Q: Can you talk about the coaching staff's confidence in Marques Simmons?
We are confident. We have no choice right now, as he moves to #2. I think all of saw in the Spring game that he has ability and potential. Probably the biggest thing is that he is a fourth year student, so he has been around the game for quite some time. He has worked hard and has had a chance to be involved in our offense, especially in the spring. We are anxious to get him going and see what he has. He flashed in the spring and now the big thing is to keep pushing him forward
Q: Is David Walker close to playing?
He is getting closer. I am not sure that he is ready to play this week. Obviously if he was ready to go on Saturday, we would have had him in the ball game. But he practiced in group work last week, but he did not do any full team. There is a chance that he might be able to help us this week, and that would be good, but I can't say yet whether or not that will be the case until we see him on the field.
Q: What are your expectations with Jermelle Lewis this week?
I think any of our guys that have played, and we don't have a lot of them on offense, we need for them to come up big for us. Not only this week, but also the entire season. Jermelle is a guy that is totally capable. But that being said, we need to get him more help. He didn't have a lot of room (to run) on Saturday. Iowa State did a great job of making it tough for us to run the football. Once we can get him started, his experience will help us. We would like to get him involved, but we will have to help him out a little bit.
Q: How rough is it on a player like Albert to miss two seasons due to injury?
It's hard. There is not other way to put it; very disappointing. I read in the paper that Charles Rogers from the Lions is out for two years; Jonathon and Brian have been down the same road for us, where two of their four years here have seen their seasons ended. One of the hardest things we have to deal with, as coaches and players, are injuries. People might not realize how difficult it is. They take for granted that players have surgery and come back in a year, because we talk about it so commonly. They days after an ACL repair are tough.
It's a tough week, just sitting around campus, the way you feel. It is a tough ordeal, and for a guy to have two significant injuries…because every guy on our team has dreams and aspirations, certainly. They don't sit around and dream about being injured or having an operation. All that being said, if you are going to play, you realize that is a risk, and if you can't deal with that, it's probably time to get out. Just like if you can't deal with unwanted results as a coach, you need to get out, because you are going to have those.
Q: What have you seen with regards to your problems with special teams?
Any time you have injuries to your core group, it does not help. We have been in this type of situation before. 2001 jumps out. For whatever reason, you just don't have the toughness you need. There are only a few ways to change it; you improve, you make some changes and we are looking at both avenues right now.
Q: Can you talk about Scott Chandler and what he has been showing you
Scott continues to improve. He really didn't distinguish himself in the spring, and he is one of the positive stories. He came in in August and looked like a different football player. He was recommitted. We have fooled around with him now as a tight end and I think he has found a home and continues to show improvement. He is working hard and doing some good things for us.
Q: Are you concerned at all with the heat you will face this Saturday?
I know the sun still goes down in the evening. As long as the sun is not out. I know that the Cardinals have had a lot of their big wins during the afternoon heat. When I was in Cleveland, we practiced down there against the Cardinals for three straight days, and then played an exhibition game against them at night and it was like 95 degrees, and our guys held up pretty well against them.
I think we have probably had two or three of our warmest days in practice in the last week and the last two Saturdays. You factor out the humidity and the sunlight…I guess the heat is a factor, but it's not going to be an excuse if we don't perform.
Q: Are you worried about Tate cramping up now two weeks in a row?
We are going to keep a close eye on him. I think he was doing some science experiments this past weekend to compensate for what happened the week before. I think he might have said after the game that he left a lot of it in the locker room at halftime, so we are going to keep an eye on him. We will not let him call audibles in terms of hydration procedures.