April 12, 2014
HEAD COACH Butch Jones
"Well first of all, a very, very productive day for a number of reasons. First of all, 68,542 in attendance. Thank you Vol nation. Every time we ask you to do something, you do respond and what a great, great day. A great environment. Great illustration to our players of what they represent on a daily basis and also the excellence that is needed that needs to come from them. Our former players, our Vol for Lifes, great, great turnout. They mean everything to us. Another great illustration to our players about the proud tradition that we have here at Tennessee."
"When I talk about a productive day, great in terms of putting everyone's football Identity on film. We tried to do a lot of things to change it up in terms of individual competitions and see who would respond. See who would want to be in the lime-light a little bit and see how they would respond with almost 70,000 people in the stands. Everything in our football program is based on the corps value of competition, competing for greatness so again we have great evaluation tools. Explosive plays offensively, I think we really improved our throw game but on the flip side of it, unacceptable defensively. We're very, very thin there. We'll welcome 18 new additions in June and I believe off the top of my head 16 of them are on the defensive side of the ball so we have to get them ready to play. We need to learn from our mistakes and correct them going into August camp. The biggest thing I'm most disappointed in that we need to take tremendous strides is our tackling. We've spent an inordinate amount of time this spring in terms of tackling. On the positive side of it, we were in good position to make the tackles. Everything is about body position, we just didn't make them so we'll go back. We'll break all the missed tackles down and we'll meet with our players Monday and we'll get those issues corrected.
"Overall, very, very productive spring. A challenging spring and again, thank you to our great fan base and to our letter winners and everyone for coming out and everyone involved. They had the field ready to go in great shape. It was just a great, great day for Tennessee football."
(On Josh Dobbs)
"Josh has had a productive spring but I thought he really stepped it up today, even in the quarterback challenge.
(On Josh Malone)
"Josh has been doing that all spring and he's kind of gone through the maturation process of a wide receiver these last three or four practices with the sore legs, the sore hamstrings and I think the grind academically. Josh is a competitive young man and very, very talented and you can see he adds a whole other dynamic to our offense. I said it in the offseason, we have to be able to throw a five yard pass and turn it into a twenty yard gain. That was missing from our offense last year and we've really helped ourselves in recruiting. Still not there yet but just has been an individual that right from practice one he can be as good as he wants to be."
(More on Josh Dobbs)
"Well it helps. I thought he managed the offense and he made some plays with his legs, even the quarterback challenge. Josh is very calm, he has a calm demeanor about himself. Very cerebral which we all know and I thought he took some steps forward, it was great to see today."
(On the defense needing to improve)
"Well it's everywhere and it starts upfront on the defensive line, that's no secret. Everyone in our football program knows that these individuals have to be ready to go. Is it a great challenge to get a 17-18-year-old ready to play in the SEC? Absolutely, but that's where we're at in our program and it's a tremendous opportunity. I thought we had some older players really step up this spring. Jordan Williams, really asked a lot of him moving him inside. I think he continues to get better. Owen Williams is learning that football rewards those that are in great condition both mentally and physically - he's going to be fine. Corey Vereen was our most improved defensive player - Curt Maggitt. So we have some players it's just an overall depth. The think I was kind of disappointed in, in the spring game today, was the drop off from ones to twos. We need to generate outs defensively and we didn't generate very many three and outs today."
(On needing the 2014 signees)
"Yes if they don't understand that message then they're not listening. They hear it all the time, not only from me but from our players. They've come around to a lot of practices. Most of them were at the spring game today and they understand and I know they're looking forward to it."
(On the quarterback success)
"No question and it starts with the running backs, the receivers and the tight ends. Their job is to paint pictures for the quarterback and a lot of time with the naked eye you always want to look at the quarterbacks but it starts with them. It's all painting a picture and the body language that a lot of people may not understand. How you stick a route tells the quarterback 'that's all I got, throw the ball inside'. They've done a great job. I thought we protected pretty well today. Then again, being able to throw the football and make people miss in space, that's what our offense is all about. They've done a great job. Nowhere where we need to be. We still need depth but it's going to be a great competitive environment for this offseason and the summer months leading into camp.
"Night and day where we were at. I thought our quarterbacks were aggressive. They were decisive and they were confident in what they were seeing and that was great today."
