Inside Game Week Preparations With Skip Holtz

Skip Holtz comments on this weeks' game preparation, the perceived problems with the wide receivers catching the ball, Pinkins not using the laces, and how they may be preparing a bit differently for David Pollack ...

(on practices this week so far)
We have the attention of the players. When you get in a game like this there is an awful lot of excitement and enthusiasm. And the atmoshere out at practice has been dang near like gameday conditions. They put that much more pressure on each other, every throw, every block, every catch - I have been pleased with the way we have worked.

(on working on the passing game)
We have spent a lot of time working on the passing game - they have caught the ball very well in practice but then again the last two weeks we have caught it well in practice. If we had not been catching it well in practice I never would have thrown it in the games. I thought they caught the ball much better - some of these guys are really improving and doing some good things.

(on new drills to help the wide receivers hold onto the ball)
We've tried to do an awful lot of drills this week, banging on them, with dummies and stuff when they are coming out of their breaks ... we've had people along their routes hitting them in the back, banging on them with dummies and stuff so that they really have to focus on it. We've spent 15 minutes a day doing that by group. So they are getting 10-15 catchings per ten minutes just rapid fire ... and they have, they've caught the ball really well.

(on Dondrial not spinning the laces to his fingers)
He's always done it. We can't imagine that that's causing the drops. He throws worse with the laces than he does without them. He's got very big hands. We did try to correct it (early in his career) and he threw the ball worse. It feels more comfortable to him without the laces. If he can deliver it without the laces then I am okay with it. When he delivers it otherwise then it becomes an issue. I've never ever been around a quarterback that throws without them (the laces).

(more on the dropped balls)
Offensively on the practice field and in the scrimmages we've been throwing and catching the ball extremely well. I mean there are receivers who have been catching the ball over 90% ... and we look at the drop charts and we have caught the ball better than we ever have. Then we get out here during games and it is like someone is throwing rattlesnakes at us - we can't catch it. That's the frustrating part.

(on playing against a player the caliber of David Pollack)
Oh definitely it gets your players' attention because your players watch that film too. You don't have to stand up and rant and rave about him because they can see it for themselves. I made the comment that I think he's the best player we have played against in the five years since we have been here and I haven't said that about anybody else. I think he is special - he's a difference maker. You gotta know where he is on the field, since I have been here I have never tried to or had to put a game plan together where I have had to say ... 'alrigh, where' Pollack.' You gotta know where he is and they do a great job, they move him around, it makes a difference and difficult to find him. He is a great player and yes he definitely throws some curve balls at you because they are going to do some things that make us ... we've challenged our players, there's going to be times in certain situations where you can't just run away from him all day. But there are certain situations where I am going to stay away from him. I think he is a great player for a couple of reasons but the things that really differentiates him from other players that we have gone against is that he plays extremely low. It makes him very hard to block because he gets his shoulders really low and his motor runs like nobody we have ever played. They have taken him and started playing him really wide which makes it hard to chip at him. We're challenging our tackles - Travelle and Na'Shan are going to have to handle him along with our tight ends.

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