On Arkansas State:
This is a three time conference champion. Their special teams are excellent with three blocked kicks. They’ll make you work. On offense, everything starts with the quarterback for them. We’ll have to be disciplined in the read option game. He does a nice job throwing it. That is what makes him difficult. They have a good running back and their receiver is catching a ton of balls. They want to go high tempo. On defense, they’re top 20. Three in turnovers, six in sacks. Their safeties are veterans, active, good tacklers. 48 has a body like Denzel. He’s strong inside and fast enough to run on the perimeter. Up front 77 is very strong. It’s a good, active defense with eight returning starters. It’ll be a great challenge for us. They went into Knoxville and gave them all they could handle.
On ASU’s staff:
They have a great coach. I watched him up close the last few years at North Carolina. They go up tempo. You can’t be sloppy.
On Ryan Williams factoring in:
Ryan is doing well. He’s getting into shape. That’s a separate deal right now. When that time comes, we’ll deal with that competition. Right now it’s Brad and Jake. Until then, we’re talking about something that isn’t part of the equation right now.
On Kevin Olsen’s status:
He got some reps today. Kevin had a really good summer, a good preseason. The suspension, just because it happened, doesn’t reflect the growth he’s had. He’s had a lot over the last four months. He’s made a lot of progress. He’s third in this game so he’s gotta be ready.
On redshirting Malik Rosier:
I’d like to redshirt Rosier if we can. He’s one heck of an athlete with a big arm. He took advantage of the reps he got during training camp and there’s no doubt he’ll be a really good player.
On who else may redshirt:
It’s too early. It’s such a long season.
On Stacy Coley:
We’re dealing with a shoulder. We’ll have a better idea by tomorrow. We held him out today, just getting him treatment and taking care of him.
On the lack of interceptions:
If we had a bunch of drops, I’d be worried. I’d like to have some interceptions. We haven’t dropped any. There are some we need to make a better play on the ball for sure.
On the O-Line rotation:
Right now they’re splitting. Taylor and McDermott are splitting and Gall and Isidora are splitting. It’ll resolve itself. We’ll see who the starters are come Thursday. We felt Shane, Ereck, and Jon had a good practice today. We have a good group and they’re getting a lot of reps.
On areas he’d like to see Brad Kaaya improve in:
There are a lot of different areas. For me to go into detail would be like giving a gameplan away. There are certain things we need to see him do a better job of. His poise is really good and his line of scrimmage demeanor is very good. We snapped the ball three times on them last week, maybe four times to get someone offside, and only one time we got somebody offside. I think that was the one we completed to Herb [Waters]. The other ones weren’t very good - one resulted in a holding pattern we didn’t get the call, one resulted in an incomplete, one resulted in an interception that got him off track. We all have to do a better job. We have to protect better, we have to catch the ball better…but there are certain things in terms of his mechanics, trusting his feet, and his progression. That’s probably our biggest focus. To me it’s trusting his feet. His feet say time, it’s time get rid of it, that means we have to go from either second to third or third to fourth progression. A couple of times the other night, it was the first time we saw it, he started to scramble laterally rather than trust his feet and get it to his outlet, whether it was his tight end or his back.
On Chad Thomas:
The thing about Chad is he’s smart. Everyone knows about his athletic ability, can run. He knows how to play defense. When we move him, he’s in the right gap. When we play base technique, he doesn’t jump around like some young guys do. Play the defense, execute the defense, and he then makes plays doing it.
On Thurston Armbrister being so lightly recruited:
He was a 6-3 kid playing safety and we thought he could grow to 235 plus. Hes into the 40s now. He’s strong, can hold the point of attack. He’s playing harder, longer. He’s playing with good burst and energy and is making plays because of it. I don’t know if he would have made that play a year ago. There’s no question, we like speed and length and that was a necessity in terms of getting those kinds of bodies in here.
On young players who impressed against FAMU:
Stan Dobard is doing a good job. Braxton, Yearby. I thought Kc and Gall did a nice job. Herb continues doing a nice job. We need him pushing Phillip and Malcolm. Jamal Carter played better. He’ll play even more. Grace played well and deserves more playing time. Someone mentioned Chad earlier. I just went around the world. Guys like Grace really prepared hard for that game.
On two freshman receivers starting:
I didn’t even realize Tyre was out there for the opener. I guess the good news from my standpoint is that we trust him. I’m not saying why is he out there. I knew Brax was out there. They all play. They’re all doing better. Tyre had a good two days. Brax and Malcolm and Phillip are doing a really nice job.