Kap does with those guys. They're going to continue to grow and get better each and every day.
I've always thought the offensive linemen were the smartest guys on the team. Do you feel the same way?
Sometimes -- not always (laughing). But, they're a different group; it's not like any other group on the field – you've got that big O-line group. They're a little bit different but that's a good thing. They all have that chemistry, that camaraderie that you need. They've just got to continue to grow and get comfortable with each other.
A lot of people have said that your personality and the personality of Blake Anderson are a lot different. How has that transition been for the players to get used to you as the guy?
I don't know how Blake was. I've heard great things about him. I really don't know what his personality was and we don't really talk about my personality and his personality. But, any transition is going to take a little bit for guys to get comfortable with you and guys to trust you. That's a two-way street.
I think the longer you're with somebody, the more you're in the fire with them, they get to know you and get a feel of what I'm going to do and how I'm going to call it. It's a process. But, again, that's why we don't play until August-September.