Q&A with Tee Martin

"I am really excited. I thought about football more on vacation this year than I ever have. I was just excited to get back. Like coach Phillips said, we have a lot of questions to be answered. We do have the challenge of hopefully answering those questions."

Question: How excited are you that you can finally start practice with your guys on Friday?

Martin: "I am really excited. I thought about football more on vacation this year than I ever have. I was just excited to get back. Like coach Phillips said, we have a lot of questions to be answered. We do have the challenge of hopefully answering those questions.

"We have talent. We just have to get those guys out there playing. Throughout the offense season from what I?have heard from (strength) coach (Rock) Oliver and his staff, we've had guys come in with the right attitude, right work ethic and they are talented. So that's why I?am excited to see what we can do with this recruiting class as well as some returning players we have. "In my group, I am excited to see what Matt Roark, Brian Adams, E.J. Fields can do. Gene McCaskill coming off his knee injury has looked really good from what I understand the last two weeks in his rehab. Hopefully we get him back full speed. LaRod King. All those guys. I am excited for training camp to begin."

Question: Are there special guys, especially with speed, in the freshman class?

Martin: "Yes there are. (Receivers) Demarc Robinson, Daryl Collins, both of the running backs, Josh Clemons and Marcus Caffey. Clemons ran 4.3 (seconds in the 40-yard dash) and Caffey 4.4. Tight end Alvin Dupree ran 4.5. There is talent and speed. We have good ones coming. (Safety) Glen Faulkner is coming. We are just excited about the skills they have. "Now there are questions. We have to see how they learn in training camp and how they respond. But we have a couple of games before we play Louisville and begin our SEC run and hopefully we can get those guys on the field and see how they react."

Question: Is Faulkner now cleared academically to start practice?

Martin: "Yes. He will be here. He is a DB. They list him as a safety, but I?have known him for a long time and he's really versatile.?He played quarterback, he's played cornerback, he's played receiver, he's played safety, he has kicked the ball. He is a football player and (defensive coordinator) coach (Rick)?Minter and coach (Steve) Brown will figure out what his skill set is and put him in the right position for our defense. It gives us some depth on defense. We talk about how many returning starters we have, but we have some talented guys to add to the mix and the older guys can help them get lined up and that kind of thing so we get the younger guys on the field."

Question: Since you have been in his shoes, how hard is it for quarterback Morgan Newton to take over a team that doesn't have a proven go-to running back or receiver?

Martin: "It is exciting for him. That is what happened with us (at Tennessee) when Peyton Manning and his class left. It was the same stuff. We had lost receivers, running backs, Peyton Manning. We were a young, unproven talented guys, but out of that group you had Jamal Lewis, Travis Henry and myself. Morgan has taken on that same challenge during the offseason.

"The last couple of years going into the season he didn't know if he would be the starter. It is hard to lead the team if you don't know you are the guy. You don't want to step on the toes of your guy. Now he knows he is the guy and is comfortable telling everybody when we are going to throw and meet on our own.?He's the guy and our team has had the opportunity to know who the quarterback is going to be and learn how to catch his balls and what his game is like. All quarterbacks think differently and have all kind of balls (they throw). They have had a whole offseason to prepare with Morgan, so we are excited about that.

"Again, I came in as a junior, too, but Morgan has had more playing time than I?had going into our national championship season. With that, it is the same system (we used at Tennessee) with Randy Sanders calling the plays. I feel comfortable with what we will be able to do with Morgan."

Question: Does it help that your freshmen receivers all played that position in high school and won't be converted quarterbacks/running backs?

Martin: "Even when we brought in guys like LaRod, Roark and Gene that were quarterbacks (in high school), they still played as freshmen. We had to develop them. Now we are bringing in five guys that played the position. They have to still learn the plays and play on a big level. They can be great high school players, but now they have to be great SEC players. I am not asking them to be great, but I?am asking them to line up right and do what we ask them to do. As long as we can do that, we will be okay. We have some talented upperclassmen, too. Brian Adams does not have a lot of experience, but he's an older guy. I?am just excited about the combination of talent and experience. They just have to be consistent and make some plays. But we do have some talent."

Question: Is Adams, a third-year sophomore who also plays baseball, ready for a breakout season because of his speed, size and athleticism?

Martin: "What was big for Brian was the Mississippi State game last year when he didn't know he was going to start until right before the game because Chris (Matthews) was suspended. He went out there and early in the game and had to be counted out. He had played special teams, but as a receiver learning that game speed and how you had to play is different. From then on his preparation and understanding that his time could come was different. "I feel a lot better about Brian.?Last year I?really didn't know what he was. He had not played a whole lot, but now he has played and knows he not only can play with these guys, but he can dominate when he's on top of his game. I want him to feel that way. He can dominate. I want him to believe that and go out and do it. He doesn't have the pressure of being the guy, though, because we have a group of guys that can play." Question: Have you talked to Chris Matthews since he signed his free agent contract? Martin: "I thought he would be drafted after tying for touchdowns (receiving) in this league last year and had Randall Cobb on his team.?I don't know any other guys in this league who were drafted high that also had a receiver like Randall Cobb on their team. I think he will do well. I think it is a good situation for him.?I think he will make it and he's excited about the opportunity. I?told him he just had to go out and earn it now because nothing would be given to him."


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