Question: Who is doing your long snapping?
Coach Rodriguez: "Tommy Pomarico is first right now and we've got a freshman who is second, and they are battling it out. Tom has done a nice job. He's the backup last year and he's gotten even bigger, stronger and faster. He's been really solid. Zoltan (Mesko) is holding."
Question: You've talked about Troy Woolfolk; how about the other safety position; how is it looking there?
Coach Rodriguez: "Yeah, Michael Williams is playing pretty well. He's still working on some fundamental things. Troy, I think that has been a great move. I think he'll have a really good year for us. We have the other freshman Vladimir Emilien who is getting a lot of reps; Jared Van Slyke is getting a lot of reps. So that other safety position is wide open. I think Troy has solidified himself as a starter right now."
Question: The few updates we've gotten on MGOBLUE.com from the practices; they've listed some big plays from guys; are there more big plays year than other years or is that pretty normal?
Coach Rodriguez: "I think there has been. I think there has been a few more explosive plays offensively. I think part of it is due to the guys executing a little bit better, but I think part of it is due to some of the skill sets of the guys that are doing it. We've gotten it out of some of the young quarterbacks, Denard (Robinson) and Tate (Forcier), but even Nick (Sheridan). Nick has improved his play and some of the new guys, some of the new freshman have come on. Kelvin Grady has made a lot of big plays. I don't want to say a pleasant surprise, because we thought when he came over that he would have a chance, but Kelvin has done well in camp and has shown us that he is going to be able to contribute this year."
Question: What do you need from your quarterback? Are you expecting whoever that is to be a difference maker or just kind of…?
Coach Rodriguez: "First thing is that they've got to execute the system. Again that is a lot in and of itself. A guy that can execute the system, take the big play when it's there, but not make the big mistake. That's what every coach wants out of any quarterback. Those top three guys have taken reps between the first and second group and the battle goes on."
Question: You had Pat White and even before that Rasheed Marshall where they were play makers, do you expect that out the freshman?
Coach Rodriguez: "What Pat and Rasheed and before them Woody Dantzler, Shaun King is, when those big play opportunities where there, they took advantage of it. That's the part as coaches, boy if it all matches up right and you got the right call against the right defense, you get the big play. Those guys did that, but like I said the young freshman, even Nick, I've seen it even more taking advantage of those opportunities in a week and a half than I did all last year."
Question: Is the defense progressed to where you want it to be?
Coach Rodriguez: "I think so. Greg (Robinson) and I have not sat down and talked in length about where we are at scheme wise and all that, but I like what we're doing. I like some of the things that Greg is teaching and our defensive staff is teaching. Sometimes I get upset at the defense, as a head coach you get bothered when you give up big plays, but sometimes just a matter of the offensive guy just really executing and doing pretty well. I think we're on track, but we got a little ways to go. In fact, we've got a long way to go in a lot of respects."
Question: I know you said that on Tuesday that you hadn't talked to Greg about how much defense has been installed; have you had that conversation with Greg?
Coach Rodriguez: "No. I've looked at it, but I'm not concerned with it until this weekend. When we scrimmage, after this weekend, we'll start getting into our game plan stuff next week and throw out what we can't do and keep what we can do."
Question: Obviously you are focusing a lot on offense, is anybody in that front seven maybe surprised you?
Coach Rodriguez: "On defense?"
Coach Rodriguez: "Naw, they all doing okay. I don't think it is anything spectacular. Typical, we've had 12 practices and I wish we had 25 more, but we don't. We have 17 more before the first game."
Question: Tay Odoms is in the red jersey. Is he out?
Coach Rodriguez: "Looks like it (laughter)."
Question: Injured then and what is the injury?
Coach Rodriguez: "He'll be back tomorrow. He's got a headache."
Question: When you talk about the big plays and talk about the defense and you're still figuring that out. How do you weigh whether it is a guy making a play necessary versus the defense not tackling?
Coach Rodriguez: "We see what the coverage was, what his assignment was and did he get out-run or did he make a missed assignment. There is sometimes a combination of both. I think we've tackled pretty well, but we've haven't done a lot of live scrimmage yet. We did a little bit. We do a little bit of live at the end of every practice in full pads. We are getting our tackling in. We got a lot of work to do, so I'm talking fast to you."
Question: You had a controlled scrimmage yesterday?
Coach Rodriguez: "Yeah we scrimmage a little bit every day, something live every day. Again, I like to go half hour, 45 minutes, but I don't want to beat ourselves up. We are going to go four or five periods live every day, usually in controlled situation. I think we need to do that to improve our fundamentals."
Question: It is a little threatening today (weather), do you like getting a bad weather practice in, one or two?
Coach Rodriguez: "Heck no. I want it to be 90 degrees and sunny, scorch them and test them a little. We are going to play some games in this. The other day we had a practice that started and it was raining; it was good to get some wet ball work. We got this beautiful facility, and if the lightening comes, we'll run inside, but I think we're past it."
Question: Coach how would you describe the dynamic between Kelvin and Kevin Grady; would you say that Kevin is kind of mentoring him or…?
Coach Rodriguez: "I don't know. They play different positions. They're brothers so I know they are going to communicate. I think Kevin has really helped Kelvin make the adjustment somewhat into a different sport and some things we do differently as opposed to a basketball player. Kelvin has bought in very, very quickly and he's a very coachable guy. He's learned very quickly. The last couple of years playing basketball for John (Beilein), I think have been beneficial. I have great respect for John Beilein as a teacher and when somebody becomes a willing student, you can tell. So he's been coached, he hasn't been coached in this sport in college, but he's adapted very, very quickly. I think Kevin has helped from an adjustment, okay you're a football player and this is how we do things in this system. It has worked out pretty good. Kevin is having a good camp as well."
Question: How are the outside receivers progressing and who is impressing you there?
Coach Rodriguez: "They're progressing okay. I don't know if we are ready yet to where we want to be. Junior Hemingway, Greg (Mathews) a couple of our veterans have been nicked up, but they practiced this morning. They are two guys that have to lead the way for us. If those guys continue to progress and we get some of those young guys coming along, we'll be okay out there. We have a little more experience obviously than we did this time last year."
Question: In terms of defensive line depth; any conversation about moving (John) Ferrara back?
Coach Rodriguez: "We had some early. We still have talked about that. John will do whatever we want to kind of get in the mix right now. We feel good about our rotation, but we're a couple of injuries away defensively to really being in a shaky situation. John I think would do that, but right now we don't have to."
Question: Does Martavious Odoms have a concussion?
Coach Rodriguez: "I don't know if it is a full blown concussion, but the guy has a headache and he has some symptoms of it; we don't take any chances."
Question: Did (Brandon) Minor make it back?
Coach Rodriguez: "I think he's out in white. Let's see, #4 in white, yeah he's in white."
Question: How is Brendan Gibbons progressing?
Coach Rodriguez: "Yeah. He had a pretty good day yesterday. That kicking battle is another battle that will probably go up to game time."
Coach Rod Presser Transcript
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