What was the process for the breaking down the roster for the Spring Game on Saturday?
“Well, the main thing is we’re trying to get some continuity within the units so that we have some guys that are going to try to work together. For me, instead of just splitting everything up where guys have no continuity not knowing the guy they’ve been working next to. So we’re trying to create a little continuity here in the spring game.”
What’s the main goal for Saturday?
“I want these guys to have a good time. I mean they’ve worked hard for thirteen practices now and I think they need to go out there and play hard and fly around and just have fun. That’s the main thing. I’d like to see them just turn it loose and play.”
After looking at the film from the previous scrimmages, what was the biggest difference in Charlotte and Chapel Hill in terms of the defense?
“By far it was energy. They just played with so much more energy level this last Friday. The guys on defense Tim Jackson, Kareem Martin and Travis Hughes I mean they were leading out there on the field and they were talking and they were communicating and they were playing hard.”
On the running back position:
“I’d say really No. 15 (A.J. Blue) and No. 21 (Romar Morris) are better than they were at the end of the season. I think No. 1 (Khris Francis) has really surprised me with what he’s been able to do basically as a high school senior. You know he’s really done some nice things. His eyes are real big but come fall camp it’ll be much easier for him.”
On the offensive line:
“We’ve still got a long way to go with those guys. Getting James (Hurst) who’s been out for the spring will help start getting some continuity in that group. But we’ve still go a long way to go with that group.”
Have some leaders emerged on the defensive side of the ball?
“I would say the guys I see would be Tim Jackson and Kareem (Martin) who have had some reps up there up front. I’d say Travis Hughes has been the guy with the linebackers. And Jabari (Price) is usually a guy who talks quite a bit but he hasn’t really been going through the spring so you lose that in the secondary.”
Are there any guys working to fill the unique positions of the Bandit and the Ram?
“I’d say at the Bandit position we’ve got Shak (Shakeel Rashad) who’s gotten some reps there and (Norkeithus) Otis who has had a really good spring. I would say overall just watching him throughout the spring he’s probable been the most productive guy defensively.”
Are there any improvements you’ve seen with the secondary during the spring?
“Yeah, I’ve seen some improvement. We’ve still got a long way to go. And a lot of times people blame the secondary but if there’s not pressure on the quarterback you’re not going to cover them all day. They both work hand in hand. You’ve got to have pressure to be a good secondary. I don’t care how talented you are if you don’t have pressure then you’re going to have a hard time with today’s receivers.”
Which younger players have stood out during the spring?
“You know I’d say (Caleb) Peterson that’s going at left guard. I think he’s been impressive. (Jordan) Fieulleteau he’s really been impressive. Again, (Mitch) Trubisky and (Khris) Francis have stepped up. I tell you guys Dalton Stogner is a guy who has made a lot of plays and had a lot of opportunities this spring. He’s earned a lot of respect with a lot of his teammates just through this spring. On defense I would say you know it would be Shak. We’ve seen him do some really good things. No. 33 (Nathan Staub) another young guy who has done some really good things. Jessie Rogers who had reps in the fall. There’s probably a few more I’m forgetting but you know that’s a long question.”
On the “Unveil” of the new UNC uniforms:
“It’s fun really. It’s really fun. I enjoy it. I got a chance to work with Nike’s design team for a matter of months going back and forth with some things we wanted. They came out and spent some time with us walking around campus and spending time on campus just to see what it is all about. So I think they did a really nice job. Our players haven’t seen it. They’ll get the chance to see it on Saturday so I think they’ll be really excited about it.”
Will the release of a new jersey happen yearly?
“Probably at least an alternative. This will be probably a standard one for a couple of years but we’ll have some alternatives that we mix in with it.”
Have you decided how often you’ll wear the new uniforms?
“I haven’t yet. No. I haven’t gotten that far into it. I won’t do that until I start really breaking down the season and how we’re going to practice for each game throughout the entire season because we’ve got some unique things next year. Two open weeks, two Thursday night games so I have to put a lot of thought into how I want to structure practices throughout the entire season with those because it’s kind of abnormal because they aren’t all Saturday games.”
Are the players beginning to thrive and understand the entirety of the system?
“No doubt about it. First of all we’re getting more reps this year in spring than we did last year. Quite a bit more. So that’s helped us because you get more plays. Also coaching wise you’re able to become more detailed and work on the little things with guys because they aren’t all just sucking air bent over. They know what to expect and so they’re able to absorb more.”