Has getting back in the trenches been what you hoped it would be when you moved from running backs and tight ends coach to offensive line coach this year?
Coach Klayton Adams: “Yeah, it has been awesome. It has just been great with the personality of the group. They really have a hunger to get better. I think it has fit really well.”
Are you starting to settle on the guys that will be out there against CSU?
“Yeah, we're trying to really work that group. There are still a couple of guys that know they are one snap away, and really all of them should feel that way. That is one of the things we talked about at this morning's meeting, and in a meeting last week, is if you are not one of the first group guys, you need to prepare like you are a first group guy because you could be in there any second. If you are not prepared like you are a starter, you are going to let the team down. And also, when you have an opportunity, you have to be at your best because that is going to give you more opportunities to play if you go in and play really well.”
Obviously sacks are not always on the offensive line, but the fact you took over a unit that gave up the most sacks in the Pac-12 last season, does your group have an edge to them to right the ship after that?
“They are definitely a group with a purpose and a group that knows they need to get better and so having that edge of, 'Hey, what we're doing is not good enough, we have to improve.' I think that is something you have to carry with you whether you have five first-team all-Pac-12 guys that are going to get drafted in the first round or you have a group of guys that has however many returning starters, to me it doesn't matter what you did the past season. Your mentality always has to be that we have to get better and what we're doing is not good enough. And so that is something that we have tried to push in the room is, hey, we have a long way to go with fundamentals, the effort, understanding the scheme, being able to do it without having to stand there for 15 seconds to communicate. I think that is something every group has to have regardless.”
How close was, or is, the competition at right tackle this preseason between Sam Kronshage and Aaron Haigler?
“There are really three tackles that have been battling for the job between Sam, Aaron and Shane [Callahan]. The difference is not a lot, just because all of them bring something different to the table. Ultimately I think the guy that ends up starting at that position is going to be the guy that does the most things well.”
How about your right guard spot?
“Right now I would say we're relatively set on what we're going to do but you still have some young guys that haven't played in games, you have to have other guys ready. That is kind of where we are there.”
Gerrad Kough seems to be a quiet kid... what kind of camp has he had?
“He has had a really good camp. He has been probably the most consistent guy throughout camp. He has a fair amount of starts under his belt at this point. He is starting to play with a little bit better technique in pass protection and comes off the ball really well in the run game. He is a little bit of a quiet guy but he has actually become kind of a pillar of strength of the group, and a little bit of a leader just because of the way he works and conducts himself.”
Jeromy Irwin missed the majority of 11 games last season and then missed all of spring. Has it taken him a little while to shake the rust off?
“Sure, no more than anyone else. There are still some fundamental things that we are still working on with all of the guys. He has had some things he has to get better at, and that is kind of the goal, is you are not a finished product when you are going into your first game. You are a finished product after the season is over. Wherever we're at right now, after the first game, we have to be better than we are now. And after the second week is over, we have to be better than the week before.”
How has Irwin's camp gone?
“He has had a good camp. He has been strong. He has been able to improve every week. There is always kind of an up-and-down for any guy but he has definitely improved. The biggest area he has improved in is just being able to react. Because you can't give guys, in my opinion, all sorts of adjustments that are off of your base rules. I think when things happen really fast in a football game, they are going do what they know the best, regardless of what you told them or showed them on film. So I think he has improved in that area.”
Alex Kelley was listed as a co-starter coming into camp, has he taken ownership of that starting center job again?
“I'd say right now he has, yeah. Again, just in the spirit of improvement every week, I think he is going to continue to get pushed because I think Jon Huckins is a really good player, too. Alex has definitely gotten better and I like his attitude right now because he knows it is a process based thing, it is not an end result based thing.”