Football Practice: Chase Page Q&A

CHAPEL HILL, NC -- Senior defensive tackle Chase Page, sporting a new bleached-blond mohawk, had nothing to say about his new hair style but shared some thoughts on the opening day of practice.

Tell us the story on the haircut.

I can't talk about it--no comments about the hair. I'm dead serious, sorry.

Who said you can't talk about it?

The powers that be. I don't want to get in trouble.

Did you lose a bet?

No. (Pause) I love you guys, you know that

You are being called one of the leaders on this team. What is your mind-set right now?

We want to win. We want to win so bad. I can't wait until the William and Mary game. It's going to be great. Everyone is excited. We've been working really hard.

How tough was it to go through a season like last year?

It's really tough, but you learn mental toughness. We were really close in a lot of games. We competed. The season could have turned out a lot differently if a few balls had bounced our way

But we are not looking at the past. We are looking at next year. It's going to be exciting. We know our fans are going to come out for the first game and everyone is excited.

With the new teams in the ACC this year, has your mind-set changed at all?

Not really. Miami plays Florida State every year, and they are both good teams. We play Florida State every year. I'm excited because it's better competition for us, but I'm not changing my mind-set. I'm preparing the same way and I'm trying to do well against those guys. It's more exciting than anything, playing against those guys. It makes our conference better.

What kind of message are you sending to the younger guys?

Just to finish every play and practice hard on every drill. Like today, some of the younger guys don't really know. When you do hit your last bag, you have to sprint through the line. Just finish because it's all about finishing. If we had finished a little more [last season] we would have been a little more successful. On the defensive line we are trying to finish.

Have any of the freshmen impressed you, maybe a little ahead of the game?

Yes, Kenny Price and Kentwan Balmer--they both can actually get down into a stance, which is good. That's a good sign for the first day. They have good natural stances and they are athletic. They are a little rough--everybody is.

Will Chapman's little brother is on the team now at defensive end, so it's a trip having him here because I played with [Will]. I'm kind of tutoring him. I had all of them up there hitting the bag with them a little bit extra. It's fun.

How would you compare today to first days in the past?

It was like the spring. We were flying around. I thought the defense looked pretty fast. We're not hitting, but you can still do some things with just helmets. There was a good excitement level and enthusiasm. It was a good start to our camp.

What is the best things about playing UNC football?

Chapel Hill, all the people, this place. We have the most beautiful stadium in the country, I think. I don't care about size, it's the greatest. Our fans, win lose, or draw, always come out. It's always crowded and they are devoted. I love that about them. We are going to really try to be a winner for them and go back to a bowl game.

What are you trying to work on before the first game?

I worked on losing body fat and getting faster. I am working on pass rush and being a quicker player. I was maybe a step slow last year, so I'm trying to be faster.

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