O'Brien: 'Russell's coming back'

Head coach Tom O'Brien answered questions from the media following the Pack's spring practice session on Tuesday.

"Barnes now is, with the surgery, I'm not sure when he'll be back. But it's going to be Underwood or Washington to start with. We'll have to find a third from one of the freshman coming in – but that's not unusual, that's what we did this year."

"[Underwood] has good power, he has good vision and he understands the system. Washington is a slasher, and he showed signs last year and by playing him it's going to help him this year. We are working hard to get him up, especially in practice protection that is the hardest thing they have to learn. They want to run with the football but they have to keep the quarterback from getting killed first. That's the first job they have to do."

"Owen [Spencer] has used the time wisely – he's taken a leadership role out there and he has really improved this spring which you like to see that in a senior. [Darrell] Davis is getting an opportunity to do some things he hasn't done and he's made some steps but I think Owen has made bigger steps and then I think Jarvis [Williams] is just kind of treading water."

"If they run the right routes and are in the right spots that's the best thing they can do. With their experience they know where they are supposed to go and just have to push to get there."

"Guys with arms like [Mike Glennon] think they can throw it through anything and they want to wait a little bit too long. He's got to anticipate the rush and he's got to get rid of the ball. He can't take sacks and that's one thing we've been working hard with him on - especially when you get in the scoring zone."

"It comes back to decision making and putting the ball in the right spot and putting it there on time. Putting it where we can catch it and the other guy can't."

"We asked each of the players what they think they need to improve on to see if they are listening to us. Each week we've given them something that they have to be better at and we are going to try again Thursday to get better at one thing."

"I don't know how much [Nate Irving] will play Saturday. Basically he's played half the scrimmages thus far. But he's a different kid. He's much more enthusiastic and vocal out there than he ever was. He looks like he's grown up a lot. I think he's taken advantage of this opportunity that has been presented to him."

"Russell's coming back. I don't know why there is any question. Everybody keeps asking – I said it again this week that he's coming back. So, write it down – he's coming back. He's told me 100 times."

"You're good guys have to play good. With Nate back that helps. But guys with the most experience – Audie Cole has to play much better than he did after last year. We played five freshman in the secondary and now they are sophomores – all those guys that played last year have to be much better for us to be a good defensive football team."

"Silva for two years had the ball thrown over his head. Everybody forgets when they were young and they don't tackle anybody – we are young and making some of those mistakes."

"It takes time and everybody matures at a different time. You just keep working them and hope the light turns on – it's not a real mystery. I'm not discouraged at all; I know there are enough good kids."

"A lot of those kids got thrown in the fire and got their brains beat out last year – I mean they did in some respects last year. They are playing faster and working harder and hopefully we'll be better because of it."

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