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Checking in with 'Spaz' Part II

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

Your front seven, I know you have to plug those holes on the interior line and at linebacker. How have those guys been coming along?

FS: The up-front guys, we have some young, inexperienced guys, we don't have enough depth there. The issue at linebacker is just as critical as at quarterback. If you had to draw a parallel, right now we're missing our two most important cogs at linebacker over there unexpectedly. We have some guys who are inexperienced who have to play and are untested talent-wise. That's just as big of a concern as the quarterback, really.

How have you handled all this? Are you losing sleep at night?

FS: First of all, a lot of the concerns are not new, I knew going in. One of the biggest surprises was to find out the problems were just as bad as I'd been telling everybody. I understood what was going on. We've got a plan. We know how to fix it, we know how to get better. We're anxious to see how it's all going to turn out, but we're not losing sleep -- yet.

Does it help to bring in a new offensive coordinator when you don't have quarterbacks who were necessarily entrenched in the old system?

FS: It helps to bring in Gary Tranquill. Gary is tailor-made for what we needed here. He was the first guy who came to my mind and thank God he's here. It's certainly very challenging and you need an experienced guy who's been around and is not going to be flustered by the situation, and that certainly is Gary. I just feel very fortunate every day to go out to practice knowing that that's in his hands.

What's the overall attitude of the team right now? Do you sense these guys are really itching to prove they can exceed people's expectations again?

FS: That's always been the case here. That's sort of the mindset. We're trying to develop an attitude ... They're young and inexperienced. Some of our leaders aren't out there, and we're unsettled at quarterback. You've been following sports, that can be very unsettling as far as leadership and personnel, and the team and dynamics. We're trying to find ourselves here. We're seeing improvement in that area, but we've got to get the right attitude.

How's Mark (Herzlich) doing?

FS: I talked to him about a week ago. He's in whatever stage of treatment it is right now. He sounded fine. Some days are worse than others, obviously. He's planning on being back here in early September and joining us.

Where do you set your goals at right now? Do you say, 'hey, we're trying to win the ACC title,' or are you just taking it one day at a time right now?

FS: We have obviously team goals, and that's always the case. You have to have those. In the context of one day at a time and in order to get to those goals, there's a lot of little things that have to be taken care of. That's where we're at with that. We talk about goals, we have aspirations, but we're realistic. We understand what people think of us and why. It's not like somebody just came off outer space and decided how good we're going to be. There's reasons. That's the way it always is in football.