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How difficult has this summer been?
"It's difficult on them, it's difficult on the parents, you know? I suffered last year when we lost a grandson; they're suffering now with their son. And as far as the difficult, it's no worse than its ever been. People ask me about how awful this summer has been, is there a difference between how it's always been? It seems like we've always had somebody in trouble, we've always lost somebody with grades and we've always had somebody sick. I just don't remember that much difference. It's the first time we've had something like a disease, but that's life. It could be that we're just like everybody else. Everybody's got the same problems. I keep reading about these other schools, and it doesn't bother me, that's just the way it is folks."
On suspending players:
"There's more ways to discipline than a dadgum suspension. Y'all have heard of physical pain, hadn't you? That's our method. We physically are going to get them if they break our rules. Now to say we don't discipline just because I don't suspend them so I can be like everyone else, I'm not interested in being like everybody else. I'm going to handle our problems. I've got kids that need discipline, but there's more than one way to skin a cat."
You were voted second; where would you have voted your team?
"Oh, I would have voted us down at the bottom. I think we're the ‘school de jour' because we're the new school coming in. But the situation is that if we came in last year with Virginia Tech and Miami, we would have been voted near the bottom. So maybe there's some carry over from the bowl game. But you have to look back…the last place team in the conference, Wake Forest, we've lost to twice. So I don't know why we're above them."
What's the most important thing that has to happen for your team to be successful?
"If we can play defense, even 80% as good as we did a year ago, and win the turnover margin, nothing else can matter."
With Mario Williams, are you dealing with a guy that you may not have [in 2006]?
"They said that about Philip [Rivers]... they said that about Torry [Holt]. Those two guys have their numbers on the stadium, and they stayed for four years. It helped both of them. He started to come into his own towards the end of last year. He's still learning how to play the game, and I don't mean that as a slight. That's a positive."
What do you think about expansion now that the team is up to 12 teams?
"Look here, it's the largest media number ever and a lot of them from all over the country. It shows that people are taking notice of Atlantic Coast Conference football... not that they shouldn't have before. It has done what we've wanted to accomplish, and now there are three leagues that have a championship game."
On this year's outlook:
"We have to do the little things for the big things to happen. When I look at this team – I'm excited about it. My only apprehensions with this team is that they're very, very young. If we can continue to keep the same attitude and the same motivation and drive, then we'll be successful and we'll be a good team. They've just got to learn from their mistakes, and I know how that is. I think we have some talent on this football team."
On two freshmen impressive freshman wide receivers Rendrick Taylor and Tyler Grisham:
"That's really good you're talking about them. Usually you wouldn't really know enough to evaluate a guy. But I've heard a couple of people talk about them. Rendrick is 6' 2 ½," 215 pounds and a 400-pound bencher. He looks like a linebacker. Tyler Grisham is a tough little old nut. He's got good hands. That's a position we could use some help. They're the only two (WRs) coming in. I could see about five or six (freshmen) helping us out early – a back, a receiver, a defensive back, a linebacker, a defensive end and an offensive lineman."
How many do you think you'll redshirt?
"I hope I can do them all. But if we bring in 21, I hope do 15, 16, or 17."
On claims that Wake Forest uses "chop blocks" on offense:
"Well it's really interesting since we were sorry on offense last year you don't hear anybody talk about that stuff. If we can go back to leading the league in total offense they'll start talking that crap again. You know, we're going to continue to always block with good fundamentals with the low pad level and flat backs coming off the football. We're not ever going to change that. We haven't taught a chop block since I've been in football, but we're going to block low."
On running back Chris Barclay:
"Really special kid, not a big guy, I think he weighed 160 lbs. in the spring. I'm hoping our offensive line will play better this year, about half of Chris' yards last year were gained after getting first contact at the line of scrimmage. That's not good for a small running back to have make those kinds of yards. A bunch of his runs we could have been out there with cones instead of an offensive line. You know, just hand him the ball and see who you can beat one on one. But I think our line will be better this year, we were really beat up last year, and kind of a hodge-podge last year. So if we get back to blocking better Barclay's going to be special, he can really play, and we block for him, he'll play better."