First Farm Days' Work Satisfies Mullen

“It’s great to be back out there. I think for our guys it’s a different mindset when you get out there, I mean that’s the real training camp mindset. This is their time of year to come together as a team and guys develop and focus on what training camp is really about. It’s different for everybody.”

”Whether it’s just working technique, it’s learning the whole system, it’s learning mental and physical toughness. All of those things are incorporated out there. And having such a different setting it’s so different than in a game week or anything else, that I think it’s easy to focus that way.”

With so many veterans who have been through the Farm before, how do you keep their intensity up? “Well they’re ready to go. They know what it means to be out there. And the attitude that our guys take, how you have to attack it out there. I mean you won’t find shade on that field at any point during the day today, there’s not one angle that the sun is going to be at that will provide any bit of shade on that field. So just that mental toughness that they learn out there, they know that’s how they have to fight through it and it’s going to make us stronger.”

Talk about how Geoff Collins spots the rangy, athletic guys and how it makes the defense flexible? “Well, it’s looking at intangibles those guys have. Some of those guys have great length, size; other guys have just dynamic speed out there on the field. But what is going to separate you and make you different, he’s done a really good job identifying those type of guys and then putting guys in position where their strengths are being highlighted.”

Have any freshmen caught your eye so far? “Yeah, they’re all working hard. Right now they’re all just trying to learn. But overall it’s a really good group. I tell our guys, you catch my eye for doing the wrong thing. Because I’m looking at everybody and I can see if you mess up. If everybody does their job I’m good. I guess in that way I don’t notice as many freshmen.”

”I think they’re fitting in and they’re trying to learn and grasp and adjust to the system. But as a group I think they’re pretty solid.”

How does having four scholarship quarterbacks change the reps? “It gives everybody a little more rest. They don’t get as worn-down during practice, so they’re going to be pretty fresh as they get through it. But I’ve had that before. We talk in meetings about who is getting what reps, not just at quarterback but every position.”

”But quarterback now is one that we pay attention to. When are guys getting reps with the ones, when are they getting reps with the twos, when are they getting reps with the threes, when are they getting reps with the fours? And I don’t mind moving the quarterbacks around that way to put them in those situations and see their leadership. If they have to go down a group do they step up, when they move up a group do they play to the level of that group. It’s a good testing to see where they’re at maturity wise.”

How is Damian Williams different this year from last year? “Well I think last year he was coming in just hey, I’m going to learn and I’m probably going to redshirt, I’m good to go. And all of a sudden he’s out there playing in critical moments of games at the end of the season. So I that has really just changed his attitude, knowing he’s a snap away. And knowing that in what we do developing quarterbacks he’s going to play no matter what. So he’s going to get himself ready so when he gets his opportunity to get out there on the field he is going to go shine.”

Dezmond Harris said this year the clock starts ticking, is that common with redshirts? “I think last year they come in, they have no idea what’s going on. One, they’ve been hyped-up in recruiting so much they think they’re going to win the Heisman Trophy as a freshman. Then all of a sudden it’s like the ‘crash’ and the psychological counseling of them. But I think a lot of them come in, they look around, and the ones that are mature grasp it fast. Say hey, this might not be my year.”

”But they start to feel and we want them to feel that desperation of hey, it’s right now, I can’t redshirt any more, there is no time. My clock is running and I need to get on the field and go play.”

How has Jocquell Johnson come back from the shoulder? “He’s doing great. Maybe he’s a little ahead than if he’d not come here in the spring; but not much because he never got a rep. He’s just trying to get caught up and all that stuff. But I like the way he looks, he’s just got a lot of learning to do.”

A lot is made of Dak Prescott trying to get better, what needs to be sculpted mentally to be that quarterback from your perspective? “For Dak? It’s all about decision-making. The processing of information. That’s something that you’re going to be constantly working on. I know he’s going to have good leadership skills, I know he’s going to play tough. He knows what we’re doing. But the processing of information, how fast. We want to give him a ‘sports car’ for the offense. How fast he can drive it is going to depend on his decision-making. I mean, are you going to let it go or is he still a little conservative back there? The more confidence he has, the more reps he takes, the better decisions he makes, the faster he is going to want to take us.”

What kind of car is he driving right now? “I don’t know, I’m pretty critical of everybody. Probably a pickup truck. No, he’s way ahead of where he’s ever been before with that deal. It’s just the crispness, being so crisp in everything you do. That’s what we want. My expectations are perfection, and I don’t know if you can ever hit perfection but if you strive for perfection it might become great. And if he can do that we’re going to be really happy.”

How has giving up special teams freed you up? “Well, it allows me to come talk to you guys and not be stressed right?! You guys are one of my time constraints and take away from that stuff! No, you know what, I’m still very involved in the special teams. But it really allows maybe to not be in a panic as much in everything.”

”And part of it is being comfortable with the delegation of other things. I’m a little bit of a control freak and becoming comfortable with delegating a lot of other responsibilities, to see I can still be very heavily involved but I don’t have to be the one doing it. So I think that’s really helped me out, and Greg (Knox) is doing a great job.”

How much of that rolls into John Hevesy and Billy Gonzales having the offensive coordinators jobs? “Basically it’s them taking care of a lot of the little details. All of the things that need to get done, there’s a lot of little things. You’re checking every script to make sure you’ve gotten every play run against all of the looks you need it run against. There’s a lot of little tedious things that go into that. It’s great that we’ve been together and those guys are very responsible to get that done.”

”And really it allows me, I’m trying to get in with the defense some…not that they need me over there, but to go celebrate and get some juice with the defense. I get to have some juice out there and have some fun too. But allow me to be the head coach and not like a specific locked into one position.”

How is Richie Brown’s progression? “Really good. Richie came in and redshirted his first year; last year knowing he was going to play but not sure how it all fit. Into this year knowing basically he’s a starter. As I view things a starter is a guy I’m going to feel great about being in the game and is going to play as many reps as anybody else, not the guy that plays the first play of the game. As I’ve told everybody, that gets a lot of confusion about who plays the first play of the game compared to who plays the most plays in the game.”

”I think he understands that role now, that basically he and B-Mac are co-starters. They’re both going to play a whole lot. So I think that’s a lot more comforting. Your preparation when you know what the result is going to be it’s easier for you to prepare.”


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