How are the ACL and other injured guys progressing?
Everything is going really smoothly. I guess I might as well say something right now, Marcus Paschal was injured in the bowl. We've been watching that real closely.
He's going to have (ACL) surgery on Friday. I was hoping the New Year was going to be kicking off a new year, but we'll count that as last year's.
I don't know where he'll be in September, but he should be ready for the Big Ten.
What's the latest on AJ Johnson and Walner?
I think I read somewhere (Johnson) hadn't enrolled in school and that's probably pretty accurate. Both of those guys have not enrolled in classes.
Have you guys made an position changes you're ready to announce?
It's on the board right now, a couple of things that we've discussed. We're just going through the process right now. The assistants were interviewing their players sometime during the last week when they were in. It starts there.
I'll visit with the guys (Thursday) afternoon. We're looking at a couple of things up on the board. Nothing is too dramatic. Once we get those nailed down I'll make those public if in fact we go through with them.
Does Paschal's situation affect that?
Not really. Probably the biggest question there is that Charles Godfrey is a guy that we projected playing some corner. He'll probably have to work this spring at safety with Miguel. So, we lose a little chance to experiment with him there.
Will everybody else be back besides (Johnson and Belleus)?
As far as I know. We're doing well. The guys that are injured all seem to be right on track or ahead of track. Academically it's probably about as good as a semester as we've had overall. Things went very well. I'm happy about that.
The freshmen really did a good job academically. That, by far, was the best any of our freshmen classes have done. That's a real positive.
You're rebuilding your defensive line. Mattison and Iwebema seem to be likely candidiates. Who else is in there?
Those two guys are have the most experience, by far. And then you're looking at a pool of Alex Willcox, George Eshareturi; Matt Kroul worked a lot with our twos this year. Both he and Seth Olsen redshirted yet got a lot of work in our scheme.
But for the whole group it's going to be a period of developmental work not only this spring but also next August we'll still be in that phase, I'm sure.
what about the running back situation?
There are some variables there with all the guys that had the surgeries. You never know how they're going to come back. A couple of the guys will be able to some things on a limited basis. But I really can't envision any of the guys that had ACLs going full speed (this spring).
We're not going to take that chance with any of the guys that have had surgeries. It just wouldn't make sense. I reserve the right to see where they're at medicially when we get closer, but based on experience that's probably the deal.
Our hopes are that all of those guys will be full speed physically June 1 when that program begins. Probably the only guy that is on the fringe there would be Champ (Davis). Champ had a pretty extensive repair. He may be behind the rest of the group.
Alex Willcox is another guy that had some shoulder surgery in early January. He'll be in that same group in spring ball where he'll be very limited in what he can do.
How many walk-ons to you anticipate taking?
We have a pretty healthy roster right now. And I don't see expanding this thing too far because even though we have lockers I want to make sure the guys that are in the program are going to have a quality experience.
You start hoarding people in here and to me it kind of diminishes the whole thing. Right here we have five or six that are firmly committed to coming here. After that, we're just going to keep evaluating and see how that goes.
What's normally the number?
Last year it was around 15. This year it will probably be a little less than that. We'll probably be a little more selective that way.
Some people looked at Alex Kanellis as an offensive lineman. Why do you guys like him on the D-line?
Alex could probably do a lot of things. We think he has a great chance to be a very good defensive lineman. That will be our starting point with him.
That's like Matt Kroul a year ago. I thought he'd be a center. I don't think we're ever going to see him on offense. I really enjoyed working with Matt. He's found a home.
That's a good problem to have with recruits. With Alex's athleticsm we think he can do a good job on the defensive line, not that he wouldn't be a good offensive lineman. I thought Aaron Kampman could have been an all-American center if we had another year to work with him.
Is it a little dicey taking so many offensive linemen in the same class?
I drive my staff a little crazy sometimes because I don't like getting nailed down on numbers. It's important that in the flow of recruiting we want to get the guys as we go through the process that look like the best guys available.