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On the fans' high hopes this season:
"I'm not sure that fans' expectations will ever exceed the players' and coaches' expectations. We're going into the season thinking we're going to win 12."
On the early season schedule:
"It won't take very long to find out if we're good or not. We're going to get challenged. So many of the non-conference games are always scheduled so far in advance and I'm sure that probably 5-6-8 years ago whenever UConn and Rutgers were on the schedule, somebody probably thought tongue-in-cheek that those would be somewhat non-competitive type games. Now, all of a sudden, they're the No. 1 and No. 2 picks in the Big East conference.
"Greg [Schiano] has done just a phenomenal job at Rutgers in building that program, and you can't say enough about what Randy Edsall has done in taking UConn and building it every single year and the consistency that they're playing with. And then with Notre Dame coming to town, and then we've got Virginia Tech and Miami, so we'll find out real quickly if we're making the strides that we think we'd like to make."
On the decision for the conference to uniformly release injury information:
"They brought it up in our meeting a while ago with the commissioner, and I think they're just trying to get somewhat of a variation of what the NFL does to where there's some consistency [and] some uniformity in reporting injuries. It helps the media out. It lets you know during press conferences on Monday that this is the status of what happened from Saturday's ball game, where Sunday everyone's got a chance to get treatment and get well and let the doctors look at them and get x-rays and MRI's.
"So that on Monday, we'll be semi-educated – as much as you can for a football coach – to say, ‘This is kind of the status today, and we'll get back to you on Thursday.' Tom O'Brien brought it up and Ralph Friedgen brought it up at our spring meeting because I think that's what is going on with the some of the Big 12 Conference schools and some of the SEC schools. It sounded like a good idea to everybody."
Is that not information that you guys want to kept secret?
[shaking head] "I mean, everybody comes to our practices. With all of the bloggers and the website people, there's not many secrets in football anymore."
What's your opinion on an early signing day?
"I'm all for it. I would love to see it. I don't know specifically what the date is for junior college – I want to say something like the third week in December – but to me, that would be a perfect time. They already have an existing time for junior college players, and I'd love to see an early signing day in December. I'd be adamantly opposed to, as the SEC had originally talked about, one in the summer time before kids ever get to be a senior."
Why would you be in favor of one at the end of the year?
"Well, because it gives you three opportunities in the month of December to have kids still make official visits. So many coaches have probably got anywhere from 10-12-14 players committed prior to Christmas, and when we go through the holidays, through the bowl season, through the national championship and through the national convention, there's about a four-week period of time that everything comes to a grinding halt, but yet you still have to find a way to find time to write kids that you know are already committed to you, and it would be nice to get that out of the way."
On if his program is getting to where he wants it:
"I think that we're better. We're faster and we're more experienced certainly than we were a year ago, and we've got a greater appreciation for our kids. But we're still a little bit away from probably some of the elite programs in the country."
On Greg Little's move to running back:
"We tried the running back by committee. We tried four or five guys in spring practice, and probably the tell-tale fact was that no one emerged which meant that instead of maybe having three or four that could play, we didn't have anybody that could play. We thought that maybe someone would emerge during training camp, and during little tiny flashes in some games – Anthony Elzy had an outstanding game against Virginia Tech – there were little things that would kind of trick you into saying, ‘Well, maybe if the offensive line gets better, or maybe if we get a little more continuity or maybe if we can throw the ball better' and this, that and the other.
"The fact of the matter was that we needed an impact running back. We needed a difference maker. And we started midway through the season, and I regret to this day because we might have gone to a bowl game last year that we didn't pull the trigger. Because we had talked about it in staff meetings, and if you watched any of our games, we started doing some things by putting Greg in the backfield. Moving the quarterback out of the backfield and letting Greg take the snaps, and ever time we handed him the ball he'd run for about 10 yards.
"So then it was about how fast could he learn to protect and how quick could he learn everything at running back. We put him on a fast track, and by Georgia Tech, I'd say he probably knew 60 percent of the offense as a running back, and then the next week against Duke he probably knew about 65 percent, and hopefully now, he knows everything that we're doing."