February 22, 2007

Geno Hayes prepared to lead

There's a little bit less to outside linebacker Geno Hayes these days and it's easy to see. The dreadlocks that sprouted from his scalp last season are gone and a more aerodynamically sound style has taken its place.

"It told the coaches I had a New Year's resolution to cut my hair off," Hayes said. "I just cut it off on New Year's Day. I don't know, it was just something I wanted to do."

A clean cut for a clean start.

Hayes is in a new position these days. A season ago, he was the youngest of the starting linebackers, a sophomore standing beside senior middle linebacker Buster Davis and junior outside linebacker Lawrence Timmons. Now he's a rising junior... and the only returning starter in the unit.

And not only will he be working with new starters, he's working with a new linebackers coach as well, as former North Carolina State head coach Chuck Amato has returned to a defensive staff he was a part of for 18 seasons.

With all that's new around him, Hayes knows it won't be a breeze to make the linebacker unit how it was a season ago.

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