That was planned. There is nothing about earning. They certainly have had a good first session of training camp. We have a week next week before we get into game week preparation, so next week to me is training camp with school. We are continuing to do everything that we need to do to get ready for game week.
We've had a good first phase of training camp, but we planned this all along, to give them a couple of days off all because of the late starting date. You have 40 opportunities to get 29 practices in. We'll get those 29 practices in, but in the mean time, they will be able to get away from football for a couple of days, freshen up mentally, freshen up physically, and then come back for a very difficult week. They start school, and that is always hard. They continue to go back to training camp fundamentals, techniques, and everything we need to get ready for the season.
What can you share about "Cooter" Arnold. I keep hearing good things about him.
Cooter has had a good camp. He has good vision, and from what we've seen, he can put that foot in the ground and really burst. He is probably as good as I've had here in terms of being able to burst and take it to another gear in a quick period of time. That is what you look for in a running back in terms of burst. He doesn't look really big – he's 185 pounds right now. If he stays on course, he could have a great career here as a running back.
At this time, I guess your freshmen are learning when to lower a shoulder and when to use that burst and outrun someone.
The burst you can almost simulate that in practice; lowering your shoulder, that comes from games. Hopefully, the kid has it when he gets into a game, but you never know until you get into a game situation.
On the runs up the middle, who is winning that battle on the line?
It ebbs and flows each and every day. Defensively, I think there are times when we've been dominant, and then there are times when the offense has taken over, which is what you really want. You want to have that ebb and flow. You want to see the defense to play well, and then you want the offense to play well. I try to be neutral out there, obviously, but we all know that we have to stop the run and that starts up front, that starts in the middle. Chase Page was back out there practicing today, so that gives us more chance to be stout in the middle of the line of scrimmage.
How does the ebb and flow this year compare to past years. Has the offense won more in the past?
Until Chase got hurt last year it was a stalemate, and when he went down we had some problems, which I expected. I think now with a second year with the defensive coordination of this front and linebackers and secondary, there is a better job making all those fits.
What will the staff do this weekend – is this a get-away weekend for you too?
We will take the kids out to Maggiano's this afternoon, we've got a ladies clinic tonight, so we will stay busy. Saturday, we are in here to work, and Sunday they'll have that day off.
What is the difference for the defensive line between when there is a zone pressure and when there is not?
You normally have gap control in a normal front with normal coverage. When you have a zone pressure you are going to have the defensive linemen in some type of stunt and some type of movement to destroy gaps other than where they are lined up and then fit linebackers, safeties, or corners into those gaps where they originally lined up. It is a disguised attack.
How do you evaluate Tommy Davis right now, and what is his potential after he finishes here, in your opinion?
Right now, he is hurt so he is not doing anything. He has missed a week of practice, which is extremely valuable. It is very disappointing that he has missed that [much practice]. But I can't do anything about it, and he can't do anything about it. Hopefully, he gets back on the field early next week on Monday or Tuesday. We'll wait and see.
I do think there is some interest in him. The scouts are in here everyday, and I know them quite well, and I try to be as honest as I can with them. Tommy has a chance to help someplace. Some think of him as dropping 20 pounds and being an ‘oakie' type linebacker – two or three NFL teams have thy type person. He is an active guys, he has some quickness, he has some strength, a lot of upper body strength. He has some potential to play at the next level; he just has to have a great year. He had a very good year last year. Now, he needs to really pick it up this year, and, of course, he is off to a bad start being hurt.