A.Q. SHIPLEY (C)
On defensive tackle Jay Alford:
He's a great player. He really is. Just his explosion. The way he takes off, he's so explosive, and he's 290 pounds. When you combine the power, the size and the speed, he's a force to be reckoned with.
On the offense:
The offense really hasn't changed much at all. Some of the runs Mike [Robinson] would have gotten last year, they're gong to Tony [Hunt]. The offense hasn't changed much at all from what I've seen.
On the team's goal:
A national championship, without a doubt. We're just looking straight for that 12-0 season.
On who has surprised him on the offensive line:
I think Rich Ohrnberger has really had a pretty good spring. This is his first opportunity to show what he can do and he's taking it and running with it. He's showing the coaches what he can do. He's really pushing hard for one of the regular spots.
DEON BUTLER (WR)
On the differences between new QB Anthony Morelli and Robinson:
One difference I would say, is if I'm running a deep route, and I'm maybe 30-35 yards down the field, I can still run full speed if he hasn't thrown it.
Morelli puts a little more air under the ball. Morelli consistently throws a tighter spiral.
On fellow receiver Derrick Williams:
He's the same Derrick as before his arm injury. He's flat out 100 percent. He's lowering his shoulder, lowering the right arm to try to run people over with it.
On competition at his position:
Me and Kevin Cousins are working at the same position. And when Chris Bell comes in, he'll be working there, too. They will definitely push me. But I feel confident I can work hard and continue to see some playing time.
On team expectations:
With the guys we have returning and people we have [who] no one knows about definitely a national championship. We believe that and say it after every practice.
He said Terrell Golden has been limited in practice by a minor knee injury, nothing too serious.
The coaching staff has been surprised at how quickly Morelli has adjusted to calling audibles. Butler has been surprised at Morelli's leadership, saying I thought he was going to come in and be shy and hesitant. [But] he's yelling at people in the huddle.
One of the areas he feels he must improve is with hand placement on catches. He said he did well in that area while warming up last year but not so well in games.
JAY ALFORD (DT)
On his new role on the defensive line, where he is the lone returning starter from 2005:
My whole mind-set is to run around and be the pacesetter, because that's what those guys [who graduated] were for me. That's what I'm trying to do for the guys this year, to be the pacesetter and to try to set the same example.
On the new-look offensive line:
They're looking great, man. I'm really impressed with the guys who are there. A.Q. and Gerald [Cadogan], they're looking good. And with a leader like Levi [Brown], I think they're going to be great once the season starts.
I think he's going to be All-Big Ten something. He's a great player. I really enjoy going against A.Q., because he can make me better and I can make him better.
On defensive players who have impressed him this spring:
Justin [King] is playing well right now. And Jerome Hayes, I really enjoy watching him play. He's going to be a great player. He's really looking good this spring.
Though he is primarily playing his familiar position of left tackle, he is at times lining up on the right side to get comfortable with a right-handed stance, something he's never done before. He wants to be comfortable on the right in case defensive line coach Larry Johnson ever needs him there.
He sees a lot of himself in fellow tackle Elijah Robinson, a redshirt sophomore. He likes to use his hands, he's quick off the ball, he likes to run around.
He said Joe Paterno has emphasized putting last fall's success in the rearview mirror. Now we have to focus on the future and what is ahead of us.
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