Dyron Dye, newly appointed to the defensive line, was injured pretty severely running a non-contact drill. Coach Golden was reluctant to share details, but he did say that it was a "serious injury" and that the medical team will evaluate Dyron.
Allen Hurns laid down a crushing block on Deon Bush, knocking Deon's helmet off and back several yards. No injuries occurred, both said afterwards that it was nothing personal, just the heat of the moment, but it did set the tone for intensity during the practice, and shows what we have to look forward to from the senior captain of the receiving corps.
The coaches and players cannot stop raving about unheralded recruit Alex Figueroa, who just might turn out to be the steal of the draft class. Coach D'Onofrio had nothing but praise for the freshman: "He’s got a real maturity about him. He works hard and is very coachable. You can coach him and he’ll correct. He takes his mistakes personally and will want to correct. He’s fun to coach." D'Ono then shares this gem: "He’s a freshman in his 8th practice and is essentially running our whole defense".
The other coaches and even the players are just as enamored with Fig. Coach Golden, when asked for his take on the freshman: "Consistency. He’s motivated. He’s got a little bit of a chip on his shoulder. He’s got something to prove every day. He’s not just a kid that works hard. He’s a talented kid that works hard. And he performed and played very maturely in his first scrimmage. The defensive coaches always tell me, when they coach him, he fixes it."
D'Ono on the chances of Figueroa playing his freshman year: "Yeah, I think so. He’s got such a head start. The best chance for a success for a freshman is when it slows down for them. When they come in mid-year it really slows down for them".
Sophomore defensive leader Deon Bush also added "He’s [Figueroa] only been here 8 practices and he’s playing like he’s been here 3 years.", when asked about his thought on who is the biggest up-and-comer on the defensive side: "Fig, the newcomer, he came in with a bang, and everybody was surprised on how he’s catching up so fast and learning, he has a lot of heart right now. The corners, the safeties, Rayshawn [Jenkins], A.J. [Highsmith], the defensive line is playing tremendous. Everybody’s improving."
Sophomore Tyriq McCord has made the switch from defensive end to outside linebacker. This is more of a superficial change than anything, as his role will be very similar to last year. D'Ono on the change: "Just looking at our team and trying to get the best guys on the field, he’s got nice length for a sam linebacker, he was a little bit underweight last year, playing defensive end, so we’d thought based on our situation, the three guys who played sam linebacker are either injured or not with the team, so that was something that we had to address, with recruiting and position changes, and Tyriq was a guy we decided to look at, and it looks like it’ll be a good move."
Many were concerned about our kicking situation now that Jake Wieclaw has exited the building. Coach Golden is not as worried: "Jake [Wieclaw] has done such a good job for us the past two years that we kind of forgot about [Matt] Goudis. But he worked hard and hit a 49-yarder, which was a good start. But now we just need him to continue to grow and learn and we’ll go from there."
Coach Coley seems to have fit right in to the team, providing a boost in intensity, loudness, and swearing. Junior reciever Phillip Dorsett provided his view on Coley's offense: "It’s very complex. It’s almost the same as coach Fisch’s offense, little bit more plays. I like it a lot, we’re going to be able to distribute the ball between all the receivers and get a lot of runs between both running backs."
Speaking of running backs, it is an absolute certitude that sophomore sensation Duke Johnson will be the feature back. Behind him, however, has yet to be seen to. Coach Golden shares his insight on the running back situation: "What we’re doing with Randy is we’re teaching him how to carry the load, how to be a 20 carry guy. Which is hard, but we’re trying to do that while being careful with his reps. The guy that’s probably having the best spring right now is Dallas Crawford. Really excited about Dallas. We don’t have a final word yet on Eduardo [Clements], but certainly Dallas stepping up and Danny Dillard stepping up has really helped a lot, and then we have Gus coming in, so I think we’ll be okay. I think everybody knows we need to take 2 or 3 running backs in this class coming up, just because of how short we’re going to be."
Sophomore Malcom Lewis suffered a gruesome ankle dislocation last season against Georgia Tech, derailing an otherwise promising freshman year, and knocking him out for the season. Coach Golden thinks that Lewis will be fully ready come fall, and is astounded by his speedy recovery. With Lewis back, an already stacked reciever corps should become even more dangerous. On Lewis's reovery: "Amazing. He was out in pre-game at the scrimmage running routes. One, I didn't OK it, and two, I was as surprised as anybody to see it. I was shocked to turn around and see him coming out of a break. That’s amazing. That’s an amazing feat, really a medical miracle that he’s able to do that. We’ll continue to work on him and keep his weight down and condition him on the bike but we’re real excited for him to have a full recovery."
Canes fans have a very young (albeit not inexperienced) and very talented team to look forward to in the 2013-2014 season. The porous defense should be greatly improved by returning players, and the addition of "Fig the Kid", and the offense should prove explosive throughout, featuring super-talented receivers, and the human highlight reel that is Duke Johnson. I look forward to seeing how much more this team can improve throughout the rest of the spring practices and scrimmages.
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