(On the quarterback competition)
"Ongoing, no time table. We have to take tremendous strides. We turned the football over from the quarterback position today. You can't do that and play winning football so I'm very encouraged by where that position is in our program. We use a term called 'Power the Position' and everyone is responsible for being the best position on the football team within the team concept and I'm encouraged by what I've seen but we still have a long way to go."
(On what he can take away compared to last year)
"I left here a year ago at this time obviously very concerned about our throw game and big splash plays and that kind of showed itself last season. That's in the past. I've very encouraged by what I see but we have a long way to go. I am very concerned - which we'll get it corrected up front defensively - tackling on the back end and the thing I've seen in practice is we've been a good defensive tackling football team throughout the course of the spring. You guys have seen a lot of the tackling drills in practice and we have done a great job with it. Again, it's one or two technical errors that we have to go back and check - our eyes defensively. See how many eye violations that we had in playing it. We had a missed coverage on the one long pass to Marquez down the sideline. Those are all correctable errors but again the communication on the defensive side of the ball, the swarming to the football has to get better throughout the summer months."
(On the running backs)
"Jalen continues to progress. I thought he had some hard earned yards today. I thought he dropped his pad level but again him understanding too that football rewards those who are in great shape. Our running backs have to be able to carry the ball three, four, five, six, seven times in a row. Can you have a 30-yard gain, be the first up with the first up mentality and then have another 30-yard gain and I thought there was a couple times he didn't pick his heals up and he went down on a shoe tackle and in this conference you can't have that. Jalen is going to be a special player for us. Marlin Lane was a model of consistency. I thought Marlin Lane improved his overall burst and acceleration through the hole and I thought we did a much better job in our pass protection game as well."
(On Jalen Hurd's spring performance)
"Jalen (Hurd) is going through the developmental process of going from safety to linebacker, and trusting your eyes from seeing a little to a lot in terms of playing. He has continued to improve each and every day. We're going to need him. Him and A.J. (Johnson) are really forming a chemistry there with communication. He continues to get better and better with reps. This offseason and summer is going to be critical for him. He is going to have to put on 10 pounds. He is going to have to show durability playing inside the box, but he's very competitive. He's understands what he needs to work on. He adds another part of athleticism and speed to our defense."
(On A.J. Johnson's limited play)
"A.J. (Johnson) is fine. We've seen A.J. play enough football around here. Obviously, he needs to continue to progress and get better. But I wanted to see who our back-up linebackers would be. Would they show on video? When we welcome more true freshmen linebackers, the individuals who are here in the spring, we will know exactly where they are at. We wanted to get some others some valuable reps in game-like situations."
"We have to become a much better tackling football team in a hurry. I think our defense will be completely different just from a competitive standpoint in August."
(On Riley Ferguson being sacked in the first half)
"A lot goes in to sacs. Sometimes it's a wide receiver not winning his 1-on-1 and getting open. It may be someone losing his 1-on-1 match up front. I thought Riley did some good things. But he's going through the maturation phase. With the interception at the end of the game, he had the flat route wide open. He tried to get a bigger yardage gain on the out. As a quarterback, you never pass up a completion for a better completion. That's a process that young quarterbacks go through. The other one where he fumbled the ball, he was hit from the backside. It's the guy you never see that causes the fumble. Those are all things we can correct from Riley."
(On Joshua Dobbs and Josh Malone connecting)
"It's been consistent all spring and I think it's been across the board with all quarterbacks. We work so much with routes on error and understanding how they paint the picture for the quarterback, and all their body language and how they non-verbal communicate with all our quarterbacks. We've been on the same page most of the spring."
(On the 14 newcomers)
"I think any time you can get in front of almost 70,000 and play, it is absolutely invaluable. In which individuals can handle the clutter, the distractions and be able to focus. Also, the snap and clear mentality. If you make a mistake, let it go. Play the next snap. So much is that psychological toughness that we talk about, the mental conditioning. The mind is very important. A lot of times, young players struggle with that aspect of the game. That snap and clear mentality, move on play the next snap. Also, having a mental checklist in your mind of down and distance, splits, and techniques. Everything is happening very fast. It always comes with maturation. We don't have that right now so they have to learn in a hurry."
(On injuries during the game)
"Jacob Gilliam was able to return. Owen Williams was able to return. That's great. We had a different approach to the spring game this year. A lot of times going into a spring game, a coach's mentality is you want to get the game over with. You don't want to have any injuries moving forward. That's always in the back of our minds. This was an evaluation tool. This was invaluable for our young football team. We wanted to play as much as football as possible. It was great to see we didn't have any injuries that will linger in the summer months as of right now."
