Coaches from the Triangle's four Division I football programs gathered at the Sheraton in RTP Thursday as part of the annual Pigskin Preview to talk about the game and the season ahead.
At one point, the coaches were asked about the strengths and concerns of their teams.
The coaches responded:
• N.C. State's Tom OBrien said the big plus the Pack has going for is that players are “more attuned to what we are trying to accomplish, whether on the field or off the field” going into his second season at State.
• First-year Duke coach David Cutcliffe likes the way the Blue Devils have responded to his philosophy, saying they “have done a better job listening and responding” than any group I’ve ever been around.
“That’s what excites me most about coaching this team,” he said.
His biggest concern is upgrading the placekicking, a major Devils deficiency last year.
• Second-year UNC coach Butch Davis, like O’Brien, cited the year together as a help to the Tar Heels.
"You get to know players, find out exactly what they do and what they do well,’’ said Davis, adding that has enabled the staff to give each player specific facets to focus on during the off season.
A big emphasis is finding a replacement for Connor Barth, the team’s standout placekicker the past four years.
• N.C. Central’s Mose Rison says he’s excited about coaching a young team.
But the Eagles, competing in Division I-AA for the second season, have what he called the toughest schedule in school history and have to replace nine starters on defense.