How is Jimmy moving? Is his hip giving him any problem?"I was really surprised yesterday that he moved almost completely normal. But he definitely looked normal today."
Could you talk about the development of Junior Jabbie?"It's interesting because he's one of those feel-good stories. There's a guy, his first year here – I wouldn't say malcontent but really not happy here. He thought he would have no chance and we actually parted ways for a while. A summer ago, not this summer, I called him over the summer and said, ‘I'll give you another opportunity to come back and be a part of the team. Here's what you're going to have to do. You're going to be on show team every single day and somewhere along the line, if you ever earn your way on the other side, you'll start playing.' He first got on the field on special teams last year and that led into the spring where the kid has some running ability. And obviously last week, because of how the game went, it dictated what his role is on the team; became more prevalent with what we were doing in the game because we were down so big."
In your package, does he come in on passing downs?"He's our most solid, consistent, blitz pickup guy. So that's one of the reasons he's in, in that role."
Would you talk about the development of Kyle McCarthy?"He's another guy who went basically from a show team guy working into two-deep at safety to the point now the coaches have confidence they can put him in there and good things will happen."
What strides did he make to get off the show team?"Last year we had two such experienced safeties with Zibby (Tom Zbikowski) and (Chinedum) Ndukwe. The drop off in experience was so big, but now this year you only have one guy because David (Bruton) hadn't really played much before this year either. So now the drop off in experience was insignificant which got him into the mix a lot clearer."
When Dan Wenger comes back, does he automatically get his starting position back?"I think I would have to see how it is going. I don't automatically just put somebody in there, especially in the offensive line. When you're coming off a little bit of an ankle in the offensive line, if you're not full go, you can get yourself into some bad situations in a hurry. He's getting pretty close."
What's the status of David Grimes?"They're both going to the game. I said yesterday, he is going to be a game-day type of decision. That's what it will be with Grimes. I think Wenger looks a little more ready to play than Grimes does. But we are hoping that he will play in the game. He's going on the trip."
The team was in shorts today. Is that part of your new plan?"I'm trying to find another way of doing it. The hardest we've ever hit in practice since I've been here was yesterday for the longest we have gone. I'd say physically, it was easily the best practice since I've been here, as far as physical play goes. It was take them to the ground for two-thirds of the practice. Now, I don't know if me telling them what my plan was prior to practice was part of that positive residual effect, but I told them we are going to go full pads and we are going to hit like crazy for two-thirds of the practice and tomorrow I'm going to have the shoulder pads on and go out with shorts and knee braces to taper it down and we're going to taper it down more physically tomorrow. I'm really concerned with how we start the game. I'm trying to find another method to start the game better."
Could you evaluate Terrail Lambert's year to this point?"Not to get into every single point from Lambert, but the one guy I know we don't want to take off the field is Lambert. The only time he has come off the field this year was in a goal-line situation where there was just one corner out there. I think that's the only time he comes off the field. Other than that, we want him on the field at all times. So basically that's probably the biggest telling tale, is the fact that you want him on the field at all times."
Is Jimmy's reps back to where they were or are you splitting them more?"Evan (Sharpley) has earned more reps, so Evan is getting more reps than what he got last week. It's still heavier Jimmy than Evan, but it's not like 25 percent like it was last week. Evan's gotten more this week."
Then you're pretty much set that it's Jimmy for Saturday?"Yes sir."
Is Golden Tate going to be playing baseball?"My policy is a very simple one with anyone who wants to play another sport in the spring. It basically comes down to three factors: How are you doing academically? To go two sports back-to-back like (Will) Yeatman does, a full-time player in football and then be a full-time player in lacrosse, the first thing you have to do is hold up your end of the bargain academically. So if he does hold up his end of the bargain, then he can go try out for the baseball team and how much football he misses will be directly related to how good he is. In other words, if he's the backup centerfielder, I will give him to them for a few days. If he's the starting centerfielder, I will take him less because I'm all for the other teams having a chance to win, just like we did that with Will. I think Will was here for five or six of the practices out of 15. I imagine if he's the starting centerfielder, it will be something similar. See, in a week you can only have so many hours of competition so that would have to fall in line there too."
Would you say the defensive energy was up during the portion of practice that we saw yesterday?"One of the things I was dissatisfied with very early in practice yesterday, and I will cite the specific example: One of our defensive players stoned one of our offensive players right at the line of scrimmage or maybe even for a minus loss, a minus one, and everyone walked back to the huddle. I stopped practice at that time and said, ‘Hey, I don't get it. This guy just stoned the guy at the line of scrimmage, pancakes him to the ground. You would think as a guy on that group, you'd be excited.' I think sometimes, you just have to make them aware of the perceptions that they're worrying more about the next play rather than sharing in the positive play by one of their teammates."
Is there a difference in emotions preparing for a college game compared to an NFL game?"They're exactly the same. If you don't play the game with emotion, it doesn't make any difference what level you are playing on."
Could you comment on the penalty called on Brian Smith?"The questionable late-hit penalty on Brian Smith? I saw it. The one we pushed him out of bounds when he was in the field of play? Yeah, I recall it."
There was another play shown on TV where he hit the quarterback with an elbow but wasn't called for a penalty. Did you see that one?"No, I didn't see that. I didn't watch the TV replay and that's the first I'm hearing of it. When I watched it on the tape, I never saw it; the coaching tape, I never saw it."
There's talk about field turf being put on the practice field. What is the advantage of that?"Are we going to put field turf on the practice field? That's in the plan. So you can practice outside regardless of the weather."
Why field turf rather than Astro Turf?"Astro Turf is different from field turf. In the old days, Astro Turf, the players hated playing on it because it was really hard on their knees. But field turf, to be honest with you, pro players would rather play on field turf because it doesn't give on them. The field surfaces they play on now, the players really like it because they have more bounce than they used to. Those fields they used to play on were rock hard. There was a big difference."
What is the advantage of a field-turf practice field over a grass practice field?"When we played Navy last year, and you're playing in the Raven's stadium, and they play on field turf so you don't want to practice inside if you are practicing outside. But the other positive effect, to be honest with you, it would be nice to have the students to have surfaces that they could use when we weren't using them. When we have grass fields, we really can't do that. But if you have field-turf fields, there are going to be plenty of times in the year when we are not using them. Now all of a sudden rec-sports could end up using them. I think everyone wins in that situation."
With the way the UCLA game ended last year, are you expecting the best they can offer from them this year?"I would say that's a safe bet. They are 4-1 and having a good year. They lost one game to Utah and that was sort of a gadget game when they got caught by surprise. I don't think we're going to catch them by surprise. We're going to have to play well to win. I think we are going to play well."
UCLA puts up a lot of points in the fourth quarter. How big a concern is that for you?"When you turn the ball over four or five times in the fourth quarter, that's what happened last week, there's going to be a lot of points scored. If we turn it over four or five times in the fourth quarter, I think there will be a lot of points scored late there too."
Can you talk about the field goal we saw in practice yesterday?"Well, you tell me. What did you see?"
One guy made three out of four and the other guy missed three."No, one guy missed one and the other guy missed three. The guy who missed one is probably going to be doing the kicking. That's a pretty easy one."