"I think we had a pretty productive spring. We finished up on Apr. 12. Since that time we've been doing exit interviews with all of our players. They've been finishing up their classes; I think they're in the last week of classes. They're getting ready for exams and preparing for a great summer and great fall camp that will lead us into next year."
Now that you've had some time since the end of spring practice, how would you evaluate the quarterback competition between Marquise Williams and Mitch Trubisky and ideally in the preseason when do you anticipate making that call?
"Well, I think both guys have competed really well and that has brought out the best in both of them. And I think they will continue to do that through the summer and through fall camp, I think, I wish we could have that type of competition at each and every position on our team, and when we do have that, then we're going to be a really good football team.
"I'm pleased with where both guys are. I'm pleased with the way they've handled the situation. I don't have a given date, you know, that I'll make a decision and I think that way that gives everybody something to talk about all year."
Did anybody separate themselves in the spring? Is one guy ahead of the other at this point, or how would you just describe where they stand?
"I think there were certain days where one does better than the other, and then the next the day the other would compete. That's the great thing about the competition that's going on right now. I can tell you this - at this point, I do feel comfortable that we have two guys that we can win with. And that is a great thing, and so as far as when it will be determined, I don't know, we'll see how it works out."
I know you said this spring that the defense was ahead of the offense. Why do you think the defense is ahead of the offense?
"I just think, first of all, our defense is a probably a little bit more experienced. But our offense right now, when you talk about on the field, playing time and all of those things, we have some seniors on the defense that we don't have [on offense]. We have one scholarship senior on the offense, and we've got, I think, seven on the defense. So we're still a really young football team, but any of our age is on the defense, and so I just think our guys developed a little bit quicker. We've got guys that have been playing in the system now for three years on that side of the ball and they totally understand what we're trying to do."
I've asked this question to a couple of coaches already and I'd be interested in your take on the possible unionization of collegiate athletes that has been talked about a lot at Northwestern this spring. Do you have any thoughts on that? Have any of your players been talking about it at all?
"I don't think, I mean, if any of our players have been talking about it, I haven't been aware of it. I think in the state of North Carolina, with a state school, it can't happen, so that's not been an issue. I'm not fully aware of all of the details on it, on the Northwestern case. All I hope is that their players are very well informed on the pros and the cons, and that they've thought about all the ripple affects that will happen one way or the other with what they accomplish. I look forward to seeing what's going to happen."
What did you think was the biggest development for your team this spring?
"I would say, I would really have to say, defensively, I thought our guys have a good understanding of what we're trying to do on defense. And I thought because of that, they made the most progress this spring. And I couldn't pick out a position or one player. I just say as a whole, defensively, we had a pretty good spring."
To train your guys when you got here, to play the kind of pace that you wanted them too…What was that like, it started last spring, but as it continued into the fall, how much has it, just doing it in practice, getting ready in the summer to being conditioned?
"I've been a no huddle football team since 1999, so basically I don't know any difference. We've been up-tempo, we've been multi tempo, we've done it a lot of different ways, but since 1999, we've evolved with the way we practice. One thing I can tell you is that we practice the way were going to play. Everything we do within our practice plan is an up-tempo type plan, so our guys understand that's the way we practice because that's the way we play. That carries over to what we do in the weight room, the way we condition in the summer, and everything that we do is oriented that way."
What is your feeling about the NCAA, the expanded meal allowance legislation? How does your own personal emphasis and focus on nutrition and feeding players has changed over the years, if it has changed at all?
"It has definitely changed over the years. We have two full time nutritionists here. One that works with entirely with out football team, so I think it is one of the last frontiers that hasn't been fully tapped yet and when you're talking about the development of your players.
"It is interesting, James Hurst whose one of our seniors that is getting ready for the draft, comes back from training and talked about how his body weight went down, his body fat went down, his muscle mass went up. We started talking about say, James what'd you do? And he said, well, I did what you guys have been telling us to do for the last you know, two years that you've been there, and I really bought into it, and it's amazing the results. And so, if these kids can start buying into this, what we're doing nutrition wise, I think they're going to see great results for them athletically and the way they perform on Saturdays.
"I do think that the reforms that the NCAA are proposing I think they are good, I think don't know if it's completely thought out, or how it's going to implemented, or the cost involved and how it is all going to take place, but I do definitely think it's a good thing."
Is that the only drawback, the cost, the potential cost on athletic departments do you think?
"You know, in the little bit that I've put, what I've read and I would say that's it right now is just the cost. I mean I don't think there is any way you can say that feeding your players more and providing more for them so that they can perform better can be a negative thing. I don't see it in that way."