Aug. 15, 2014
(Opening Statement) "Alright, we need to keep this short today. I'm starting to see you guys more than I see my wife and my family right now. It's been less than 22 hours since I've seen everyone. But, hope everyone's having a great day. Good to get back, get the pads on. Some goal line scrimmage situations today. We had Derrell Scott back in practice, and he did some very, very good things. So it's great to see him, and see him add to the overall competitive depth of the running back position. Dylan Wiesman was back today, so that was great to see, as well.
Jashon Robertson had his stripe removed today in the team meeting room. So that was great for him and he's earned that. I thought Justin came out and had a good day of practice. And you know, when you look at his body also, I think we seem to forget that in games last year that he started and finished, he was 4-2. And I'll continue to say it in terms of, the starting quarterback is a lot like a starting pitcher in baseball. It's your win-loss record. And that's the most important thing with a quarterback, is leading your team to victory, and doing whatever it takes to get the victory. So, I'll answer any questions you may have."
(On Jashon Robertson)
"Well, when we recruited him, we knew he brought value to both sides of the football. But he's extremely smart, he's very intelligent, he's very instinctive, and he plays with a good pad level. He was a good wrestler, so that has really helped him from understanding the leverage side of things. But, he's very bright and he loves football. He's done a tremendous job, and he continues to push the older guys that we do have in the offensive line."
(On Jakob Johnson and him moving to linebacker)
"You're exactly right. We have to find the best fit, the best position for Jakob Johnson. And he does bring value, because he can do some very good things, but one of the strengths that Jakob has is his ability to run. Run and hit. So we're going to move him around a little bit to an outside linebacker position - try to get him standing up more, and let him use his speed and athleticism to run sideline to sideline."
(On Johnson's transition to a new position)
"Well, it's going to be all about his personal growth and development, and we knew that when we recruited him, just because he hasn't played football for a very long time. So the learning curve maybe is a little bit more, but he does play with great instincts, he's very, very intelligent. Now it's just a volume of repetitions that he needs to have. But we knew when we recruited him that we didn't know where he would be at his first year, but we would like his body of work year two, year three, year four. And that was one of those - sometimes when you put together a recruiting class, you're also looking for developmental players. Some individuals might currently be ahead of him right now, but where will they be year two, year three, year four in the program."
(On position battles at the Open Practice)
"Tomorrow night is critical for everyone, but particularly our specialists. And we're going to do some different things with the game-like atmosphere creating some stressful situations to put them in, because we need to see who our kicker's going to be moving forward. And also, our short snappers and our long snappers, as well. So, tomorrow night is a big time evaluation tool for them."
(On competition with the kick returners compared to last season)
"Much more. Last year, besides Devrin, we were really struggling to even have competition at the return game. And, again, everything is about competition. It elevates your program. It elevates everyone in your program. And, you see who the competitors are. And, now, we have a lot more [competition]. We've been able to add to that competition through the recruiting process. But, we're still not there yet. But, again, we still have made ourselves better in that area just from the recruiting end of it."
(On flexibility with the offensive line)
"We need as much flexibility as possible, and it's finding the best five that will work together, communicate as one, have one heartbeat, be one mindset. You have to think all alike, and the offensive line is very, very indicative of one wrong, all wrong. It's having five that can continually put together and feed off of each other. So, it's allowed us to move some players around in trying to evaluate and find out the best five to put on the field. But, it's not just the five. I've said it--it's six, it's seven, it's eight. We travel with ten to 11 offensive linemen. That's where we're really down. We're suffering some consequences in terms of recruiting right now. We're down about five offensive linemen in our numbers of running a football program. So, again, every rep that they take is critical, but we need to continue to recruit at that position."
(On status of Owen Williams)
"Owen continues to be a work in progress. He is making some plays for us. The big thing with Owen is just his stamina, his football endurance and the ability to play four or five plays in a row at a very, very high level. But, Owen is very explosive. He uses his hands well. But, it's just the overall mental toughness, mental conditioning of being able to fight through fatigue--which that's what football is--and playing with a level of toughness play in and play out."
(On status of Curt Maggitt)
"Curt rolled his ankle a couple of days ago. All precautionary, so we're taking our time with him getting him back to full strength. He is going through walkthroughs and going through some different things, but he'll be fine."
(On play of Chris Weatherd)
"Again, a work in progress. For Chris, it's the fine details of playing the position, the overall discipline to do things right each and every day. But, what you see is an individual who can run--very, very explosive. He's trying to do the right things. It's just creating and formulating those habits and those instinctual habits. We always talk about you train a certain way so it becomes instinctual. You know, we're working on that, but you can see that he has a lot of ability and he wants to do it now. It's just repetitions."
(On Neiko Creamer's offensive reps)
"Yeah, we're trying to find, again, the best spot for Neiko. So, today we tried him at tight end, and we'll continue to see what he can do at the tight end position. Again, it's just moving him around. He may be at a number of different positions. He's fit. He's a big body. Now, we're just trying to find the right fit for him."
(On Curt Maggitt's status for Saturday's open practice)
"No, he won't play tomorrow night. He'll go through practice. He'll go through the morning practice on Saturday, but he won't play Saturday night. Then, we'll see if he'll be ready to go Sunday."