"I think it's gone well. I had a long conversation with Joe in December. I know he had caught a tremendous amount of criticism for last year, but Joe's a terrific kid and an unbelievable scholar. He's got great speed and what we wanted to do was find a way for him to make a significant contribution to this football team and I told him 'I think you can be something unique and special if you come back as a senior.' When he went to Nebraska, originally his choice to go there was because they were an I-formation, option-power running attack. And then Bill Callahan comes in with the West Coast offense, so he transfers and comes here and he thinks it'll be Gary Tranquill's offense, but then they transition into another version of the West Coast offense and that wasn't Joe's cup of tea. We sold him on the idea that 'We would like you to be our version of what the Pittsburgh Steelers did with Antwann Randle El.' ... We need his senior leadership, we need his speed on the field and every day he gets better."
Who is the competition for Cam Sexton at quarterback or has he separated himself from the competition?
"It's been a pretty even competition. And probably on purpose we haven't allowed there to be a great deal of separation. We've taken Cam Sexton, we've taken T.J. Yates and we've taken B.J. Phillips and the three of those guys during any point of time during practice they might be in the huddle with the first, second or third team. We wanted to take the pressure off winning the job and instead put the pressure on learning to play the position how we want it played ... just try to find out which of those guys. You're evaluating [their skills, too], but I would have been shocked if we came out of practice and said 'We found the guy' because of the way we orchestrated practices. But I will tell you that probably within the first week to ten days [of fall practice] we need to settle on a guy so the last two to three weeks the team knows that when we play James Madison, this will be our starter."
How do the three quarterbacks differ?
"They are each different. Cam is a bit more mobile and athletic, potentially in a mold of a guy who can make plays with his speed. The thing with T.J. and B.J. is they've got almost zero experience. They spent the entire season last year playing on the scout team. They didn't go to meetings or attend any of the quarterback training type of things to learn to read coverages and such. The biggest thing they've got to make up is increasing their football intelligence right now."
Who will be able to fill the void of departing players like Larry Edwards?
"It's good to have Durell Mapp back, he's a very athletic, explosive linebacker. Martel Thatch is one of the other guys that's really pushing for significant playing time at linebacker. Mark Paschal and Wesley Flagg are in a real heated battle as far as the middle linebacker position is concerned. One of the guys we were anxious to see play, Kennedy Tinsley, broke his foot the week before spring practice so we'll need to get a quick evaluation of him when we get back into training camp. We've moved some guys around - Joey Bozich, we moved him to a linebacker position. And two kids we signed in last year's recruiting class, Quan Sturdivant and Bruce Carter, are guys that we signed who fortunately enrolled in mid-term and they've made huge progress. Those guys I think will be in a position that they'll be contributors in special teams and maybe back up roles next fall."
What should fans expect to see at the Spring Game on Saturday?
"Unfortunately, it won't be like a game. We won't have a Blue-White scrimmage, in college football you just don't have enough players when the seniors graduate and we have 23 freshmen that won't arrive until the fall. So what we're going to do is have a scrimmage for an hour and fifteen minutes at the end of the practice. We'll do some practice stuff to cover some things we need to cover ... and then we'll get into the scrimmage. I think fans will be interested to see the progress with some of these guys."