"There will be four 15-minute quarters with a running clock. The clock will only stop for injuries or timeouts. Each team will be allowed three timeouts. Coach Haywood will have the head coach responsibility on his team and Coach Minter will have the head coach responsibility on his team. The halftime will be 20 minutes and there will be a ceremonial coin toss at the beginning of the game. The ones will start off the game and Pete Duranko will be one of the honorary captains along with a guy from the Homeless Shelter that won their auction. The only person who will not be allowed to be hit will be No.10 and trust me if he gets hit you will know about it. I don't care how many people are there. He will be the only one with a red jersey and the other quarterbacks will be live. There will be no kickoff returns and the offense will always start on the 30-yard line. The defense is going to play a 4-3 all the time and can only blitz one linebacker and no secondary blitzers can come. They can play any coverage they want and the offense can line up in any formation they want.
"Joe Brockington and Kyle McCarthy will not play due to injuries and the same is true for Mo Crum and Mike Richardson. I will not coach or call plays for either team. I have told the coaches to run some trick plays and they will be penalized if they don't a run a trick play per half for both teams. One of their trick plays has to come from their guest offensive coach to see if they have any imagination or not, but I don't want them whining that they don't have any input into the game plan. The coaches will put in some time tomorrow on the game, and we also have dedicated tomorrow to work on our recruiting schedule for the month coming up and they have call sheets to get ready for the spring game."
What do you hope to learn from the game or is it more for the fan interest?"We tackle very little at full speed in the spring. My phrase has always been run through the ball carrier, wrap them up butt up, and if they end up falling down - I never get mad if someone gets knocked to the ground as long as we are not trying to hurt our teammates. There are a lot of things we don't do, but now in the game, it is going to be go out and tackle and let's get going. For example: we have only had Rhema [McKnight] and Jeff [Samardzija] together a handful of times in the spring with Brady [Quinn]. Obviously our cult hero will be pitching Friday night and this will allow him to play in the spring game, and it is nice of him to say he would show up for the spring game. It allows Brady to have the guys we anticipate being in the first group out there with him and in sync at the same time for the most part, and I think that will be good for continuity. We still have some personnel issues, like some of the guys being held out are obviously guys who will be playing for us, but I think it gives us some opportunities for some people to do things full speed. Often people over-analyze spring games and try to make judgments on how your team is going to be based on the spring game. You only get 15 opportunities to evaluate them on the field and three of those are without pads. So I use this as the final opportunity to truly evaluate where we are as we head into the next stage of our process."
Are you worried about the game being too competitive?"Oh no, I'm not concerned about that at all. I want it to be competitive, and I wanted it to be competitive last year; that's why I tweaked the rules. But I think this year because the numbers are thin, and I think we are going to go through one more year with the numbers being thin in the spring, then after this year and the next year the numbers will be such that we won't have such depth issues in the spring."
Have you been able to measure the progress of the defense this spring?"We go ones versus ones every day, every practice, every rep, and that is one of the reasons you keep them from taking it to the ground because I really don't think you can evaluate people unless the good guys are going against the good guys. No disrespect to the backups, but this gives you the best chance of evaluating. I think a couple of issues that we are leaving camp with defensively more than anything else, I think the players are further ahead mentally then they were this time last year. I think in the spring you are always a little bit sluggish, but I don't think the sluggish should ever show up mentally and I'm happy with the progress we have made on that note."
Maurice Crum was laid up all spring but were you able to get a feel how he will handle all three positions?"After talking with Rick [Minter] we feel fairly confident we could put Maurice at Will-Mike-or Apache and he would know what to do. Really, what I told him at the beginning of spring, besides getting totally healthy from his rehab, was to make sure we could put him in any of those spots. This allows us to put the next two guys that we feel the best about out there along with him."
How firm is the depth chart?"I think if a guy is running first, it means he deserves to be out there first. So a guy who may have been buried at 13 is running first team, that's saying something positive. Unlike August, we have a long way to go before this settles into a permanent situation because we are trying to give everyone at least a third of the reps in practice. During the regular season somebody that is a backup may get four reps here, two reps there. They are not getting anywhere near a third. I can tell you the way I look at quarterbacks; I might get the backup a couple of reps in practice and that is it. As I said at the beginning of spring, this is their last opportunity before we have another two guys coming in here to kind of stake their claim where they are, because when the two new guys come in here, we are going to have to find where they are because we don't know what they can do yet. So now there are two more guys you have to get reps and into the mix. One thing is clear, everyone knows Brady is the No. 1 guy and at this time the jury is still out on who is No. 2 and I want to see what they can do under duress because it is easy when no one is touching you."
George West is with first team offense for this game. Has he progressed this far?"To balance them off, I moved George over to this team. It doesn't mean he has moved himself into the third wide receiver position."
How are some of the guys who had surgery or injuries coming along and when will they be ready?"DJ Hord, Joe Brockington, Maurice[Crum] all of these guys who have missed significant time in the spring are right on cue to go full speed ahead come June."