Opening statement: "I thought we had a good spring. We drastically changed what we were, creating a lot of tempo and space plays. Kurt Roper came in and installed our offense. Excited about where we are. Mike Summers did a phenomenal job with our front guys. We feel really good with about 5-7 guys coming out of spring. We need to continue to develop depth up there. Ability is there, the quality of player is there. We just need to develop guys and get some experience."Defensively, concerned a little bit up front there as far as the depth on the line of scrimmage. Having two seniors inside in Darious Cummings and Leon Orr. Jonathan Bullard and Dante Fowler, two guys that have played quality football for us. Past that, we need to have more guys come along. Bryan Cox had a good spring. I'm excited about where we are, how spring turned out. We were able to get a large majority of our offense installed and our players did a good job of understanding where we are."
Thoughts on SEC scheduling announcement?"It's fine with me. I was for eight games, whether it was a 6-0-2 format or 6-1-1 format. It isn't all fair all the time. That's part of it when you're a part of a league that has 14 teams represented. That's what Commissioner Slive does. He and his staff make a decision of what's better for a majority of the conference. Whatever format they went with in eight games, I was going to be good with. We've got a great rivalry, and I've been on both sides of it, with Florida and LSU. It's an exciting game, a national game and a game I know that Les enjoys and I do as well.
"Having another opponent from the other side (of the conference), the disappointing part of that for me is not being able to see the Florida-Auburn game continue on a regular basis. Or at least being able to see that 2-3 times a year. If you went to a 6-2 format, Coach Spurrier my first year in Destin made the comment to me what a great rivalry it has been over the years. You look at some of the games. Having been involved in both sides, I understand the importance of that. Tennessee and Auburn hardly ever play anymore because of the schedule. There's no perfect answer to please everybody. We did what was best for our league. We all have a hidden agenda, whatever university we represent. Past that, what's best for the SEC? That's the decision that was made so I support it."
Injury updates?"Matt (Jones) is on target (for May 1 clearance). Our guys are in exams right now so I haven't had any contact with them much other than just saying hello. Matt Rolin is on track, Alex Anzalone is on track. Andre Debose was non-contact in spring but is ahead of schedule with where he is. We're in pretty good shape."
Why did you want to hire Roper and what has his impact been so far?"As you start to research, I looked at our 2012 season and the first two games of 2013 with Jeff Driskel as our quarterback to see what he felt most comfortable doing. That was being in the shotgun. You look at our yards per play in the run and pass game from being in the gun compared to being under center, yards per play were much better from the gun. Our explosive plays were much better from the gun. That's his comfort level and what we need to do moving forward. I took 10-12 teams that I thought did a good job coaching and watched those guys, studied the tape and talked to people. The thing about Kurt, he's a great developer at the quarterback position. Eli Manning has had a tremendous career, and Kurt coached him and called the plays at Ole Miss. He's been working under David Cutcliffe for a long time, and I've got great respect for coach Cutcliffe and the job he does. (Roper) is a very positive guy, a very good teacher and he teaches fast on the grass. He's very demanding but fair with players. He's a positive influence on our football team. He did a great job this spring, he's a simplistic teacher in getting his message across to the players. He did an outstanding job."
LSU has been outspoken about not liking the permanent game against Florida, what are your thoughts on that?"I'm not sitting here trying to tell you it's fair, but it's what the league decided. I've been in this league a long time as a player, assistant coach and head coach. You can kind of see that there's not going to be some change and there's a lot of resistance for the change. I've said my peace and you move on. I embrace the LSU rivalry at the University of Florida and whatever other west opponent they want us to have every year."
Exit interviews over and anyone else to transfer?"Yeah, we completed all that about a week ago. Marqui Hawkins and I had a good talk. He's a great young man and doing a great job academically. He wanted an opportunity to play wide out and didn't know if that would be the case here at Florida. He decided to transfer. Other than that, nobody."
Do you have conversations with Jeremy Foley about the future of your non-conference games since you have the Georgia game taking a home game every other year?"We do. The Georgia game is a great game for us in Jacksonville. This year, we've got seven home games. The games in Tallahassee and Jacksonville, we've got nine games in the state of Florida. It's great for our fans as far as travel is concerned. Most of our games are regional anyways. We're play East Carolina next year. Michigan comes on the schedule in 2017. We'll continue to look at what's best for the University of Florida. Miami has been a great rivalry of ours and we played them this past year. We'll continue to move forward now that we can. We couldn't do a whole lot until we finished the schedule with the SEC, so we haven't had a lot of talks moving forward other than to schedule the non-conference games."