Opening Statements on Fall Practice:
It's been a different camp from last year in a lot of ways.There is more depth and more competition at certain positions, DBs, receivers, defensive line, tight ends, and running backs. I'm excited about the depth and competition
There are some really good young players here.
I'm still concerned about our depth, you probably always will be at quarterback. The offensive line... the guys together that we have, we probably ran the ball as well as I've seen in the 18 months I've been here.
We've had some injuries going into camp with Ty Linton and Artemis Robinson, who both had offseason things... we were thin there to begin with.
Unfortunately M.J. Salahuddin had a knee injury four or five days ago that will keep him out for a while. Whether he's out for the season, we'll see.
He still has his redshirt year.
My philosophy is the next man in, and that's why you recruit and have competition.
I'm excited about what Bradley Chubb as done at WILL linebacker, and Arius Moore. Those two guys are going to be really good linebackers for us.
I hate to see it for M.J. like I do for any player. He may be one of the better workers on our football team.
Thoughts on the freshmen class:
There are several of them that can play this year.
Tony Adams is playing at a high level on the offensive line playing guard and center.
Cole Cook, he's probably ahead of the corp at tight ends for his class. I could see Cole having a chance to play early for us.
At receiver, all the receivers that we had will play, with the exception of Maurice Trowell. I don't know yet on him. He's been out with a hip flexor, but he'll be back this week. I'd like to play him if we can.
We feel good about the depth that we have at receiver. Stephen Louis and Bo Hines will play as freshmen.
At tailback, Dakwa Nichols redshirted last year and really had a good scrimmage yesterday so we feel good about his addition into the backfield that we already have .
Michael Stevens and Troy Vincent Jr. are two freshmen really playing well, and Elliott Davis made a phenominal play on a deep ball.
Germaine Pratt will play... not that you didn't expect to see him out there.
On the defensive line, Kentavius Street and Justin Jones are probably ahead of the curve physically. You could see those two contributing as soon as game one.
Right now Bo Hines, Bra'lon Cherry, and Matt Dayes are handling the return game and doing a great job.
Thoughts on conditioning:
We haven't had a single muscular injury. Bones, things happen to them in any sport, but you can [prevent] muscle pulls.
More on M.J. Salahuddin's injury:
He was doing great. It was really just a routine play, it was nothing crazy about it... just taking on a block.
I'm not going to get into the specifics of what happened to him. I don't think that's right. It's an injury that required surgery and he'll be back.
What one aspect of this team would you like to see better from last year?
Finishing is a big thing for us... finishing. We got into a lot of situations where we were plays away.
I think that's the biggest thing we've talked about... finishing drives, finishing in the redzone, finishing quarters, finishing halves, and finishing games.
It's a team game and you should get better playmaking from quarterback. How much are you looking for some of these young guys to step forward and show they can change plays for you?
It's nice to have Jacoby back there, but it's not his job to make all the plays. The quarterback distributes the football and its their jobs to make plays.
We have seven guys at receiver that we feel like can make plays. With three tight ends, three running backs and now four with Dakwa, I do think the skill is there. We didn't have that last year.
Every week a receiver would go down... by the end of the year we just couldn't run past anybody.
We feel a lot better about the depth we have at those positions to help Jacoby because he can't do it by himself and we're not going to ask him to.
It's a game where 11 people who have to do their jobs on a given play.
How much improvement have you seen in the passing game in the spring through today?
We're way ahead of where we were last year. We have installed our entire offense and defense this summer with the exception of goalline packages.
Nine early enrollees...
Body-wise they aren't [freshmen]. B.J. Hill is at 300, Pratt's over 230... they walked into an offseason program that was put together to make a 3-9 team better. It wasn't an easy offense... it made them mentally tough. Other than injury, those nine guys that came in early, most of them will play. Most of them will play right away. We need them to.
More on team morale:
None of our players want to re-live [last season]... it's not something we want to talk about or need to talk about a lot. It's in the back of their minds.
What kind of a camp has Rob Crisp had?
Rob Crisp has had a great camp. Rob is hard on himself so he'll tell you that he hasn't because he wants to be really good.
I think he lost football last year, and it changes you as a player when you lose the game. It makes it a lot more important to you... I'm excited for Rob. I just want to keep him going down the right path.