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Opening remarks -
Obviously, we were very pleased. I think all our coaches felt like the eight weeks we had with the players prior to the start of the spring break – we covered a lot of ground. Players did a great job learning and listening. We think they made a lot of strides from a conditioning standpoint. We also made strides in trying to learn some of the basic elements of the offense, defense and special teams. From that standpoint, for a very first practice with a brand new team, it was about as efficient as it could have been. We had a two-hour and 15-minute practice scheduled, but we completed it in an hour and 58 minutes. So that speaks to the efficiency of it and the tempo. We talked to the players before we started practice about the three things we wanted to accomplish. We wanted to give great effort. We want to fly around. We want to play it fast, have fun and have enthusiasm. And we wanted to pay attention to details. The details – the little things – are the differences between champions and the people that aren’t champions. We’ve got to make a lot of strides and improvement. There were some penalties today and I knew there were going to be.
We ran the ball better than we threw the ball today, and I think that’s a by-product of the off-season. Today is the very first day that the quarterbacks and receivers had a chance to actually have a ball in their hands – and it looked like it. But I have full confidence that we’ll make some strides.
You know we’re making some position changes. The goals and objectives of this spring to for the first four or five days, we really want to find out the best place to put everybody. On paper it sounds interesting to put them in certain places, but until you actually get out there on the practice field, then you find out who really on the offensive line plays better on the right side than the left side – who’s a better left tackle or a right tackle?
Like I said we made some position changes. Probably the most notable is moving Joe Dailey from quarterback to wide receiver. That’s been very positive. He looks explosive. He looks fast. He’s an experienced player. That part of it I think has been very good. Anthony Parker-Boyd is moving to running back.We’re searching with all of these guys, because there is no position on the football team where you can say, ‘I’ve got it locked up.’ So for the first four or five days, we’ll move guys around; we’ll try to find out. Then when we move into practices five through 15, then we’ll be about really trying to perfect their technique and expand their knowledge of what we’re really trying to do. Then, we’ll start getting into more physical contact. And then, we’ll start seeing guys really start to separate themselves. Our long term goals and objectives…when spring is over at the end of 15 days…you want a football team that is close to ready to begin fall training camp, that we’ve made huge strides and guys all in the right places. It’s so important right now to find out who can be playmakers for this football team in all phases.
On moving Joe Dailey to wide receiver -
Joe and I talked back in December. Joe had come in and sat down and said, ‘I can graduate.’ He’s an awesome kid. He’s a great young man and a good athlete. I said, ‘Look, I’ve got an idea, and I want you to take the Christmas holidays and think about it.’ I said, ‘When you come back after the Christmas, you can come out here and you can attempt this. And if you think it’s something that you would like to do….’ And he said, ‘Coach, look. This is what I really want to do. I want to help North Carolina win football games.’ He said, ‘If you think it’s a role that will help…’ I said, ‘The NFL is full of Joe Daileys. Drew Pearson, who played for the Dallas Cowboys was one; but, obviously, most notably – Antwan Randle-El; Hines Ward. There are a litany former high school and college quarterbacks that are having spectacular professional careers. He’s too good of an offensive weapon to find and include a role for him.
Any other notable position switches?
Not many so much that you would notice. Nick Starcevic and Joey Bozich have moved to linebacker. But other than that, those are the three or four most notable of any kind of switches for the time being. We kind of wanted to see guys practice for three or four days before we juggle the depth a little bit.
Are Logan Buchanan and Kenny Price medical redshirts?
Yes they are. Unfortunately both of those guys have reached the point with their career where athletically and physically there this too much torture and too much pain. They’re going to both remain on athletic scholarship. I know it’s important to them to get their degree and to graduate.
Is there any chance that Barrington Edwards will be back for the fall?
As the statement said, right now he is suspended indefinitely from the football team. It’s a by-product of issues based in the football team and the university. That’s kind of the way it stands right now.
Is there anything in Dailey’s skill set that made you say he should move to wide receiver?
Speed. Speed. He can run. And he’s smart. As a quarterback, he already understands coverages. He understands where holes are, because he’s had to throw the ball into them. You just want to give a guy like that an opportunity if he could have a 50- to 60-type catch year, and score 12 touchdowns for us, that would be a big help.
What do you like about your running backs?
Well, they’re young and inexperienced right now. We’re going to get them out of diapers hopefully in the next couple of weeks. The one thing it looks like that they do have is some speed and some quickness. Johnny White flashed some things today…Anthony Parker-Boyd, like I said… They look like they’ve got some speed. But they are all so very young and very green. Collectively on this football team, there is like 91 carries coming back, and that’s not very many. So that will be a big crusade, not only currently this spring, but certainly throughout training camp for us to try and find a good hand and a few guys that can come in and play.