What is the competition like in your group during camp? Has Phillip Lindsay locked up that No. 1 spot?
Darian Hagan: “I don't know if Phillip has locked up that spot yet. I am pleased with four guys. I am pleased with Phillip, Donovan [Lee], Kyle [Evans], Beau Bisharat, and then when Michael [Adkins] gets back, we'll have five solid guys.”
Did Patrick Carr's decision to transfer out of the program this summer benefit Donovan Lee the most?
“I think it does. It will give him more of an opportunity. When Patrick was here, it was a really, really, really crowded backfield. Donovan being able to get a lot of reps with the ones with Phillip being down today, Michael being down, I think has energized him. He understands what we're trying to do offensively, which is important, and he just plays hard. Donovan is a smart, smooth runner and he is really, really shifty. He adds a lot to the backfield.”
Lindsay and Lee are both shorter backs... how would you compare and contrast their abilities?
“Phillip is more of a downhill, physical runner that excels in the power game. Donovan is really, really elusive in the inside zone. I tell those guys the inside zone is the most patient play in football, and he is a patient runner. Once he sees an opening, he sticks his foot in the ground and he gets vertical quickly. So he is really good at that. They are totally different backs.”
In the spring you were saying you wanted to see more consistency out of Michael Adkins and he has missed much of camp so far with a hamstring injury. How much has that set him back in your eyes?
“He'll be behind. He'll have to catch up to the offense. I heard him over here earlier talking to Phillip and he has forgotten some things. So he has to get caught back up with that. With us installing every other day and him not being able to rep it, it definitely sets him back. But he is so smart, I think he'll pick it up and be fine.”
You mentioned true freshman Beau Bisharat earlier... what have been your early impressions of him?
“Big, hard runner. Really, really physical. At times when he was running with the threes, we didn't get a good look because the third-team offensive linemen are really young. They don't really know what we're doing. Today when we scrimmaged, I had Beau with the twos and he looked really, really different. He is impressive.”
Do you think Bisharat is going to play this fall, or is it too early to say definitively?
“It is too early to tell, but if he can do some things on special teams, he'll definitely play this year.”
You also mentioned Kyle Evans. As his position coach, what was it like seeing him get placed on scholarship earlier this week?
“It was awesome. We had just run a trick play and he made a big play at the end of practice so it was great timing. It was an awesome feeling. I almost shed a tear because the guy works so hard. His attitude, his preparation... he works hard, man. He deserves it. I would say right now he probably has had the most impressive camp among the running backs.”
Why do you think Evans was not more heavily recruited out of high school? Is it just hard to get noticed when you are 5-foot-6?
“That is exactly what it was. It is hard for a guy his size to get noticed. And Archbishop Mitty, the high school he went to, a lot of colleges don't go through there and recruit. So he was just overlooked. But he is so powerful, strong, and his center of gravity is so low, he can make a cut and be out and the defender can't adjust because he is so quick.”
That sounds a little like “Speedy.” Is there a little Rodney Stewart in Evans' game?
“They are definitely similar. Both of them are shifty, hard-nosed. I would say Rodney was a little bit quicker, but Kyle is definitely bigger.”
You talked highly of Dino Gordon in the spring. Although his playing status has yet to be determined for this season, do you still see him as a back that could develop into a contributor down the road?
“Absolutely, he has a bright future. The thing about Dino is, he is not always serious, so he comes out and takes plays off. He is a guy that can't afford to do that, honestly. He is a raw running back. Once you get on him and you talk to him about things, he starts to understand it better. But he needs to show that focus more often. I still believe he is going to be really, really good.”