Straight from the Coach's Mouth

Thursday morning marked the last day of regular spring practice for the Cincinnati Bearcats 2008 season. Following the practice, head coach Brian Kelly spoke with members of the media on a number of subjects.

On the quarterbacks and the spring game:

“Well, we’ve got a number of good quarterbacks.  I think Saturday we’ll give them all a chance to compete, Grutza and Anderson and Pike and Collaros.  Demetrius Jones is going to play.  I think, what I just told our football team is, Saturday there’s a lot of competition for positions, and it’s an important game from that standpoint.  A lot of spring games are, you know, coaches are interacting on the field.  This one is game-like for us, because we need to find out who are the guys when the lights go on that could really take hold.”


On the starting quarterback race:

“I would say that it’s a competitive balance.  There’s an experienced player in Grutza, there’s a young guy in Anderson, there’s a proven player in Pike, and then Demetrius, who’s just starting to get comfortable physically.  It’s going to be interesting because there’s different dynamics with each one of those quarterbacks, that’s why I think Saturday will be interesting competition for our quarterbacks.”


On the status of Ben Mauk’s appeal:

“It is a fluid situation in that the NCAA is interacting with us in relative to Ben’s appeal, and that is an ongoing situation.  It’s minute-to-minute.  Stay tuned, because I would say that right now decisions on his situation are immanent, but one has not been made yet.”


Details of the ongoing process of Mauk’s appeal:

“Generally it’s mostly been clarifications and documentation, you know, dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s.  And clearly we’re going through this for the first time, and I think Maggie McKinley’s done a great job of being on the point.  The NCAA, to their credit, has been outstanding in making sure there’s clarity and communication, and when you have that you have the best interest of the player in mind.  To me, as the head coach here, do I want Ben Mauk back?  Absolutely, but I also want to make sure that there’s clarity in the communication and what needs to happen for that to occur.  That’s where I applaud the NCAA and Maggie McKinley, our compliance officer, to really having good dialogue to get this thing done.”


Response to “What if Mauk was granted the sixth year before Saturday’s spring game?”:

“That would be a pretty good story.  We were envisioning maybe, if we heard by then, the whole team would run out and then we would stop and put the spotlight on one guy and run him out of the tunnel.  We’ve joked about it, but clearly it’s one that weighs heavily on Ben right now.  It’s all been about his ability to handle this situation, and we’ll just have to wait and see how it plays out.”


On format of Bearcat Bowl II:

“It’ll be a game like situation for the first half.  As you know we’re on the 40 second clock now, so it’s really important that we get a feel for that, the new 40 second clock comes into play, which I think really helps the no-huddle offences.  So we need to play it as close as to a game situation as possible.  Then we’ll assess at halftime whether we have a running clock and kind of take stock on where we are.”


On drafting up the teams for the game:

“We tried to have a competitive balance.  What I didn’t want was we had a couple of situations last year where we had miss-matches.  I think we had a young offensive tackle going against Trevor Anderson, and we couldn’t get the ball off.  So we try to be balanced in making it as competitive because that’s the watch word I’ve used with our team- if you want it competitive you better balance your teams.”


On play selection during Saturday’s spring game:

“We’re not going to throw everything out there.  Not that we need to hold back, but I think in spring you don’t put everything in, you get a good base.  I would say the veterans have a chance to do a little bit more than maybe some of the younger kids in terms of what they have, what they’re familiar with.”


On the impressive “double half back reverse, wide receiver throwing 50 yards down field to another receiver” play we saw run twice on Thursday:

“I think the double half back reverse… we’ll try to get that in as quickly as possible.  Usually it’s the first one that runs it, you know, has the advantage in the game.  But seeing it’s my team on both sides, I’ll pick and choose when I want to throw that one in.”


On Barwin and Carey’s move to defense:

“I’m really pleased with Craig Carey and Connor Barwin.  These are guys that were on the offensive side of the ball that are now on defense, so what that brings is kind of a commonality in terms of they know what we want, there’s some common bonds there.  I like the fact that our locker room is pretty good.  Those guys help the defensive structure in what we’re doing as players, but more importantly they bring a lot of leadership there, too.”


On Barwin specifically:

“You’re always hesitant to move a player of that stature that you know can be a huge piece of your offense to the defensive side of the ball.  He’s handled it well; it’s come naturally to him.  That’s what you look for.  Is it natural, or does it come hard to him?  It’s come real easy for him.  He’s got a long way to go, but boy he can be a special player for us on defense.”


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