Jeff Lebo: Practice Comments

We stopped by basketball practice on Friday to catch up with head coach Jeff Lebo. Here's a Q&A with him heading into Sunday's game against Mount Olive.

Q: With Marshall Guilmette injured, do you have to reinvent the way you play?

A: "Well, reinvent or try to find a way to be competitive with a lack of size. It's kind of like losing your offensive line. Now we're going to move the running backs to the line. That's not ever a good thing, but we're going to have to try and find ways to play.

"We have no depth. We'll be quicker, so you'll say 'why don't you press?' Well, because we don't have a lot of depth. It's kind of a Catch 22. We've got to be tough. We're going to have to move guys around in some different spots. We're going to have to shoot the ball from the perimeter really well every night."

Q: How has Marshall been through this injury?

A: "He's been frustrated. Obviously, he's coming off an injury last year. He's worked really hard and got that fixed and then something else comes up. He's just really frustrated with not being able to be on the floor. He knew he was going to have an opportunity to get on the floor and show what he can do.

"It's really tough on him. When I told the team, it was tough on them. You could see a kind of deflating thing in the meeting. They've known it for a couple of days now, so we're trying to move forward."

Q: You never want to have injuries, but now that this has happened this early on in the year, and you have games like a Division II Mount Olive, does it help to know that you have these types of games to work things out?

A: "Well, the problem is you hope you work them out. But, you look at these games, they could beat you in these situations. You're going to have to play awfully well to win. They're as big or bigger than you are. So much of this game is when the ball is in the air and whether it goes in or it doesn't go in.

"It's going to be hard for us to manufacture easy baskets. Where you could go in a game like this and use your size and throw it inside and get a foul or get a bucket, it's not going to be that easy."

Q: When it comes to manufacturing offense, how important is somebody as versatile as Caleb White?

A: "He's going to be vital for us to be effective every night. He's going to have to give us points—double figures, maybe more—and be a little bit more aggressive shooting the basketball. We can't rely just on one guy. Paris [Roberts-Campbell] is going to be vital for us. We're going to have to get some points out of every spot. We've really been playing seven, but they're all going to have to contribute."

Q: Nine games in, are you pretty happy with how you've been playing defensively?

A: "We've played different defensively. I think that's the big thing. We've relied on more zone this year. I think that's something we're going to have to do because of our lack of height, depth and size."

Q: Another element is that Sunday's game is right in the middle of exams. How do you balance the workload with the team?

A: "We've been really limited in our practice times. Obviously, Friday and Saturday they're done with finals. They had some [Friday] morning, so we'll get to work as a team here [Friday and Saturday], play on Sunday, then back to give them some time for their heavy load on Monday and Tuesday."

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