"It was the second day of practice and we were doing some things a little better. We will not practice tomorrow, we practice Friday in shells and on Saturday we will be in full pads for a half scrimmage. We caught the ball pretty dang good today. We caught it better than we did last year as there were very few drops out there. We were throwing the ball pretty good but there were no pads on. "
How is the situation shaping up with the defensive line with so many guys out right now?
"The guys who could save us are the walk-ons as at least we can scrimmage. We won't be as strong as you would like to be but the main thing is we will be able to go through some scrimmages. Hopefully we can stay healthy so there won't be a problem because if you get a couple injuries then you don't have any depth and all the sudden it's a problem."
Do you have enough players to make it feel like you can scrimmage with a real defensive line?
"We've got enough players. I think he's got two, four, six defensive tackles. I'm not sure whether Bunkley is going to be able to go in the scrimmage. Now you are talking about walk-ons in there but we'll struggle. "
Do you have to take that into account when you are gauging how your offense is doing?
"Oh sure, sure. But when the fall rolls around and guys like Dockett get back you will be able to."
Is that your biggest concern at defensive line because certain guys are not getting practice time?
"No and I'll tell you why. You've got two fifth year seniors. Back in 88-91 I excused fifth year seniors from some drills. I felt like they had four years in it and didn't need it. So at least you have tackles coming back that have played for three years already. "
What is your feeling on the addition of Kevin Steele to the coaching staff and his chemistry with the team so far through spring practice?
"Kevin knows what he is doing and that is why we hired him. He is not a young guy who is trying to learn his way around , he has been around. He is doing good and just about like I thought he would."
Is it a different philosophy this spring as you have closed spring practice for the first time to both media and fans. Is that because you want to work on some fundamentals as well as new things in practice?
"We are are working on some. The main thing is to try to get their attention. We just felt like we needed a little bit more closure."
At the running back position Lorenzo Booker seems to be off to a great start in practice so far .
"Yeah, yeah, he is getting some great work so far. He has done very well."
When Greg returns, you will have Greg, Leon Washington, and Lorenzo Booker. How is that kind of depth at a position for this team?
"But you have to look back at last year when we lost three(running backs). It's never secure. It's never as stable as you would like. If you just knew that nobody was going to get hurt you could answer a person when they asked you how many games you were going to win but then you lose this guy, and this guy and things are just not as you were. "
How has Donnie Carter been doing at the tight end position?
"Good, very good. And so is Paul Irons. They caught the ball good today. They really did. Glad you asked."
What is the importance of that(the TE position) position for this season?
"We are really going to try to really get them into the equation more, no doubt about it. Miami has really benefited from that. We try to do some of the things they do. "
After the Sugar Bowl last season you spoke about how you were going to try to get back to the passing game more, how has that impacted your coaching philosophy coming into the spring?
"Yes, but you still don't want to neglect the running game. You would love to dominate with the run, relying on the run is the old way to do it but football has changed so much. I don't care how good you are you can't just dominate with the run. So you would like to be good and solid in the running game but get more explosion from the passing game. "
Have you found over the years a change in the players opinions in regards to coming in and red-shirting and the way in which it affects your depth chart as the freshman do not care to wait?
"That is true on some occasions . There are some occasions where you do need them and they are good enough and mature enough to help the team. You get 25 guys and there is probably 18 of them that need the extra year to mature. There are some like Booker who came out there and saw what was there and asked for a red shirt."
Do you not see a problem with those guys who want to play immediately?
"They all want to play when you sign them. Very few of them say they want a red shirt but some of them do. It is sometimes because they are at a position where they realize it is going to take five years or they are a quarterback and they are expecting to red shirt when they come in."
"Walker is not participating in any type of team drills right now and is only throwing the ball very little. Greg Jones and Travis Johnson are doing a lot of running and just attempting to get the legs back in shape. Travis may be able to participate some in the Spring but Jones is definitely out until August."
With losing four senior starters on the offensive line after last season those new guys are getting a lot of practice. Who do you think you can look to among that group to step up as a leader?
"Ray could be one. I think the kids look up to him pretty good. He'd be one that you would point out. Willis, Barron, and Meeks will be a junior so there aren't any more seniors out there. "