Opening statement -
It was another active day of practice. I'm excited about the young players that are here and the possibilities that exist. The competition at quarterback - very keen again today. Each day they rotate through drills. They are both much improved from spring - much better grasp of what we want to do. Defensively, I feel good about things. What I see, the athleticism, the speed on the field - these are things that are quite different than I was saying two, three years ago. The leadership of the team is going to be key throughout this summer camp and staying away from a couple of difficult injuries.
But we're going to play physical. The moment we get those pads on it's going to become a very, very physical camp. They've been going at it pretty good without pads on, so I can see a tremendous amount of spirit, a tremendous amount of enthusiasm about what's upon us, which is a season where these kids have chosen this motto as I think you've all heard - "The New Blue" - and that's exciting to me, too. I think they mean something, and we'll find out.
Compare the talent level and depth of talent you have now compared with three years ago:
Not even close. It's just not even close. We have more speed, more quickness, more size and more toughness. Obviously, I want to continually see that demonstrated on a consistent basis on each and every practice. ... I want to see these kids coming in every day with energy, and a focus on what they need to get done that day. It's pretty clearly defined by our coaching staff what we want to get done every single day. I'm excited about Cignetti, Weber and the rest of the guys on the offense. And the work between Ken Browning and Danny Pearman along the defensive line is going to be very significant.
What impresses you about Coach Cignetti?
First of all, his system of offense is very similar to what I'm accustomed to with Coach Tranquil, but maybe has a few additional formations that can put some pressure on defenses. His enthusiasm and his attention to detail that he is able to communicate to his entire offense - he's gotten their attention with his enthusiasm. Any time you insert a new offense in terms of terminology, names of formations, motions and movements, it makes everybody focus that much more because they want to do it right. All of that has been interesting to watch and see it play out in the spring and now the first two practices - it's like we never missed a beat. It proves to me that the enthusiasm from the spring generated by the new coaches and the players has carried over and had an effect into the way we practice now.
On awaiting word from the NCAA Clearinghouse on a few freshmen -
We had one report yesterday (Johnny White) ... we have no new news and we're hopeful that we'll know some more on Monday. The frustration level rises.
On "The New Blue" team motto -
You're going to have to ask [the players] for their definition. But they feel as if they have more confidence and more energy than ever before to give to this football team for this year. ... I'm old school, not old blue.
On the status of the program:
My enthusiasm and my resolve have never wavered throughout those five years. We've had some tough times. We've had some outstanding moments. We all don't need to go back and visit '02-'03 because we know how devastating that was. We had no defense. We had no speed. We had no energy. We had no toughness. Things have changed somewhat since that time. How I feel is I want to see the progress. I want to see the continuation of the growth and the optimism that's within this program. Growth, opportunity - the momentum we've been been building particularly with recruiting. That's how you get good. You get athletes. You change the culture some. You build on those things.