Full Transcript: Coach Rod talks

Coach Rod after Monday's practice: #1 Jersey, Blue Helmets, which kickers are doing well, Darryl Stonum, which freshmen are doing well, the O-line, more.

Question: You talked a lot about conditioning and two a day and the heat; now that you are into that a little bit, have you seen more results from that?

Coach Rodriguez: "Yeah, I think we're getting there. I think probably every coach would tell you, you get in better shape after every practice. We had a couple of really warm days, yesterday was pretty warm in the afternoon practice. We had a practice last week that I think was over 100, the heat index and we need that. We check our guys body weight and see how much weight they're losing and make sure that they keep getting hydrated. So far they have been able to handle it pretty well. We've only had one two a day too."

Question: Have you seen ay encouragement out of the running back position as a group?

Coach Rodriguez: "Yeah. One guy stands out one day and then today it was somebody else. There is still not a clear-cut leader at that position. I think it is probably as wide open as any position. I hope that we get at least two to three guys that kind of emerge and as we get into this week and have a couple of two a days and have some physical practices, I think we'll find that."

Question: Would you say your offensive line is most settled in terms of not being wide open, whatever the opposite of wide open.

Coach Rodriguez: "I think we have more guys that have experience certainly but the level of play has to get better. Just because you have experience doesn't mean you are going to be better unless you got better over the offseason and during these practices. The key for us is that they play better. So far in camp, it has been solid but not nearly good enough yet."

Question: To that end, do guys like (Perry) Dorrestein and (Mark) Huyge played well enough to hold off the younger guys?

Coach Rodriguez: "I couldn't tell you right now the depth chart. I would hope it is not settled unless the guy is playing so well that he is the clear cut guy no matter what happens. That's not the case with any position just yet."

Question: Anything that has jumped out at you since you've gotten in the pads?

Coach Rodriguez: "I think from just a team standpoint, the attention to detail has been pretty good. Our guys are really eager to learn. I think they've done a great job of picking up some concepts. The special teams, I've been pleased with that so far with the work we've done there scheme wise and some of the new things we're doing special teams wise. So I've been really pleased with that. The execution has been okay at times offensively but not as good as I would like. We don't expect any bad snaps and any bad decisions, but you know that you're going to get them. I think the defense, particularly because we've got a lot of defensive package already in and installed. I've been pleased with their mental part with picking that up as well."

Question: Kevin Koger is named the John Mackey list. What do you expect from him this year? What role is he looking to play maybe more so than he has in the past?

Coach Rodriguez: "Well he's played quite a bit. I think we've used tight ends about 70% of the time. Those preseason lists…I put no stock into that. I guess that is fun for people to look at. Kevin is worthy of it. He's a very good player and he is in great shape. We expect a big year out of him and Martell Webb for sure. I always kind of chuckle that this guy in on a preseason list or a preseason list. That's probably based on what he has done in the past and maybe projection in the future. If it helps to motivate him to have a great year that's great, but I think Kevin is pretty motivated."

Question: Talk about Darryl Stonum and the progress has he made. Is he going to be able to do the returning and be a featured receiver?

Coach Rodriguez: "I think so. He's in really good shape. He's had an outstanding camp so far. He and Tay Odoms are probably going to be our top returners it looks like along with Terrence Robinson."

Question: Any freshman that are surprising you so far?

Coach Rodriguez: "There are a few on defense. The guys that we thought could probably help us early maybe some of those freshman safeties and maybe some of those freshman DBs, so far they have. For them, they've had a mixed week. They've had a lot classes, last week as well, so they've missed some meeting time. So I'm really anxious to see what they'll do in the next week and a half, when their classes are over and it is just football. I think their progress will really accelerate."

Question: A couple of guys who came on late in the season were (Roy) Roundtree and Patrick Omameh. This fall have they picked up where they left off?

Coach Rodriguez: "Yeah. They're doing well. They in great shape. We expect a lot out of Roy because he played so well at the end of last year. He can play a couple of positions receiver wise. He's been solid. Patrick Omameh is in great shape. It is the best I've seen him look and he and Steve Schilling give us a pretty good set of two guards with a lot of experience and they've gotten bigger as well. I'm pretty pleased with them so far."

Question: You talked a little bit last week about players out of shape having to earn the right to wear the Winged Helmet and then the Big Ten Network had the pictures of some players not having wings on their helmets; can you talk about what a player has to do to earn the wings on their helmet?

Coach Rodriguez: "That's a team thing. There is usually more involved than just is a guy out of shape or is he doing all the things. It is more has he earned the wings. Certainly, we want everybody that runs down that tunnel on September 4, is going to be wearing a Winged Helmet and in order to run that tunnel you have to appreciate the privilege you have to play here and I think all of them will. But if they don't then they won't wear the helmet."

Question: How many players would you say that you have right now that are not wearing the Winged Helmet?

Coach Rodriguez: "It's a team thing."

Question: Speaking of uniforms coach, are any of the receivers going to have the opportunity to wear the #1 jersey this year?

Coach Rodriguez: "We haven't discussed the #1 jersey in almost two years now. I think the last time that was brought up was the last time it was discussed. I guess it is…it is not retired, but I guess it is semi retired at the moment."

Question: How would your quarterback situation right now?

Coach Rodriguez: "Wide open, same as it was eight practices ago."

Question: What has been encouraging and what has been discouraging about it in general or otherwise?

Coach Rodriguez: "Everything (laughter). I can't be more specific than that. A few plays, boy they get it and a few plays, boy we got to play better. Some plays they look like they've played before and some look they look like it is their first snap ever."

Question: Could you ever see playing all three or is that just too loosey-goosey?

Coach Rodriguez: "I hope we have enough confidence to play all three, I'll you that. Can I see that, not right now, because all three are not playing to the level that I want but all three I think will get there before we play UCONN or at least I hope they can."

Question: Is there a point where you have to start tapering down or is that just game week?

Coach Rodriguez: "Really it is about a week and a couple of days, about eight or nine days before the UCONN game that we'll really start to hone in on who is going to get the majority of the reps, the first, second and their might be another guy that is with the second group. The majority of the guys that we think could possibly be on the travel squad that will be playing in that game, about eight or nine games before we play UCONN will probably hone in on that. Again, it could be very much a situation where it changes daily. We've tried to create that competition and to that end, I think we've got…I don't know if having more questions is necessarily a problem as long as those questions are guys that we think can play."

Question: How have your kicker and punter being faring so far?

Coach Rodriguez: "Today, I thought was a good day. Will Hagerup has been…he's been really good in practice and today our kickers did a nice job. I was a little concerned, there were moments that we did not kick the ball as well, particularly in field goals, but today they did a nice job and kicked some field goals today."

Question: Could you split the kick off guy and the placekicker?

Coach Rodriguez: "It could. Again, I don't have preference that one guy has to do it. It is just whoever is the best and depending on what kind of kick we want on the kickoff."

Question: Could that be Will as well?

Coach Rodriguez: "Yeah he's tried some kickoffs. I don't know right now if he is in the mix with them, but we are going to have quite a bit of kick off work this week."

Question: Which of the kickers has stood out so far?

Coach Rodriguez: "They've all been kind of equal. We have three in camp, (Brendon) Gibbons and Justin Meram, who is also a soccer player and Seth Broekhuizen. So they are all getting about an equal number of reps. They are all about the same right now."


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