Tuesday Training Camp Press Conference

“It was good, the first scrimmage we had a lot to work on, a lot to learn, a lot of guys getting reps out there on the field. And a hot day of practice today, which is good. We’ve been pretty fortunate, had some cloud cover days; I like it when it gets really hot out there, forcing guys to have to compete. Forcing guys to have to work.”

”But this time of year everybody is starting to get banged up in training camp so you’ve got to fight through.”

”(The) Injury front, Cedric Jiles is going to be out with a hamstring injury probably for a significant amount of time to start out the season. But everybody else is battling through all the bumps and bruises.”

You have a week before school, how important are these days? “Well this is the most important week for us right now. Installation is in, there is no school going on, it’s just football. We have two practices -today, we have two practices on Thursday. So when you have those double days and can really get after it with extended walk-throughs throughout the day too, you just get full days of football.”

”It’s huge developmental time and preparation time. Once school starts in, you look at a couple of practices next week, then you’re into game week and the season is rolling. So really training camp ends on Saturday night for us. At that point you’re rolling into that next phase of things. So this week is the most important week.”

How has the team handled conditions? “Pretty good. I thought we really battled today pretty good. It got hot there at the end but that’s what I like. This afternoon hopefully the sun stays out and it will be a really hot one. And just put guys in adverse conditions and see how they handle them, like they’re going to have to during the course of the season. These type of days, even the practice schedule is designed to see how you’re going to handle a little bit of adversity and those things.”

”I mean we’ve got a veteran group, they’re trying to help the young guys learn, too. But the older guys know how to handle themselves and how to hydrate. I haven’t seen much cramping and all that issues, and I think a lot of that is a maturity deal for the guys. That they’re taking care of their bodies the right way and not looking at it like ‘why would I drink that, I’m not thirsty right now?’ That has nothing to do with it. But our strength staff did a great job, our training staff is doing a great job keeping guys going in the right direction.”

Has the new nutritionist helped the process? “Yeah, I think she’s just breaking-in right now. But it’s going to help just making sure we have the right food out there for us. And the right everything, whether it’s snacks coming off the practice field, how they’re replenishing their bodies to get right moving on to the next practice or the next game.”

Do you feel you can push a veteran team more? “Yeah, you can push them harder. You can push them lighter. You can do a lot more. I told them great teams’ leadership comes from within, not from the top-down. So I put a lot of how we’re pushing, of letting the leaders on the team in on knowing what we’re doing and expecting them to really push the team from within instead of the coaches having to push it from the top down.”

Is there more urgency with older guys how important each practice is to not slip down the depth chart? “I think they know that. A lot of times guys are starting for staring jobs; no one is fighting for a starting job. Because I guess a starting job means we put your name on the jumbotron pre-game. They will be fighting for that because that’s kind of a cool deal!”

”But they’re fighting for reps. They know that a lot of guys are going to play, we play a lot of players. And there’s a lot of younger guys that are competing for reps. Every rep they take is one-less rep that an older guy gets. So they know however you play now is going to determine how much you play during the season.”

Have you seen improvement in accuracy from the field goal kickers? “Yeah, they did a good job today. We had a little field goal competition today at the end of practice. We did yesterday. And they’re getting better. We try to put them in pressure situations.”

Is it frustrating that it can’t replicate Saturdays? “Well you can’t replicate it. For anybody, you can’t replicate a Saturday. So there’s only one guy kicking field goals right now that has any experience of what it’s going to be like on a Saturday, that’s Sobes (Evan Sobiesk).But I think we’re doing a pretty good job.”

”But there’s so much that goes into it. There’s a hold, there’s a snap, all those other things too. I think the misses today were more attributed to the snap than anything else, not really the kick. We had a couple of bad snaps and by the time the ball is getting down in a really bad position they’re trying as best they can to recover it. It might not look as clean as if it’s a good snap and hold.”

How do you deal with a Dez Harris coming in as he did and not playing for two years? “I know obviously his senior year didn’t work out the way he wanted. But this is the SEC, college football, so to even compare it to playing in high school I think is completely different. A lot of true freshmen sometimes will be shocked when they get out there. That shock value, they go from recruiting press conferences and I’m the superstar to the get on the field the first day and look wow! There’s a lot of superstars out here compared to me!”

”So that adjustment. But I think Dez went through it last year playing on the scout team, had a really good spring, had a good fall camp. So I think he’s really adjusted to the speed. The emotion, the excitement of game day will be a lot of fun for him that he hasn’t had in a while. But he adjustment to playing, he’s going to be more prepared from practice than anything else.”

Scrimmaging for the first time on Scott Field, did anything jump out at you? “It was good and bad. I told the team I thought it was a really, really good scrimmage. But we want to have a great team. So we have to play above where we’ve ever played before. So in comparison the guys kind of felt hey Coach, that was a good scrimmage, they were wondering why I was disappointed. I said I agree it was a good scrimmage; but we’re not looking to be good, we’re looking to be great.”

”So our level of play in every phase, every play, has to be at a whole ‘nother level if we’re going to win a championship this year. And that’s what the guys are learning to do and that’s what this is about, of taking themselves as individual players, as units, as position groups, and as a whole team, taking ourselves to a whole ‘nother level.”

Are things starting to clear up on the offensive line positions? “I haven’t really done that because I’m not going to do that until the end. Sometimes I tell our guys don’t worry about what is not important right now, so any time I even start thinking about positioning guys I clear my mind, say it’s not important right now.”

”Because everybody is getting the same number of reps, so let’s focus on what is important now and guys getting their reps, making sure we’re coaching and having guys improve. Then what we’ll do is at the end we’ll figure it out. We mixed up the depth chart today, I mean I jumbled the whole depth chart today for everybody. Because the threes get the same number of reps as the ones, so it really doesn’t matter. It’s reps, to see how you perform with different groups and worry about what is important. Which is getting better and not stuff that doesn’t matter like where am I on the depth chart and all that.”

What do you want to clean up before Friday’s scrimmage? “A lot. Everything. Just consistency of execution. I mean training camp you put a whole lot in. So you look what we have in right now, after installation is done you focus on it. You’re going to carry about 30% of what is in now into a specific game plan. Well when the whole thing is in, it’s easier for the older guys because they kind of know what is going on in the big picture of the offense. But the young guys, there are three or four gameplans’ worth of material currently in and just the processing of the information that’s a huge thing. Of understanding and processing of the information and doing your job at a high level.”

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