Spring quotes of note from QB DeShone Kizer, WR coach Mike Denbrock, OL coach Harry Hiestand, RB coach Autry Denson, TE coach Scott Booker, and head coach Brian Kelly:
“A guy like Sam Mustipher, we’ve been working together as we came in the same class. I’ve been taking snaps with him since we were both on the scout team. He’s a guy that I already have a great relationship with. He’s a brilliant guy. He’s an engineering major. He’s going to be able to do some of the things that Nick (Martin) did. Obviously there’s a lot of experience Nick had that he doesn’t but I believe he’ll be able to (work through that).” – Kizer on new center Sam Mustipher
“If he keeps progressing, sure. He needs to catch the ball more consistently. He can run, now. That’s obviously a great attribute to have a slot receiver that doesn’t have to worry about bump coverage. If you can get on people very quickly, that’s a huge advantage. There are a lot of little things he’s still learning and growing with, but I like what I’ve seen from him. I’m not shutting the door on him. We have to win some football games around here.” – Denbrock on walk-on Chris Finke’s prospects for playing time
“You’d like to be 15 on scholarship, you’d like to be there. We’ll be 13 but we have some really good walk-ons. We have (Tyler) Plantz and Sam Bush and so we’ll be maybe one or two a little bit short. But that’s the way it goes.” – Hiestand on his 2016 numbers up front
“Yeah he and Parker (Boudreaux) was here, too, and Liam’s (Eichenberg) been here. They’re great guys and they’re very hungry and they want to contribute and they can’t wait to get here, its always good to see him here, but he’s very driven to play.” – Hiestand on the presence of incoming freshman Tommy Kraemer at practice
“We all have challenges, we all got things we have to improve. Me, I do, and all of us do. But he understands one of the things he has to — and that’s one of the ones. And he’s been great. We’ve got nine practices…So he’s 8 out of 9, that’s pretty good.” – Hiestand on Mike McGlinchey’s efforts to control his emotions on the field
“Good friend of mine that’s been nice enough to come by pretty much every spring, Olin Kruetz from Chicago (former Bears center). He said he was really interested this year to see what it was going to be like without a Martin (Zack or Nick) in the room and he was really impressed with what McGlinchey’s been doing.
“Mike has accepted that role and has stepped up and doing a great job leading the guys and really having them carrying on the tradition that the Martins demonstrated. And they showed him how to lead and all he had to was be aware, listen and learn from those guys and he’s doing that right now in a really good way for us.” – Hiestand on McGlinchey’s leadership
“You can only learn so much by being in the classroom. Now he needs reps. He’s able to make some mistakes, able to learn it and go through the mechanics of what he’s being asked to do. He knows the information because he’s been in the system, now he just needs to play football.
“There are very few tall guys that you can say are natural running backs. That’s in regards to being able to bend your pads. CJ had that, he experienced that all year. Learning how, it’s a little bit different and naturally harder for a 6’1” guy than it is for a 5’9” guy that’s built with leverage. Learning to get behind your pads and not take shots.” – Denson on Justin Brent’s progress
“He’s starting to understand our offense. There are a lot of things that happen as far as pre-snap and post-snap reads. Quite frankly we didn’t do as good of a job last year on those. Post-snap reads – he’s picking those up well. Every day, coming at it, attacking, making sure he understands the consistency of our route running is only going to help us get the ball. The QB’s will have confidence of where we’re going to be, they’ll throw us the ball.” – Booker on Alizé Jones and the Irish tight ends
“Guys starting to emerge in particular positions in some roles. That, more than anything else, is starting to occur. Some guys that didn’t have major roles last year are starting to become comfortable with new positions and new roles.
“They work hard. There’s a culture that’s in the program that exists that they all understand. So that’s already here. It’s more about the individuals accepting roles and stepping up to those new roles.” – Kelly on the spring’s most notable development.