(On the offense's pace)
"I thought our pace was much better. There's still times on the incomplete pass where that's not a license to walk back to the line of scrimmage. We'll continue to work on that. I thought our overall pace has really improved on a consistent basis throughout the entire course of the spring. It's getting our defense lined up fast. That's the other thing, you look at now the flavor of the SEC and college football, the landscape of college football. It's turning into a no-huddle game. We have to learn how to get lined up and also learn how to celebrate when we have a tackle for loss. How you celebrate as a defense, get the signal and line up fast again."
(On defense standouts)
"We spoke about Jalen Reeves-Maybin. I thought he had some consistency in his performance. I thought A.J. (Johnson) did some good things when he was in there. I thought Curt Maggitt did some very good things as well. Emmanuel Moseley, he's going to be a good player. He's just learning right now. He was a high school quarterback. Every rep that he gains is extremely valuable in his overall development. I'll look over film and will know a little more tonight."
(On Jakob Johnson)
"We'll keep Jakob Johnson at the defensive end position. He's going through that phase of learning the game of football and all the nuances. When you look at his ability, he's extremely explosive. He's going to do nothing but continue to develop his body and get bigger and bigger. He's a sponge. He wants to do well. When you have an individual who has an inner drive to be the best he can be, you can accomplish anything you put your mind to and that's Jakob Johnson."
(On the next step and general message to the team)
"Moving forward we start the next phase of our program that's a new season. That's our summer strength and conditioning program. This is where I really believe teams are born, in the summer months with your leadership. It becomes a player-led football team. However, there is a different dynamic this year in the landscape of college football relative to the new rule of two hours a week that you're able to spend with your players in a classroom setting, but it's deducted from the weight room. That will be a little different dynamic. This next phase is critical. We'll come back as a football team Monday with a team meeting, review the game, and then our coaches will hit the road recruiting for spring. It becomes very much a player-led football team for a couple of weeks. Then they'll have a couple weeks off with finals and go home. Then we'll start our summer program. This has to be the best summer program that we've ever had as a coaching staff together. Dave Lawson, Mike Szerszen and our entire strength staff will do a great job but we have to get a lot of youngsters together, and ready to compete and play football come August."
QUARTERBACK Joshua Dobbs(On today's performance)
"It was a good performance. I felt like I did a good job executing the plays that is what I have been working on all spring. I have to make sure I continue to do that. Coach Jones always talks about consistency in performance. So not only me but the entire offense had a good day as we have had all spring. It was just another great day to continue to build on our style of play and continue to work on plays and execution."
(On the difference in play ability with the little bit older receivers)
"It makes a big difference especially for someone like Marquez (North) who has been in the system for two years. Just being able to make plays for the offense has grown. The newcomers have done a great job this spring catching on. Jalen Hurd had a lot of big runs today and Josh Malone had a couple really nice catches. So we are doing a really good job of growing from practice and executing."
(On making progress as a quarterback on the depth chart)
"I feel like I had a productive day but I feel as a unit we had a really productive day. We did an excellent job of executing plays, focusing on fundamentals, executing plays Coach Bajakian was calling and moving the ball. We had a real productive drive. That was another great step forward for us as a unit."
(On having three touchdown passes today)
"It was good. I take pride in myself. I am always a confident individual. This was a good day of taking steps forward. Just have to continue to build on it."
(On the run game)
"All spring I have been extremely impressed by them. We definitely have that dynamic group of running backs with Devrin (Young), Marlin Lane, Jalen Hurd, Justus Pickett and all of them. They have done a great job of having good, tough runs. Making the defenders miss. They have also been able to grind it out when it comes down to that 4th and one situation we need them to push the pile to make that yard they definitely will. I am definitely excited."
(On accuracy of the depth balls due to confidence or being stronger)
"I feel like I have gotten stronger. Coach (Dave) Lawson has done a great job in the weight room or pushing us hard and getting us bigger, faster, stronger as team. Personally I felt stronger and then as a team we have all gotten stronger that has really shown throughout the spring with our collisions and our explosive plays."
(On the mindset of effecting your confidence knowing you have guys down the field that will catch the ball) "I would say that but I feel like I have always been able to make those throws. So continue to grow and it comes with timing and working with the receivers. They have done a great job working with us after practice with throwing and working on our timing and rhythm."
