Shawn Watson: Yes. First off, we got back to rushing the football with the attitude and purpose that we have in our past, which is what we want our identity to be. In doing that, I felt like our offensive line and tight end position really came along fundamentally.
And I really loved what the backs did. They really did a nice job of understanding their reads and finishing their runs, which are critical if you're going to be a good running team.
When we watched film (of spring) we saw the line of scrimmage being established on the (offensive) side of the ball. We were knocking people off the ball. And then the backs, they were finishing. If you do those two things, you've got a chance to be pretty good rushing the ball.
BSN: Was that a result of emphasis and attitude, or something else?
SW: No, it's called experience. It's called growing up. Just what our issue was last year, the difference is that now we're playing with experienced players as opposed to inexperienced players. The experience certainly helps, and then the development that's taken place over the year physically adds to that.
BSN: Talk about the quarterback position. Did Joel Klatt take a step forward?
SW: Yeah, he did. We went into the spring with a couple simple objectives fundamentally for him. He reached all those and actually had a more efficient spring than what he had in the fall. He ended up with almost 360 snaps in which he had throwing opportunities, and he hit almost 73 percent of his passes. He was very efficient.
BSN: Do you feel comfortable with the progress of the other quarterbacks?
SW: Yeah, I really do. I think James Cox had his best period of time since he's been here. He established himself as a clear cut No. 2 guy. I can see him, with the way he's developing, really putting a push on Joel. Joel will feel him behind him because James was really efficient.
He didn't have nearly as many throws because the other four guys were splitting the reps, but he ended up having right at 200 snaps and he was at 68 percent. So he really had a tremendous spring.
The thing that was different was that James only had one interception and he never took a snap. And all of the guys, but especially James – his numbers from his physical testing grew. He tested out as our fastest quarterback. He really had a good winter in the weightroom and I think that aided him.
BSN: Any concerns as you look at what you have to do in fall camp?
SW: The obvious is that we have to find out what we have at receiver. It wasn't due to anything other than unfortunate circumstances in that we lost Blake Mackey for a great portion of the spring; we lost Tyler Littlehales for half; we lost Stephone Robinson for almost the entire spring; and Dusty Sprague was in and out (all due to various injuries and ailments).
We really don't know right now about what we have at receiver. We're talented, but again, we wanted to establish our depth and find our go-to guy, which we didn't have a chance to do because of the situation.
BSN: Mike Duren looked effective in the two scrimmages. Is he a guy who can help you in the fall?
SW: Mike will definitely have a role. How much of a role? He's going to have to earn that when the other guys come back because we want to have a chance to evaluate the other guys. But Mike had a big spring. He ended up being our most improved player. It was between he and James, but his productivity was unbelievable.