“Alright, we’ve had a very productive fall camp. I think we’ve got something like either 23 or 24 practices under our belt right now. We are were we are. We’re excited to get ready for this first one. We’re less than a week away. Our guys are typically at the end of camp are tired of hitting each other. They’re ready to hit somebody else and really find out who the 2013 Tar Heels are.”
Can you compare where Bryn Renner is at this point compared to where he was during last season?
“Well it’s not even close to end of camp last year. There’s quite a big difference. His decision-making process… the leadership he’s providing… the knowledge of the offense… the ability to understand when he has to make the throws and when he doesn’t. When it’s okay to punt. How you have to try to move the chains. All the different things and just managing a football game. Big difference between now and last year at this time.”
On the released depth chart and the amount of possible positions still up for grabs:
“I think we’ve narrowed at least one of those down at this point. We’re ready to make a call there but I’ll wait till you guys ask me about it before I tell you it.”
On Nathan Staub being listed as a starter at middle linebacker:
“It really could be him or (Jeff) Schoettmer. Probably if we went today, I would say Schoettmer would probably be the guy that would go today.”
What have you seen this past month in regards to the improvement of the defense?
“There’s a lot less mental mistakes. A lot fewer missed assignments. Our guys really have a much better feel for what they’re doing and I think because of that you see they’re running to the ball and you just see their aggressiveness a whole lot more of it now. They’re just not thinking as much. Yes, I have seen improvement and we have worked extensively on tackling in the open field. The way the game is now with offenses are spread out and they get you in one-on-one situations out in the open field if you don’t make that tackle it becomes a big play.”
How much does conference pride play in a game like the South Carolina game?
“It does for our conference. It does for our fans. But we don’t talk about or really get into conference games. We talk about the next opponent. That’s really all we focus on. It doesn’t matter because these players have no control where the other team comes from or what conference they’re in. That’s not something we really talk about. It’s more about this is the opponent. We’re not going to play the entire conference. We’re going to play that one team and so we really haven’t talked much about that at all.”
On rekindling the rivalry with South Carolina:
“ I think we’re already starting that process by playing them in 2015 in Charlotte so I don’t see why we wouldn’t. I think it’s a natural thing. I think it could eventually become a regional type of rivalry, a border war type of thing, so I think it’s a good thing.”
What do you think about the new contact rules in college football and how that will affect the play on the field?
“I’m all for doing anything that’s going to enhance player safety. I think we all are. I think every coach out there is. How do I feel about it? I’m worried about it. I worried that we’re putting a lot on the officials in a very bang-bang type moment. When in doubt they’re supposed to throw the flag. Yeah, I’m concerned. I think probably every coach in the country is concerned. If they’re not, they will be when they get a guy ejected.
"I heard about a play in the NFL the other day about a player going in and hitting a guy low and the guy is out for the season now because of a knee injury. I think from a defensive standpoint you’re talking about lowering your target area. You don’t want guys taking a chance. You don’t want them hitting in the chest with the possibility of going up so they’re lowering their target range. When you do that you’re going to have more injuries below the waist. Those injuries are devastating injuries. Those are career injuries so I hope that’s not the case. I really do.
"Think about this, you’ve got big fast strong guys running into each other full speed. I mean things are going to happen. I don’t think you can totally take all the injuries out of the game. I just don’t think you can do it. I am for preventing concussions and everything we possibly can to keep these players safe. I just don’t know how this is going to work out because I know this is going to be a big judgment call by the officials.”
On Eric Ebron handling high expectations:
“He handled it fine. I’ve been putting a lot of pressure on him since the day I got here. The expectation level from my part have always been high for him and they’re going to continue to be. I’m going to continue to put as much pressure on his as possible because I think he responds better that way.”
On Kendrick Singleton’s standout training camp:
“He’s probably the leader in that room first of all. He is an extremely hardworking guy. He’s the only guy on the football team starting on all four special teams. He gives you tremendous effort all the time. He’s what you look for in a player. He’s dependable in everything that we do. Whether you’re asking him to block. Whether you’re asking him to run a route at a certain depth. Whether you’re asking him to make a play. Whatever it is you know you can count on him. Dependability is the most important ability these guys have.”
On the decision at right tackle:
“Yes. Thanks for asking. Jon Heck is going to start the game. Jon Heck is going to start the game and we’ll take it from there. Anytime you have youth you put them in as many situations as you can in practice so it’s game like and then you hope that carries over into the game so we’ll see. Jon’s kind of distanced himself in the last few days and I think Kap’s (Chris Kapilovic) ready to make a call there.”