Beckman Transcript: Part I

Part I of a two part 15-minute transcript from Toledo head coach Tim Beckman's Media Day press conference. In this portion the new Rockets head coach talks about everything from Aaron Opelt, the Rockets overwhelming depth at the running back position and how competition will breed success at the University of Toledo.

Q: Start with your impressions from the first two days of practice…
A: I think they've been real productive. The first two days were split up into two different teams. We had a blue team and a gold team. We do that because it's better, especially with a new staff coming in and being involved with new players, we thought it would be better for us to be with those kids and coach those kids. It's kind of like an NFL practice in all honesty. You've got somewhere around 50-55 kids on each team so it's a lot like an NFL practice. The individual time that we got to spend with those kids was excellent and not just the freshman but all o f them because we're such a new staff. I thought it was good. Then this morning we practiced and got the whole team together. Today we got to put the shoulder pads on and get after it pretty well.

Q: How did this morning's practice go?
A: I think it went great. It's great that first day when we've got the shells on, what we call the uppers. They did a very good job. They were very eager as all of them are when you start that first practice. They were smacking people in the mouth and playing hard. They were probably on the ground a little bit too much. I always talk to them about practicing like the pros and staying on your feet, but other than that I thought I thought both offensively and defensively (they were great), of course I think the defense is a little ahead of the offense but that's usually anywhere when you start during two-a-days.

Q: Were you at Carter or the Glass Bowl?
A: We were right out here in the Glass Bowl.

Q: Rain didn't bother you at all?
A: No, heck no. I just tweeted and said hey "remember we play football in the rain" so we're going to have fan appreciation right under the press box. We're going to get things done. We're not going to come out and complain.

Q: What are your early impressions of the team so far?
A: Again, I think the 20 senior leaders are leading this team very well. I think Coach Court did a great job getting our kids in shape this summer. Our kids have bought into what college football is all about. It's not just a physical game. It's a mental game, learning the game itself. I'm impressed with the way the seniors are leading us.

Q: Aaron sat out the spring with the injury, how is he looking and is there any concern about him missing that time with the new scheme?
A: He was involved in the first eight practices with us and then missed the next seven. No, I think in today's game with as much as this has become a 12 month ordeal, they do a lot on their own during the summer. You can get that extra work in during the summer and he's done an outstanding job and he's back running with our No. 1's right now.

Q: You said the depth chart is in pencil right now, is that the same for all positions including Quarterback?
A: Yes, David Pasquale had a heck of a morning. He threw the ball extremely well and ran the ball well. There's competition at every position, and that's the game of life. That's everything that I've talked to these kids about. We're trying to build not just a football team, but an individual, a successful individual. We're going to compete in everything we do. We had depth chart changes this morning where we had Stephen Williams run with the No. 2's. That's the way it's going to be. They're going to be evaluated every practice and the guys that are going to play are the ones that are the most consistent.

Q: Is anybody else pushing Opelt right now bedsides (Pasquale)…
A: I think a couple of the freshmen have stepped up. Austin Dantin's done a good job. Alex Pettee's had two really good practices. We split those guys up, Alex and Aaron were split apart so they each got a lot of reps, but Dantin's really picked it up and done a great job also.

Q: Any other freshman that have stood out so far?
A: Name wise, Eric Paige, really all three wide receivers have had a good camp. Julian Belanger, Eric Paige and Ed Williams have all shown up on film making plays, catching the football and getting up field and doing what they're supposed to do. It's a learning process that they're going through. The true freshman linebackers have been very, very good. Danny Molls has done a very good job and Robert Bell, the two guys that have really stepped in and learned it quick because it's on the run. They've gotten it done and been successful. Christian Smith, T.J. Fatinikun and Ben Pike have done a great job for us along with the junior college transfer Johnny Roberts.

Q: Can you talk about Stafford & Danny Noble and what you've seen from them?
A: I see them continually improving. It's a new scheme for everybody. Stafford ran with the No. 2's today. We made a whole change with the No. 1's and No. 2's, not with the purpose of them being punished, it was that we've got to make sure that all of our guys catch the football from Aaron. We took the No. 1's and really moved them down to No. 2's and moved the No. 2's up to No. 1's in the skill positions so we can all play with one another. The philosophy in football now is to make sure you've got 22 guys on offense and 22 guys on defense because it's a long season they play for you. The thinking isn't that he moved down because he didn't have a good practice, it was because we wanted to move the No. 2's up to get some practice with different guys.

Q: You've got a unique situation with two running backs that played extremely well last year. Does it really matter who the starter is at this point?
A: You know, they're competing extremely well at this point, and I just tweeted this also. I thought that the three running backs, all three running backs had outstanding practices this morning, outstanding. Not that we're going to the wishbone or anything, but those three running backs did a great job. DaJuane Collins hit a couple plays up the cut and caught the ball out of the backfield extremely well. So did Morgan and Jake Walker. That's the greatest thing we have right now, we have some good football players and they're all competing. They're all getting after one another and making themselves better and making this team better.

Q: Have you seen a collection of running backs like this? Arguably the two best running backs in the MAC and they're on the same team…
A: They're definitely competing. You have to add Jake Walker. People haven't seen Jake because he had that injury last year, but Jake Walker's had an outstanding couple of days here in the last three days. Again, I think competition makes everyone better. Competition makes DaJuane better, it makes Morgan better, it makes Jake better. It does the same thing at our wide receiver position and it does the same thing for Barry Church, Isaiah Ballard is having a good camp here at the start. I talk to them about this everyday that competition is going to make us all better.

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