(On what it means to have big targets as a quarterback like North and Malone) "It is amazing and honestly a quarterbacks best friend. You have people like Marquez (North), Josh Malone, Jason Croom and just bodies that you are able to throw up with it and know they will be able to come down with it. It is huge for us especially when we get in the red zone."
LINEBACKER Curt Maggitt
(On winning the Al Wilson Leadership award)
"It is a great feeling. It is a great opportunity especially being the first annual. Al Wilson is someone me and AJ (Johnson) look up to a lot. I am just trying to do my best to be a leader for this team. It is a great opportunity and I feel appreciated."
(On the importance of the fall newcomers stepping up)
"It is a great opportunity for the offense and defense as well. Things are going to start from leadership just get those guys in and get them on board right away. They aren't going to have as much time as the earlier guys had. It will definitely help a lot in depth for sure and different play making abilities."
(On relationship with Chris Weatherd and Dillon Bates)
"I know them. I have a pretty good relationship with Weatherd and I speak to Bates. We have a pretty good relationship as well."
(On what message you want to send those guys)
"Every time I talk to Chris (Weatherd) I tell him let's hit the ground rolling when you come in. Make sure you are in shape. We won't have time for baby steps. We have got to go."
(On the pass rush)
"It was a tough day for the defense. We didn't play well. Last week we played with more effort and intensity. When we play as whole we make production. We get pressure. We get sacks but today wasn't a good day."
(On the frustration of not making those plays)
"It is something we work on with tackling for sure. We missed way too many tackles tonight. That is something we have to work on and correct our mistakes. We have a long way to go as a defense."
WIDE RECEIVER Marquez North
(On how important it was to bounce back on the right note this spring for receivers)
"It was really important. We needed it a lot just for our confidence knowing to trust our technique for the fall."
(On the offense being much more explosive this year than last)
"I am very confident in all of them. They are freaky talented. I am just excited to see where it goes."
(On being impressed with Josh Malone coming in early)
"I am very impressed. He is a humble guy and has good work ethic. He is going to take off."
QUARTERBACK Nathan Peterman(On Josh Malone's performance)
"We were really happy. I think we had a lot of plays made form everybody, the whole offense. So that was really good for everybody to come out and have a pretty good spring game and a lot of momentum we can take into the summer. Watching film, Working out, and running a lot. Some momentum we can take into fall camp."
QUARTERBACK Justin Worley
(On 4-Man QB competition)
"Speaking for all four of us, were just focusing on being consentient in our performance. Focusing on what we can control and what we need to work on as individuals. Just taking ownership of the offense. Whoevers in there leading the offensive line, getting receivers lined up, doing the little things that come with being the quarterback, and that goes for each and everyone of us."
(Improvement in passing game from this year to last year)
"I think it makes a huge difference, year one to year two. We had a bunch of freshman receivers last year, we have a bunch of sophomore receivers this year. Having these older guys now that have been in the system, it allows for us too install more and work on the little things more. I think that has shown throughout spring practice with explosive plays, with on-handed catches, and things like that, guys getting open. It comes with being in the system."
(On not being perfect to make big plays)
"We have thrown a swing pass to Devrin Young and he's taken it 70 yards to the house, and that's the easiest play in ball. Or having some of the running backs break a long run. Just the explosiveness out of our skill group has been impressive, and its been a huge change from year one to year two."
(On Josh Malone and Jalen Hurd making big plays out there when they should still be in high school)
"It's impressive, and speaking for myself, I enrolled early and my first spring was a struggle. It is hard to get adjusted to what the coaches are asking of you and the rigorous schedule that you're put through so having those two guys show out like they've done, on top of Coleman Thomas and some of these other guys who have just gotten here, Ray Raulerson. It's impressive to see how they've adjusted, our tight ends as well."
(On helping the offense grow during summer)
"I will help take the lead during warm ups and player-led stuff, but the strength coaches will be helping out with us starting next week, and they will look to all four quarterbacks to be leaders. We have to be able to take control."
QUARTERBACK Riley Ferguson
(On 4-Man QB competition)
"We're just trying to help each other everyday, and we're just trying to get better everyday. That's the main thing we are worried about. Going out practicing and going back watching film and getting things corrected."
(On the skills competition)
"I mean, sometimes we will stay out after practice, try to hit the goalpost or something like that, but we usually don't have competitions like that."
