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Post-Practice Notes 9/29: Focusing on Stopping the UNC Offense

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Today we have some tidbits from Coach Johnson, Coach Roof, KeShun Freeman and AJ Gray

Mark Dolejs-USA TODAY Sports

Coach Johnson

  • Johnson felt that the team was able to do a lot of work today towards fixing the issues on offense.
  • Taquon Marshall was able to practice today, a good sign for his availability Saturday
  • Trey Braun will also be good to go Saturday
  • Marcus Allen has not missed any practice with his injury and will be good to go
  • We will know whether or not Pat Gamble plays on Thursday
  • Johnson felt that Patrick Skov got better in the last game, and felt that Marcus Allen did well before leaving the game with an injury
  • As for backup OL playing, Coach Johnson said that it will depend on how they practice
  • Johnson said that the 3rd receiver for the coming week will be decided between Antonio Messick, Harland Howell, Brandon Oliver, and Christian Philpott.  (Note: Johnson lamented the fact that Philopott missed camp with injury during a previous interview, saying he could have helped this year. I don't think that means that he will play this year, but it is something to keep an eye on.)

DE KeShun Freeman

  • I asked about the improved pass rush, and asked if it's frustrating that the improvements aren't showing up in the form of more sacks. Freeman said that it hasn't bothered him since the team is still forcing the QB to throw early. He said that it would be frustrating, however, if the team were missing sacks they should easily get.
  • Freeman said that they are aren't focusing on the increased pressure to make more stops now that the offense isn't scoring as many points. He added that the team can't make it about one half of the team. Both need to perform.
  • Freeman said he remembered playing Marquise Williams last year and said that everyone will need to be focused on doing their job in order to keep him from putting up the same kinds of numbers this year. He added that both teams have talent, and you can't obsess over one guy.
  • Freeman said the defense is excited about this game saying that they didn't "leave it on the field" last year. He said they are looking to improve on last year's performance against the Tar Heels

S AJ Gray

  • On the interception against Duke, Gray said that Coach Roof had stressed keeping his eyes on his man all week, and that was what he did. I asked if there was anything he saw, but he just said that he was in the right spot due to keeping with his man.
  • Gray said that the biggest adjustment from High School to this level has been the size and speed of athletes.
  • Gray credited the senior leadership with helping him come up to speed so quickly. He said that the leaders are very proactive about making sure that Gray is following all his assignments correctly

DC Ted Roof

  • Roof is looking for a faster start this week, saying that they didn't do well in the 1st quarter after the fumble on the 1st series.
  • Roof said that losing is never acceptable, but feels like the Defense's mistakes are correctable, and that the unit can improve over the course of the season. Said that the team needs to be able to play at a high level for 60 minutes, not just a portion of the game.
  • Roof felt that Kallon was able to do some good things while replacing Pat Gamble, and felt that Antonio Simmons played better against Duke than he did against Notre Dame.
  • Roof said that AJ Gray has "it" when it comes to finding the football. He credited his instincts and football IQ. Roof cited Gray's interception and his 3rd down stop of Thomas Sirk as big plays that stood out to him.
  • Roof said that last year's tape will be good to show the guys "what not to do" when facing UNC.
  • Roof praised both UNC QBs
  • Roof said that some keys to defending a mobile QB like Williams will be DEs setting the edge, LBs filling gaps, and guys refusing to be blocked.
  • Roof praised Brant Mitchell's nose for the ball, saying he has a bright future. He said, however, that Mitchell needs to get more reps so that he can improve.