Q: How anxious are you and your coaches to get started? Is this week all about anticipation?
Head Coach Turner Gill: There is great anticipation. Just excited for an opportunity to get a chance to see where our football team is at at this point in time. Again, you can only coach so much when you're going against each other. You can learn a lot but you can't learn gory detail until you actually go and play a football game. So our whole staff and any of our players, they're ready to go play a football game.
Q: What have you seen from sophomore Toben Opurum since he has switched to linebacker?
HCTG: I've seen that he's been aggressive, I've seen that he is a physical player in that position, too. Again, there still are some things that over probably the next 2-3 weeks, getting fine tuned on getting lined up at all the different looks he's going to have to see. But he did come across on the field when we switched him over, we just wanted to know will he be physical, and would he be able to make some things happen, and he's already shown that. So, he will help our football team definitely at the linebacker spot.
Q: At quarterback, have you had someone clearly set himself apart?
HCTG: Kale Pick has set himself apart. He's a guy who really took care of the football. He's also a guy who was able to some things with his legs and with his arm. Then I love really the intangibles, his body language and how he ran the football team and all those things of that nature. Overall as you look at the whole thing, he's going to be our starter. But it was a great competition and Jordan Webb is not far behind. We really believe that we have two very good football players at the quarterback position.
Q: You play an FCS opponent (North Dakota State) in week one. Is there some concern your team might be looking ahead to Georgia Tech in week two?
HCTG: Obviously we have to know the opponent, what they line up and what they do. So my whole thing is we talk about we're not concerned about the name of the opponent. We're more concerned about where they line up and what they do offensively, defensively and special teams.
And then we've gotta be concerned with how we play. That is, we want to get better as a football team, week after week after week, and go from there. Obviously this is our first football game from the standpoint of a coaching staff – and all those things – and players. So it really doesn't matter who the opponent is from our standpoint we're all here trying to get things going and going in the right way.
Q: Would you have preferred to have a starting quarterback named coming out of spring, or heading into fall camp? Can you talk about the timing of naming a starter?
HCTG: I think if we all had our first choice, you'd like to have someone that really stands out and you're able to name a guy. I didn't have a set timetable. I did want to have something done if it was a clearcut thing. It became pretty clear to myself and Chuck Long as we sat down almost every day talking about it, it finally came to us over the period of time as we evaluated things that Kale Pick was the guy who won the position. So therefore, once we felt comfortable it was earned and it was deserved, then we needed to do that. If it would have come up to the week of the game, then we would have done that too. I thin each coach, each team, you have to do what you believe is best for your program, and you only know that as you go through that program day after day and year after year. We thought this was the best situation for us and we're excited about it, and we think our players have responded in the right way.
And both of our quarterbacks have responded in the right way. They're both very competitve, they both have very good talent. So we feel good about we have two good quarterbacks. Chuck and I believe in trying to have one guy as being the guy, but if we feel it's necessary to play a guy we will. But at this time we're right now set on playing Kale Pick.
Q: Do you, as coaches, have a firm two-deep in mind across the board at this point?
HCTG: I think in some positions, yes. There are some other positions with probably some guys still competitive at that position and we'll rotate guys in. I think the defensive end position opposite side of Laptad, there's definitely some good competition going on there. We've got two or three guys there in Tyrone Sellers, Quintin Woods and Kevin Young, there's definitely some battles going on there with some of those guys who is going to end up winning that position.
You go into the secondary a little bit, I think at the corner position Harris is pretty stable. We've also got Isiah Barfield Calvin Rubles are competitive as far as being our corner at the other side. So there are positions throughout the football team that we're still being competitive from that standpoint. Running back is one, too, where we're still just trying to decide on who those guys are that are going to get the majority of the playing time.