(On knowing if it was going to be a part of today)
"Yes sir, we knew that was a part of it. We walked through it beforehand, and then just told us what we were going to have to do, and that was the first time we have ever gone through it."
(On who hits the goalpost the most in practice)
"It's pretty even. Whoever is having a good day that day. I don't know about me winning it."
(On Josh winning the skills competition)
"I don't know what he gets. If he wants to call it bragging rights, he can."
(On today's performance)
"It was ok. There were things that I could have done better. I will just have to go back and watch the film to correct my mistakes."
RUNNING BACK Marlin Lane(On his biggest goal for the spring)
"My biggest goal was to play with a chip on my shoulder, teach the younger guys and be consistent everyday at practice."
(On today's atmosphere)
"I had flashbacks to my freshman year, it felt like a real game. I didn't expect that many people to be there. Once we came out of the tunnel and saw all the people out there just put a smile on my face."
(On what the team has accomplished)
"I would say we got a lot accomplished today, I think we just need to get better. We pretty much accomplished what we needed. But probably would say being mentally tough because we have a lot of young guys."
(On being consistent)
"It is very important, we work it on everyday. We have to be consistent, because one day you can have a good practice and then the next day you are down a little. We want to keep going up and up everyday and show the young guys around us how to practice and what we expect from them."
(On finishing the spring)
"First thing is books, academics, finish strong in with those. Stay in the film room, even though spring is over there is never an off day. I just want to in there and work on things and help the group."
(On his hand injury)
"I actually feel great, that didn't slow down much during the spring. When it first happened in the spring, I kept going and didn't know it was messed up."
(On his mentality)
"That mentality is different than last year. I said after fall season of last year, once I get the opportunity I am just going to go for it. Just build the trust back and just work hard."
(On his change in mentality)
"Having it taken away from me last year. Honestly, around this time after I finished my semester, I wasn't planning on playing football anymore. I had a talk with Coach Jones and Coach G [GIllespie] and I went home that summer. They trusted me and I trusted them. I came back and I just came back and started working. I said, once I get a chance I am going to take advantage of it."
(On losing his love for football last year)
"Just had a lot of stuff going on, at the time I didn't have the mindset of loving the game anymore. Once I had time to myself, I just thought about it, that is why I stayed during Christmas break to get the love of the game back."
(On remembering his love for football)
"I did. Once I stayed by myself for a month, I realized that without football I didn't have that smile, that joy everyday. I just felt like I was out there doing nothing. Just blessed to have this game and for them to let me come back on the team."
DEFENSIVE LINEMAN Corey Vereen
(On missed tackles)
"When you get to an area and you have an opportunity to make a play it's very bad when you don't make that play, so that's one thing we need to work on this offseason and towards camp."
(On pass rush)
"It wasn't good enough today. I wasn't really getting of the ball like I did. Everybody else was doing good. We were getting some movement up front, but we need to a get a little more tenacity towards our pass rush. Down and distance, we need to improve overall."
(On winning the award for improvement)
"That was really special. I took it upon myself to get better at a lot of things, especially physicality. Coach Strip during the season said I need to get stronger in the weight room. So that's one thing I worked on in the offseason, my hands, physicality. There were a lot of things that lead to that point so that was nice."
(On upcoming freshman competition)
"I think it will bring a lot of competition and a lot of help. We're not that deep on the line right now, especially the interior guys. Those guys coming in, seeing what they can do, will really help us."
(On knowing any signees)
"I know Charles Mosley personally. I know he's a big guy. I know he's going to come in and give us an extra push up front. He's the only one I'm really close with right now."
(On needing extra bodies)
"The way we play, straining and running to the ball, it's hard being in there all the time. You need to rotate. You need to have bodies. It's a long game, even going into overtime. So you need those bodies you can throw in and give good rest."
(On how many guys you will use)
"It's hard to put a number on it. I'm not really sure. Everybody is going to help coming in."
(On most improved part of game this spring)
"I'm gonna say my run blocking ability, my hands, my physicality, my eyes. I think that's really ones thing I really tried to improve on. During the season I was a pass rush guy, everybody knew, a third down and long kinda guy. I'm trying to be an every down defensive end. So that's one thing I'm trying to get better at."
