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April 23, 2014

Steve Addazio

STEVE ADDAZIO:  Good to be back.  Obviously we finished spring ball a couple weeks ago, felt that we had a productive spring.  Several new faces, a little bit of lack of depth, as many people are experiencing, but had a productive spring, got a lot accomplished.  We feel like we're building a chemistry on a team for next season and establishing a good foundation.  Felt strong about what we got done.
Certainly open to any questions.

Q.  You talked about the lack of depth, but what's the biggest thing you were able to take away from spring ball so far that you're going to be taking with you into the fall that you really felt is progress for the team, so to speak?
STEVE ADDAZIO:  Well, there's several things.  I think, first off, second year in the program, continuity with just knowing the calls and the system was a big advantage.  But I thought we reestablished our offensive line.  I feel like we have an opportunity to have a great front again, which I think was really important to us.  The physicality, the toughness was still established in the spring.  I thought on defense we were able to be so much more multiple this spring and really pick up where we left off and even take more steps as opposed to a year ago when we were just really kind of basic vanilla because we had just gotten in here.
I'd say we're further ahead schematically, we're further ahead in terms of how practice should go and the toughness and the tempo and the way we want things handled, and then we watched some really good young players really evolved.  We watched our line gel together.  We watched our linebackers really taking a look at some guys that had some really great springs and pass rushers, outstanding spring and utilized Josh Bordner in a position switch, and some of the young receivers started to materialize, so there's a lot of things that happened positively.

Q.  What's your assessment of your quarterback and running back positions coming out of spring ball?
STEVE ADDAZIO:  Well, I mean, I think Tyler Murphy, James Walsh and Darius Wade were here for the spring.  I think Tyler established himself as the starter.  He's a veteran guy.  He's a guy that has been in the heat of the battle.  He's got a lot of experience.  It showed.  He has tremendous pocket presence, throws the ball really well, and is obviously very dynamic with his feet, so we felt great about his spring, and James Walsh continued to develop and grow as a red shirt sophomore, and Darius Wade is a really talented young player who came mid‑semester.  We just think his future here is outstanding.  I mean, he'll be a guy that will be able to contribute this year for us.  He's got a great future.  He's a heck of a player.
We felt really good at the quarterback position.  The two tailbacks, Tyler Rouse and Myles Willis had an outstanding spring.  Those are two guys that love ball, they love to compete.  They are all about excellence in every piece of their life, and they were very, very productive this spring.

Q.  What is one thing you guys have to work on this year coming into the 2014 season that you guys didn't work on that much in 2013?
STEVE ADDAZIO:  I'm probably going to have the ability to be a little bit more diversified on offense.  We were pretty two‑back, come downhill at you, which we will never lose that identity, but I think we'll have some ability to have more option and more shotgun in our game.  And then I think areas that we felt like we really needed to improve upon in the receiver group, we needed to have the ability to make more plays, and in the secondary, challenge more balls and do a better job getting off the field on 3rd down.
So I think these are all things that we worked on and felt like we improved in.

Q.  What about the recruiting around the Baltimore, Washington area, even in Delaware, the players you got to come up on the roster this year?
STEVE ADDAZIO:  Yeah, I thought we had a good year down there.  Obviously we have a large footprint in recruiting and certainly value that part of the country with great football, great high school coaches, great programs, and traditionally we've had a lot of success recruiting in these areas.  We'll continue to do so, so it's a very valued area for us.

Q.  You talked a little bit about the experience that Tyler brings to your quarterback position.  How important is that, obviously having a lot of time last year playing quarterback with Florida and moving into your system?  How important has that been and how will that help you?
DABO SWINNEY:  Well, you're talking about a guy that's been in the heat of the battle.  He's a veteran, experienced guy, been a starter in the SEC.  Obviously my familiarity with him, I recruited him, I coached him, I knew him well, and kind of‑‑ he's pretty comfortable in terms of our program in our weight room, the way we practice, our terminology.  It's not a foreign animal to him.
You know, he had a great spring.  I mean, he came up from Florida, as did Ian Silberman.  Ian just had a tremendous spring and solidified our right tackle spot.  Those are two guys with a lot of experience that I've known very, very well, and it's been a great transition, and they're both really going to help our program.

Q.  You have to replace two pretty accomplished linebackers, and I'm just wondering if you can talk about that position and who's stepping up there.
STEVE ADDAZIO:  Yeah, I think Mike Strizak, Sean Duggan, Josh Keyes have all stepped in there, Matt Milano is a kid from Florida that came up that we started as a safety that we've kind of knocked down into that nickel Sam, Sam linebacker kind of guy, and we feel great about these guys.  They're all different positions.  I just rattled off a Will, a Mike, a Sam, and those are all positions in a‑‑ Steven Daniels was a starter for us and he's coming back but he was out due to injury this spring, but we feel like we really had a great spring developing the depth there and working on the replacements of KPL and Steele Divitto.  I thought it was quite productive, and I thought the guys did a great job.

Q.  Is it a concern you lost five out of the seven of your starting front seven?
STEVE ADDAZIO:  Yeah, yeah, oh, yeah.  That's always a concern.  You just rattled that off there.  I had to count them up in my head.  We feel very good about‑‑ we've got a lot of returning guys.  We played everybody last year.  It wasn't like‑‑ the guys that are coming back, Brian Mihalik and Kevin Kavalec and Gutapfel and Malachi Moore is now back in the spring, he was out last season, and then of course Mehdi Abdesmad, who got hurt against Florida State, was arguably our best defensive lineman last year.  He got hurt against Florida State and missed the entire rest of the season.  He didn't practice in the spring, but he'll be back for the fall.
So we feel like we have a bunch of really good players up front there.  Now, we lost Steele at the Mike and we lost Kevin at the Sam, but we feel like the guys that we have rotating in there right now have done an outstanding job.
We feel good about where we're headed to tell you the truth.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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