Anyobdy look especially good today?
David Shaw: Chris Owusu, two back-to-back really good practices has really inspired a lot of confidence that he's back and 100 percent. That's been really exciting. I thought our safeties ran around really well today. Delano Howell and Michael Thomas were really impressive.
Was there ever a time last year when Chris was 100 percent?
DS: No. I would say at best he was 80 percent and when he was 80 percent he was still the fastest guy on the field.
How difficult is it for a guy like that to lose a season and get back out here and rediscover himself?
DS: It's not hard for Chris because Chris is such a positive human being. He wakes up every morning with a smile on his face and he's ready to go. He's had just some crazy things happen to him. Just legitimate, real injuries that take 2-3 weeks. The concussion at Oregon and he comes back in a couple weeks and is great and he gets hurt again and is gone for a couple weeks but every time he set foot on the field he was outstanding at 80 percent.
What makes Jonathan Martin such a great tackle?
DS: First of all, he's huge. He's big, but he's not fat. That's what a lot of people don't understand about playing that position. The really, really good ones, they're big, but they're extremely athletic. Jonathan Martin, he's big, but you don't see a belly on him at all. But he's strong and he's athletic. You point at some of these guys and say what their strength is, he does run blocking and pass blocking equally well. I think he's as good as there is in the nation right now.
And DeCastro probably a similar thing? I don't even know what his neck size is but I'd like to find out. What about him, is he a similar NFL prospect, what makes him special?
DS: No question. David is physical, very strong, love him when he's at the point of attack, but then he's so athletic, we love him on the backside as well because he can cut off on the backside and he does a great job pulling and adjusting to defenses as they move when he's moving. He's once again just impressive. And what I love about both of those guys is that they're impressive every day in practice. And that's the standards we've set here, that our best players practice their butts off and those guys are doing that.
Will you be just as apt to use a jumbo, or whatever you want to call it, giant formation, as your predecessor?
DS: We will use everybody and anybody. Whether that's seven offensive linemen or five receivers, or five running backs, or whatever it is, that's what training camp is about for us, finding out how many guys can play for us in many different situations and many different positions.
Talk about the responsibilities of voting in the coaching poll and how do you deal with that here?
DS: I take it very seriously and I want to take my time doing it. We're all working hard in this business, we're all trying to win football games. I trust my staff implicitly knowing that if I take a little bit of time every single week and try to take a peek at other teams, the top teams in the nation, once again, I love doing it anyway because we love seeing what other people are doing, but at the same time, being involved in that process, I do think coaches should have a hand in evaluating other teams.
So the final 25 that get turned in are done by you, they're not done by someone else in the program?
DS: Absolutely done by me.
How about Toilolo, it was tough last year losing him, is he okay?
DS: He's been great. He's just so big. But the thing we love about him too is that he's a physical on the line blocker as well, he's the complete tight end.
It was unfortunate he got hit right there [in the lower body against Sacramento State last season], that won't be the last time he gets hit right there, he's such a tall guy, they're going to hit him low.
DS: Exactly. He's 6-foot-8, any defensive back in their right mind is going to hit him low and he understands that. We've talked a lot about combating that and the value of his knee braces and being able to really get off and maybe make guys miss and break some tackles.
With James McGillicuddy, I remember seeing something that mentioned you guys petitioned for a seventh year of eligibility, right?
DS: He was legitimately injured three different years. He got a sixth year, and I think it would have taken the president of the United States to actually get him a seventh year.
So that was never a realistic option?
DS: It was not going to happen.
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