Give your evaluations of the first day of work?
"There is a long way to go. The hardest thing is seeing things without pads. A lot of young guys got reps. And it was great for them to get reps, seeing things live for the first time, seeing the speed the game is played. We'll get better tomorrow."
Is (it difficult to evaluate players without pads) especially at your offensive line positions?
"Yeah, I told them the physical part of it is not going to be there today. What I was going to evaluate today is the fundamentals, hand placement, foot placement, assignment, effort, all of those type things."
How was junior college transfer Jocquell Johnson's first day?
"He was still limited. But he'll be fine. He's a new guy learning a new system. And he's learning the speed of the game. He's no different than a high school kid learning the speed of the game even though he's from junior college. The pace of practice, the pace that we do things, he's done a great job of that. He's lost 15 to 16 pounds since he's gotten here. He's a good kid who is very conscious about how he does things So, he's going to get better."
Is it the same with Rufus Warren who has moved from tight end to offensive line?
"The difference with Rufus is he's been here. He knows how we practice. He knows what this program is (about). It's just more of the technique and the verbiage that I use. That's the biggest things with him. But he did a good job today."
Are you excited about his athleticism for the offensive line position?
"Yeah, he's a great kid. He's been around here awhile. I told him it's time for him to step up and be a full contributor. And he's got to work at it. I told him that he has done a great job the last three weeks in the offseason, now we are going to see him in practice the next month or so."
In the past you moved guys around a lot at different positions.
"Yeah, we'll start (doing that) but today I wanted them to soak in different things. To me, there are only two starters, Blaine (Clausell) and Dillon (Day). For the other three, there are 15 other guys. They might be a tackle or a guard. They have to go and earn their spot."
How did it feel to be out there the first day?
"Absolutely terrific. I'm tired of being in the office. I don't coach sitting in the office. Out (on the field) is where you want to be."
You are now the official run coordinator. Talk about that.
"Yeah. I guess the title is what it is. Offensively, we are going to do what we do. We are going to put the guys at the best position as an offensive staff. We have done that for five years as an offensive staff."
It has been five years. But this will be the first year that you won't have Gabe Jackson.
"Don't make me cry, now (laugh). It's part of the game. I probably thought about it before practice. But once you get out there you don't think about it. The great thing is there are great guys like Kent Flowers, Jake Thomas and all those guys who, in my mind, are the next Gabe Jackson. Hopefully, four or five years from now, they are in the same position that Gabe is in."
Do you feel Jamaal Clayborne is the front runner at the left guard position?
"I'll tell you who the front runner is in about 15 practices. They have played about the same number of snaps. So, to me, who will be the front runner, we have all of practice and all the time leading up to the first game. You'll see who the front runner is when his face shows up on the jumbotron."
How is the chemistry working out with new quarterbacks coach Brian Johnson?
"Great. The thing with me, Coach Gonzales and Coach Mullen is we were with Brian when he was still a player. He knows exactly who we are. He's been terrific. ."
What is the value of a Ben Beckwith who came here as a walk-on and is now stepping up to be a great player?
"It's great to see. You hope every kid develops. He's done a great job and bought into the program. That's what we are about, the development of kids. He's bought into that and has had some success."
How is Justin Malone coming along?
"Good. I'm not a doctor but he ran around and did most of the practice today but we kept him out of the defensive stuff when it is hectic. We kept him and Jocquell out, basically, the last 15 minutes of practice (when the offense and defense go against each other)."