Today's practice had a lot of redzone work, going in and just keep working on defense and offense, scoring points and find ways to create turnovers, hold opponents to three points. That was the biggest emphasis today and worked on some third down stuff. We're trying to create field position. Some games you have third and long and and then you go fourth and one or two and you may go for it or you get an opponent to punt. It went well. We started off fast, slowed down in the middle, and ended fast. We gotta be more consistent. We have to stay focused and go through the process of getting better each time and finishing the whole practice. We have a long ways to go. It's why you have August football. There are a lot of things you can work in.
You have guys competing and learning, trying to get on the field to be a part of this team. The more you have those guys, the better you are. No one is staying the same. Yesterday LaRon Byrd was unbelievable. Travis didn't do anything. Today, Travis did some things. It goes back and forth on who's doing what. Defensively, you take certain guys out and the next guy has to step up. At running back and receiver, the more you do those things the better you get.
On Mike James:
Versatility. He's a tough running back, works hard, tough guy. He's a guy that no matter what happens, when his number is called, he's gonna execute it. He's a guy a lot of guys look up to because he works harder than most people. He continues to work hard.
On fullback helping him at tailback:
No. It's vice versa. When you play tailback, it helps you understand the run game to play fullback. Going from fullback to tailback is totally different.
On Orlando Franklin:
Orlando always plays good when he's under 313, 314 mode. When he's under that, he's unbelievable the way he can move and do all the things you want him to do. As for moving into the dorms, some guys wanna stay in the dorms. I trust when other guys wanna stay across the street. Some like to stay in the dorms during camp. It's a process we go through. Whatever we need to get guys focused, we do. Some stay off campus and we trust them. Everyone gets up in the morning and is on time. It's been great to see the maturity factor has kicked in a little more.
On whether he talked to Franklin about being a leader:
Not at all. We don't talk to them. Leaders are born. I cant make a leader. I cant say he's the captain. Those guys vote on it. They lead by what they do performance wise on the field, what they do in work ethics, and how they talk to each other. I see it in (Franklin) in his own little way.
On Storm Johnson:
He's competing right now. All those guys are competing. He's getting better, better than he was in January and we're excited about his progress. He's working on kick returns, working on all phases of special teams. That running back position is very competitive right now. They're all giving us a great opportunity to evaluate and see who's gonna be the guy. Damien Berry had a good day. Storm and Mike James had a good day yesterday. It bounces back and forth and that's what you need at running back. Even when the other guy may be the starter, you're gonna ride the guy who's hot and who's feeling the groove right now.
Versatility is a guy who can do a lot of things for you. Mike can play tailback, fullback, line up at receiver. Storm can do those things, Lamar can do it. You have to make sure you run the right routes every day. LaRon Byrd had a great day yesterday and didn't do much today. He didn't drop any passes but the balls weren't going to him. Go out and catch five one day and the next day you drop three, that's not consistent. If a guy does great one day then has three fumbles, that's not consistent. The negative things, you wanna be more positive. One running back didn't even get a carry the other day but his blitz coverage was excellent. We evaluate things like that and see how they're doing.
On Jamal Reid:
He's back in full speed. He went through everything today. He's feeling good, bouncing around. He's not lost. That's the great thing about it. He understands the system. We'll evaluate more after our scrimmage this week for how he's gonna go.
On his situation:
It wasn't a big deal. Those guys had 7on7 this offseason, watching film. The coverages they had the first week are the ones we're working on this week so when he comes back, he's just like anyone else.
On stressing academics:
To me, we go into homes all the time as coaches and we tell parents we're gonna make sure the kids graduate. Sometimes you have to sit a kid down and take away something he really wants to do. This is important. When Duane Starks came to me, Duane was 32 years old out of the NFL, having paid 5 million. He said he sat out and realized he didn't have a degree. He'd wake up and lift weights, had no job offers. Now as an assistant, when he came and asked if he could go back to school, we got him lined up and Dave Wyman told him how to graduate. 31, 28, 27 years old, those guys have the degree to move on in life and that's one thing I explained to him and he understands. We may have six or seven guys already graduated. That shows you how much we progress in that and do the right things.