Introduction: Everybody's going to ask what style will we use. We're going to stick with the same base plays, the same things we do. How we feature the players will depend on how fall camp goes and the injury situation as the year progresses.
We're excited about (and) feel very confident about it. We have a great group of guys who have worked hard. The great thing is that a lot of these guys have been in the system for three years, so a lot of the little things in your offense they truly understand. The new guys coming in now have some older guys to learn the example from.
It's one thing to say it and watch it on film. But when you watch another guy…practice and do it for the third year in a row, and he's doing the little things that make a difference, these are tip these (younger) guys learn.
Q: How has Matt Mauck changed from his first playing time against Florida to where he stands now?
A: The acceptance of it. I think he feels comfortable knowing he's going to be the guy in that situation. His age and maturity have a lot to do with that. When you play pro baseball…that may be the hardest thing to do that there is, traveling around on buses, the schedule, what you do here and there. You deal with a lot of things, a lot of people.
His age and maturity have helped him, and I think he's come to grips with that he's going to be the man and (he) acts like it. He's treating our players like it. He's doing the things on and off the field to do that.
Q: What have you had to work on the most with Mauck compared to Rohan Davey?
A: I don't know if it's anything different. What he has to do is find his identity – on other words find what he can do and do it well all the time. Find the consistency in his performance.
Like I tell our guys, if you do something good do it every day. If you do something bad, do it bad every day. We want to try and get better every day, but I'll know not to do that (the bad play) so we can do what you can do well. That's the secret.
If I guy can't dunk a basketball, don't tell a 5-8 guy to dunk a basketball. He can't do it, don't throw him an alley-oop. But if a 6-5 guy can dunk it, throw him an alley-oop and let him dunk it. Find some consistency in his performance on a day-in, day-out basis.
Q: How will your offense be different this season?
A: I don't know if we'll truly be different. One thing we may be able to have is more vertical speed down the field than we've had in the past. We've got some guys - Michael Clayton, Shyrone (Carey), Jerel (Myers), Devery (Henderson) – who can get down the field. We may be able to utilize some of our speed guys.
Josh (Reed) was a better change-of-direction, double-cut guy. Reggie (Robinson) is big. Maybe he doesn't have blazing speed, but he's big and can jump over you.
Maybe using the quarterback's legs a little more. He's got good legs, maybe he can put pressure on the edge. When he runs out of there (the pocket), he can hurt you.
I hate to make that prediction because, until the fall camp comes and we find our depth.
Q: How will the loss of two players affect the overall offensive line?
A: Losing Brad and Kade…is a loss but we've got some great young players. They're just going to have to step up. They have ability and that's a good thing. You're not talking about guys who can't do it - just how quick they get going.
…When you move Rodney (Reed), you lose something there. But whoever that left tackle is, you've got Stephen Peterman beside him who's very intelligent…has a year under his belt. He'll be able to help him.
The other side you'll have Rob (Sale) and Rodney, who have played beside each other off and on. You still have Ben (Wilkerson) in the middle. So whoever that fifth guy is, when he comes into that spot, it's a good thing to have experience around him so people can help him when he gets confused.
Q: What was the moment that you realized Mauck was player who could be a starter?
A: Until he goes out and does it on a consistent basis, you still have that worry.
…The guy handles pressure extremely well. He came in the (SEC Championship) game…in the first half and led us down to a score. He comes off (the field) and I'm thinking this guy's going to be talking 7,000 miles an hour. Usually you can't understand the first 40 words they tell you.
He comes on (the headset) and says they're doing this , I think we can do this . Hopefully, that wasn't just a one-time thing.
Q: Can you discuss the tight end situation?
A: I like our tight ends. If Eric Edwards can keep his ratio up, we'll be great (7 catches, 4 TD)…
You lose Robert Royal and Joe (Domingeaux), and those are huge losses. But Eric's played and made big plays in big games. And you have two very talented guys behind him. Demetri Robinson had a very solid spring, and David Jones is very talented.
They all have good receiving skills. They all run well and can get vertical.
We're going to try to do a lot of the same things with them. Eric knows the system very well so we'll just go from there.
Q: Can a receiver on this team have a year similar to Josh Reed's last season or do you expect the catches to be more spread out?
A: Hopefully it will be spread out because that makes it a lot tougher to defend, when all the guys will get the ball. Josh made so many big plays, but…Michael getting 47 balls, Jerel getting 39, Robert getting (18), I think that was key. Because if they weren't getting those balls, Josh would have been double and triple teamed so much that he might not have gotten the numbers he had.
Of course we want the ball to be spread out, but somebody will emerge. There's always kind of a go-to guy in every offense. You just want to wait and see who that turns out to be.
Q: What is your assessment of Michael Harrison?
A: In the two days we've had here, you can tell he's been exposed to a lot of football, understands things. We may say "tomahto" and he says "tomayto", but the concept of what we're saying, he understands and learns well. He's picked up very well in our system. For being here a limited amount of time, he has a grasp of what's going on.