Good practice. I hope it's even hotter [Saturday] … I hope we have a heat spell on Saturday around noon.
It was a good practice today.
Defenses are getting so complex these days. How much of it is based on confusing the quarterback?
That has a little to do with it, but quarterbacks are so well-trained [now], and they're looking for certain things, for when blitzes come, and there's tipoffs on all that, especially in zone blitzes. When they're pretty alert to that, it's hard to confuse them a whole lot. You might confuse the linemen more than the quarterback.
But they're getting versed, because they're all making calls, throughout the country, with the linemen and the quarterbacks, and the quarterback can always trump any call the linemen have. That's why it gets so difficult, because we took a lot of things off of [quarterback] Marcus [Stone] this fall — and really last spring, we started — and put it on [center] Leroy [Harris]. Because Leroy's a smart person and [center] Luke Lathan's a smart person, and they can make some calls.
I think more people are getting more speed on defense, more speed on defense. And that's what makes the field smaller.
You only played one true freshman last Saturday. Is that the plan, or do you have it week to week?
It's got to be week to week. It's got to be week to week. The more we can do … [to] get to a point where we can take freshmen and not have to play them, the better off we're going to be. You look at all the schools that are up in the top 15, probably 90 percent of their players get redshirted. It's almost a given when they come in, which means you're not recruiting … When you recruit Mario [Williams], there's two Marios there who were recruited two years ago. Every now and then that won't work out.
But you need them for depth; everybody needs depth and they get their feet wet. And you say you want to redshirt them and they go out early, so … But I'd rather do that and give them an opportunity to play as long as they can. If he develops into a great player, so be it; he's going to go out anyway.
Last weekend, Akron tried a halfback pass, a flea-flicker … How do you prepare for trick plays?
Well, we just practice them and hope that our people are disciplined enough. Only a fool can be fooled. And that's why they call them trick plays. They do it in the NFL … Bill Cowher did two of them in the Super Bowl if I remember correctly. It's something to get people going.
Ray Brooks performed well in his first game in quite a while. How is he doing in coming back into the program?
Well, 20 plays, he had one sack, two tackles for losses and three more tackles. Six plays out of 20 is pretty good. Pretty good. And three of them were big tackles in the backfield.
He's come along really good. We just have to keep him healthy. And you know what? He's pretty daggone smart, and he can learn a lot of things.