(On keeping getting better)
"Everyday, when we lift, come outside, 5-10 minutes, getting on the sleds, placing you hands. Doing a lot of things like that, after workout, maybe when you're tired, but you have to keep doing those skills so you don't lose those skills over long time."
(On today's environment)
"It was electric. I really like the attitude of our fans, the energy. It was awesome seeing all that orange out there. It reminded me of the season and why we are working that hard, so that was nice."
DEFENSIVE BACK Justin Coleman
(On how the defense did today)
"I feel like we have to have a little bit more leadership because as time went on we gave up big plays, but we did nothing to keep those guys up. I mean, there was people out there keeping everybody energized as far as the spring game went, I feel like we improved a lot. We got a long ways to go."
(On depth being a big issue on defense)
"Yeah, we talk about that all the time. I mean, like from the ones to the twos, I mean we got young guys at the twos, not very experienced, but what we do is try to get them to help us improve the team. They get better, we get better."
(On spending most of the spring at the nickel position)
"I mean, really, the big difference is that I'm getting into a lot more runs, I'm making a lot more tackles, and I feel like I can help the team a little bit more."
(On feeling like you got some linebacker in you to excel at a hybrid-linebacker)
"Yeah, you got to have mentality. You got to make the tackles, you got to do a lot of tackling, and of course you are covering the best players on the field."
(On Josh Malone's play today)
"Yeah, I kind of seen it in Malone, but I didn't really expect him to do that well, but he did his thing out there and made a couple of plays."
(On how important was it for the secondary to finish the spring strong knowing the competition coming in)
"We needed people to compete all spring and really compete for a position. We are just going to go over film and see who did good and try to take it from there."
(On Josh Dobbs' play today)
"I didn't know where that person came from. Josh Dobbs breaking tackles like he was a running back. He surprised us."
(On what you saw in the secondary today)
"We just got to play a little bit of tighter coverage. We wasn't competing with the receivers, we wasn't getting our hands on them so they were going to catch the ball."
(On seeing an upgrade on the offensive side of the ball)
"Yeah, they definitely have a competitive edge. They are playmakers, they know how to go up and get the ball when they got the ball in their hands, and their plan is to score."
(On tackling being an issue today)
"Tackling has always been an issue. Open field tackles, just bringing a guy down has been a problem, but we definitely improved on it, but as you can tell our offense has the ability to make people miss tackles."
(On working on tackling a lot this spring)
"Yeah, we always have to work on tackling. Every day, almost every single practice, we work on tackling."
(On liking the nickel position)
"I love the nickel spot. It gives me a great chance to help the team a lot more."
(On the difference of playing the nickel position compared to corner) "Basically, playing the run. I feel like at corner you really don't have to play the run. It is like a man, like what they said, you are on an island, but at nickel, you have to read run/pass, and then you got to run your way. You got to go make the play."
(On playing the run)
"Oh yeah, I like tackling. That's just something I like doing. I'm physical."
(On your feeling about the team coming out of the spring compared to last year)
"I feel like we made a huge jump from last year. We progressed a lot, offense, defense, and special teams, but really, we are just going to see what happens come fall."
(On progressing a lot because you are in the same system as last year)
"Yeah, that helps a lot, but really, I feel like just being experienced and my mentality, this is my last season, and I'm just going to go out there and play my best."
DEFENSIVE BACK Cameron Sutton(On going up against the wide receivers)
"Going up against them helps us out a lot. They are very versatile. They all bring different things to the field. Our receiver core is built around being physical and big bodied. It makes us a better secondary."
(On Dobbs' play)
"He played well. He is a very hard worker, and he is hard on himself because he expects a lot out of himself. He will definitely help us out a lot."
(On where the secondary improved this spring)
"We definitely bonded together and came closer. We are more united."
(On giving up big plays)
"We know that we have a long way to go. It's a growing process. It is better to go through this now rather than later. We will go back and watch film, and then we will go from there."
(On the newcomers adding competition)
"It will bring a lot of competition, and that is what we are all about. We want to push each other to work harder, and if those guys are able to come in and compete and win those jobs, then they will play."
(On the difference for the newcomers compared to him as a freshman)
"I didn't just come in and step in. I had to come in and work my way up. If they can do the same, they will definitely get on the field."
(On the atmosphere of spring game for recruits)
"I know it is just a spring game, but the amount of people that come here make it exciting. It doesn't surprise me. The fans are behind the coaches and us. It's exciting for us to see those people out here. "
(On Josh Malone)
"He is definitely going to help us out this year. The receivers are really strong and built, and they are definitely going to put up a lot of points this year."
