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April 26, 2017

Steve Addazio

Greensboro, North Carolina

STEVE ADDAZIO: Excited with our spring practice. I thought we made a lot of improvements in a lot of areas. On the defensive side of the ball, I really liked the way our secondary started and finished spring ball. Very athletic in the back end. Our linebackers can run. I think we have three pretty dominant pass-rushers up front with Harold Landry, Zach Allen and Ray Smith in the middle. And I'm excited about all of that.

On offense we had a great spring. I think our quarterbacks played extremely well. I think we're faster than we've ever been at the skill positions. Jon Hilliman had his best spring that he's ever had here. Our offensive line made steady improvement and really developing into a good unit.

I think we have a tremendous group of working tight ends, and our receivers are pretty darn athletic. I thought we threw the ball well, we ran the ball well.

So I'm excited about what we got done fundamentally, schematically, and the continuing development of the gel of our football team. So looking forward to a great summer, and the start of the season.

So with that, any questions?

Q. To follow up on that with the quarterbacks, what did you learn about them during the spring that maybe you were wanting to find out about before the spring and football began?
STEVE ADDAZIO: Well, the quarterback play is so critically important. Both of these guys, Anthony Brown and Darius Wade, did some great things throughout the spring. Throwing the ball, command of the offense, putting us in and out of good plays, leading the team.

We saw some really good quarterback play. And I think that we've got depth, we've depth at that position now, and that's the first time we have had that kind of depth and that level of play. So that will help our offense incredibly.

Q. To kind of go off of that, obviously the last couple seasons you've dealt with a lot of injuries to the quarterback position. Just what you can say about creating that depth and how you feel about going into the 2017 season with the talent and with guys that maybe had to go through some adversity but are here now and healthy now?
STEVE ADDAZIO: Yeah, listen, we came off a seventh win, a bowl victory in the closing of a season that built confidence and the ability to learn how to play together. We parlayed that into the winter and spring football.

We've been steadily recruiting the athleticism and talent of our football team. We have quarterbacks on our roster now that we feel can compete at a high level in the ACC. We have to continue to develop and let them mature and saturate. We've upgraded our team all over the place.

So I think what that means is as we continue to develop and grow this football program, so will we continue to excel on the field. That's the goal. You're going to grow and you're going to develop. Obviously guys that you've had injured in the past, as they come back and as they mature, and as your roster gets more whole, the competitiveness of your program continues to rise. And with better depth creates more competition, and competition within your own roster helps you grow.

So these are all things that we had the one season, and that was a season we didn't have very much depth and had too many injuries and couldn't have enough competition. That delivers what it delivers.

But beyond that, we've been able to stimulate that here in the three out of four years that we've been bowl eligible here. So I'm looking for a really good year this year. I see the makings of that with this football team right now, and we're all excited about that.

Q. And to speak deeper on Darius Wade, his timeline since he got recruited by you, he's come in, gone through injury. Been a starter, not been a starter. What can you say about how he's handled everything and his leadership coming out of the spring?
STEVE ADDAZIO: I thought Darius had an exceptional spring, and he capped it off with an exceptional spring game. He's really learning how to lead that football team. He's always had a good skill level.

I think part of what makes you gain experiences are the adversities that you go through. Darius has handled all of that, and I would say has had his biggest growth and development this off-season.

That's always a great thing, to watch a young man do that. So I'm really excited about Darius and happy for his spring. Want to see him continue to grow at the same rate that he did this off-season.

Q. Obviously Harold Landry led the nation in sacks last year. Can you talk about his returning play and what you saw in the spring? Can he take it even a step further? He doesn't have to take it very much further to be very good, but just what you see from him going forward?
STEVE ADDAZIO: Here's a guy that's laser focused. Came in here, made a decision, a great decision, number one, to get his degree. Harold never red shirted here. So this is his fourth year. He wanted to get his degree and continue to grow physically in terms of power, strength and speed. He wanted to be part of building something special with his teammates.

So Harold, for all the right reasons, has decided to come back here. When guys do that, they're usually laser focused on their goals, both personally and team.

He had an outstanding spring. He didn't back off anything. He's increased his level of play, which is what he should do for a guy that never red shirted, I think putting himself in a position to be one of the most elite dominant players in college football off the edge. And we're excited about that. He's going to continue to have a great off-season and look to have a marquee year.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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