From the interview session with linebacker Quayshawn Nealy at the ACC media days event in Greensboro, N.C.:
1. The three-year starter was effusive in his praise for the team’s work in summer strength and conditioning workouts.
“We’ve just been working on trying to finish this summer, because as a whole we realized that in all our games that we missed out on big opportunities because we just didn’t finish plays or finish the game,” Nealy said.
Three games most unsettling to Nealy in that regard were losses to Virginia Tech, Miami and Georgia. Nealy said he has seen the improved effort in sprints, for instance. Where players previously coasted through runs at the end of a set of sprints, just trying to beat the prescribed times, they have pushed themselves more to give maximal effort.
“That’s when we look at each other and leaders pick the rest of the team up, say something to get ’em going, to push our bodies past the limit of what they’re normally used to,” he said.
2. Cornerback D.J. White has continued his ascent this summer, impressing Nealy with his approach to the workouts.
“He’s definitely grown into a great player,” Nealy said. “He can flat out run. He pushes his body to the limits that not too many guys can really do. He’s going to be a good player for us next year.”
3. Nealy is on track to graduate in December (as is guard Shaquille Mason, who is also attending the event.)
4. Linebacker Anthony Harrell is recovering well from a season-ending knee injury suffered against Syracuse last season. Nealy said they drove home together to Florida over the Fourth of July weekend “and he was about 80 percent running, he said. I’d say he should be good to go when Aug. 30 (season opener against Wofford) hits.”
5. Defensive coordinator Ted Roof has had defensive players over to his home twice this year, including ma recent World Cup-watching event. (Which has to be some sort of first – college football players going to their coach’s house to watch soccer.)
Position coaches have done likewise with their players. Linebackers coach Andy McCollum, Nealy said, “was supposed to bring us to his place, but he just got married, so I don’t know.”
More updates to come.