(On positives from the spring game)
"Our offense did very well, and our defense looked well at times. The leadership picked up a lot, and we just have to continue to build off the momentum that we have to grow as a team."
(On what to improve on) "We need to improve on tackling, being physical and using our hands, coverage and just the little mistakes."
(On Johnson and Randolph making a difference when both are in)
"They are both playmakers. They are two of our leaders on defense, and we value those guys a lot. When they are on the field, we know we will get a lot of help from them."
OFFENSIVE LINEMAN Kyler Kerbyson
(On winning a spring award)
"Just overall work ethic. I've really wanted this for a long time. It's been three or four years. I've been in the two spot and it was my opportunity to step up so that really motivated me in everything I did this spring."
(On being a number one)
"It was very important to me. Last spring, I didn't get a good chance to give it the all that I could. I really took it upon myself to be the best that I could and I knew that I would have an opportunity to start, so it was very important to me and I knew I had to be one of the stronger, faster, more athletic guys out there. That's what I was working for."
(On comfort level at guard)
"I think guard just fits me better with my size overall. I'm not as long as the Ja'Wuan James and Antonio Richardsons. I'm not as long in arms as them, but if I have to, I can go out to tackle. I think I proved myself athletic enough to be out there, but I'm really liking guard right now. If I have to go out there, that's fine with me- whatever helps the team."
(On watching offensive linemen at Pro Day)
"Just knowing what to expect from all the coaches at the Pro Day- what they're looking for. Seeing some of the drills, one drill was a lot of the o-line men pulling around and picking up a tennis ball off the ground, showing their agility and their able to bend and stuff, so that resonates in us and let's us know that is what everybody is looking for- your agility, able to bend, how quick you can move your feet, all stuff like that."
(On the running back competition)
"A lot of the running backs are very competitive. It's almost as competitive as the quarterback situation with all of the running backs. That makes all of them better. Jalen (Hurd) pushing Marlin (Lane). Marlin pushing Aldon (Howard). Aldon pushing Justus Pickett. They're all pushing each other to where every single one of them is getting better. That's all we need. You can't get better unless you're a little pushed. It's really nice to see all of them pick up their game and contribute."
OFFENSIVE LINEMAN Mack Crowder(On today's thoughts)
"It was good. We just continue to get better, continue to step up as a leader. Obviously, the five guys left and those spots have to be taken over and all those five guys were leaders last year. Marcus [Jackson], Kyler [Kerbyson] and I, all three of us are stepping up, so the spring was good just getting practice and leading those young guys and knowing what to expect going forward."
(On offensive line improving since last scrimmage)
"They always respond great. They know when they're not doing the best job ever. After we went back and watched the film, it wasn't as bad as we thought it was. Sometimes you don't really know what's going on behind you whenever you're blocking up front, but I think that once I got on to them they realized that maybe they weren't doing something wrong, but maybe we need to pick up the slack for the rest of the team."
(On doing Pro Day type drills)
"Not yet. That's something we'll probably get into more in the summer with our strength development type stuff. Another thing I noticed was whenever the individual drills came, their hand violence was the main thing that they focused on- getting your hand inside and hand violence. That's one thing that Coach always stresses that we need to get better on and we'll use those drills along with others to work on our hand violence going into the offseason."
(On Jalen Hurd and Marlin Lane)
"They just run hard, both of the guys do. Hurd is a young guy, obviously wanting to impress the coaches. He comes with a good attitude every day. He just has to get some things worked out which will come with time. I think Marlin Lane has proved himself. He's a veteran now. He's consistent and continues to come every day with a great mindset because he knows what Coach expects and what it takes to be great."
(On almost 70,000 in attendance at the Orange & White game)
"I always thought of a spring game as something that the fans could come watch if they wanted to. It wasn't going to be a big deal but Coach Jones has made it a big deal. The main reason for that is so we can get in front of 70,000 people before the season, during the offseason, so we know what to expect. It's great for these young guys because it's the first time they've really played in front of such a big crowd. I think Coach Jones has done a great job of getting that many people there. It's almost and I love playing in that atmosphere."
DEFENSIVE BACK Malik Foreman(On the defense's play today)
"It was very disappointing because as a defense, we never want to give up big plays. We're going to watch film, see the mistakes we made and get them corrected."