Head Coach Al Golden
How much are you going to enjoy the process of making tough decisions regarding the football team?
“It was tough yesterday. It took the coaches a lot longer than it ever has. Because, obviously, it was Ereck [Flowers], it was Jon [Feliciano], it was Shane [McDermott]. They weren’t coming in behind them like you want. You just want to keep rolling them in and make it tight and we’re starting to get that, and we’re healthy on top of that. The other is that our walk-on program, over the last two years, has improved so much during that period. Again, those guys from 80 to 105…we’re getting better and better there, and that’s helping us a ton too.”
Are the walk-ons no longer just bodies anymore?
“No, you’re right. It used to be if they got in on their own, they could come out for football, and now we’re getting help and it’s made such a difference on our practice field – just to have a roster of 114 consistently. Right now, we have 125 guys for 114 spots on the team. Again, it’s a lot different. So, there’s two things going on. The walk-on program is much better than it was and our scholarship count has increased, and the number of guys that leave has dramatically declined now. So, all that is coming to fruition now on our team which is nice.”
Are you seeing enough lot of downfield threats in the [wide receiver] group to make up for the loss of Phillip Dorsett?
“Herb [Waters] is fast, Stacy [Coley] is fast. We have enough speed there, for sure. Rashawn Scott coming back has helped us, Brax[ton Berrios] is one of the fastest guys on the team. So, the biggest thing with Brax right now is his lean body mass. He’s not as bulked up as he was coming off of the ACL, so he’s faster. I think from that standpoint, we have enough long speed. We’re going to have a good competition there and see where it goes.”
Brad [Kaaya] and Malik [Rosier] obviously know their roles, but how do they push each other to be better?
“Well, they do because Malik’s got the skills. He’s got the requisite skills. He’s got a big arm, he can move, and there’s a lot of things that Malik can bring to the table that maybe complement Brad in a lot of different ways, and vice-versa. So, I think that they feed off of each other, they help each other, and that’s a healthy competition there. Malik’s not backing down [from] anybody and Malik’s getting better. He’s just got to continue to work on his command presence, on his leadership, on his body language, and just have a real command of the offense.”
Offensive Coordinator James Coley
What did you learn about your offense during the scrimmage?
“I thought that there were guys that are who they are. I thought that Brad [Kaaya] was who he is. He was very poised. He was extremely accurate. I thought that Braxton [Berrios] made a bunch of plays. I thought that once the offensive line settled, they started to show their potential. They’re going against a good defense front. So, early, it’s always an initial shock when you first come out to practice. But as the day goes on, they get adjusted a little bit and it’s a maturing process for them. I like the way they’re maturing to be honest with you.”
Are all four backs getting reps and doing well?
“I thought that our backs looked good. I didn’t think that they missed any runs. I thought that they hit the hole and made the plays they should have made.”
How much have you evolved in what you think some of the fun stuff you can do with this offense in the last couple of weeks?
“It’s a complete turn. Brad [Kaaya] allows that. It starts with Brad, and then it starts with a very smart center in Nick Linder. It starts with experienced backs in Joe [Yearby] and Gus [Edwards] and it starts with a receiver group that’s really one of the smartest receiver groups that I’ve been around.”