We had a really good work day today. We had the officials out here, a full crew. Which is good for us. I asked them to call it really tight and they did. I think there were encouraging things and then things we have to work on. The encouraging things were that in 144 competitive plays, there was only one penalty, that was during the snap, a technique, a holding, an OPI or a DPI. The thing that we've got to get better at, and it was primarily the young guys, and its something we have to push through, was the pre-snap, the non-aggressive penalties. We had too many false starts, we were offside's once on a 3rd and down, where we stopped them, it's a 3rd and 5. they convert, the drive keeps going. We had one illegal substitution on defense. So those are the things that will hold a team back unless you address them, and we are, that's why we're bringing the officials out here. Once again, the first group is clean, for the most part, they play clean. But the young guys have to process the information that's called at the line of scrimmage with regard to the play or the defense we're calling. They've got to be able to process the snap count or the movement opposite them and they have to be able to react without jumping offside's because those are the penalties that knock you off schedule. On offense, we had two 4th and 1 and we're trying to draw the defense offside and instead we jump on the offensive front. So we have to clean those up and that's why we had the officials and we'll have them a couple more times before we play Nevada and that's been really good for us. I thought, from my perspective, that was the best practice we had. From a physical standpoint, all the things we got done, the focus, the energy, the situations, its practice number 11 or 12, a time when you typically see a lull, and I didn't see a lull. We have to keep driving. That being said, if that was a 11, the lull can't come at 12. We just have to keep pushing on and I think as a staff, we do that and I think our players accept it. We have a long ways to go still, a ton of work, and we're doing all the things we have to do to become a better football team. It's just locking in on eliminating those mistakes that hurt us last year.
On if the younger guys should be better at this point:
No. It's just overwhelming at this point. You get a guy like Caleb in there, who's going against the 1s and he's running against Seali'i and Cassius and there is so much going on in his his mind that you're going to have those things. The thing is, you can't accept them, you can't walk off the field and say 'it happens' and you can't let them feel that. You have to keep the pressure on and say 'we're counting on you, that's not acceptable' and we did. But I understand it at this point. As we move forward, you become much less tolerant with those things.
On if some guys do that better at different rates:
I think sure. I think it has a lot to do with their football IQ, I think it has a lot to do with their experience, I think it has a lot to do with the physical condition that they're in. I think it has a lot to do with familiarity with our scheme. But I think if you're talking about younger guys, I think background, where they came from, how quick they can learn and process the information.
On if his philosophy on penalties has changed:
My philosophy, you can't just clump all penalties into the same category. So I evaluate them differently. But are emphasis has to be on eliminating those things. I don't want us to be in a situation where, you know, we have a pretty talented football team, physically, but we have to match that emotionally and mentally and not have those penalties. And the only way you can do that is by continuing to drill them in those areas. You continue to put it 4th and 1, we're going for it, hard count, you try to get them to join. Working through it.
On Kenny Lacy and Scott Quessenberry:
They're doing fine. They're freshman and they're doing fine. I haven't watched them as much. Scott, we're asking him to do some guard and some center and that doubles the burden for him. But he's a smart kid, he works hard and I like him. I like them both. All of our young linemen are going to be good players. Right now, John Lopez and Alex Redmond aren't out here. Poasi should be back, if not tonight, maybe tomorrow. But I like all those guys.
On comparing Brett Hundley this year from last year:
Much more confident. He has a better feel for the offense. I think the fact they he could take the offseason and process everything that happened to him last year, watch all the film, really evaluate himself, rather than watch it and get ready for the next game, which you have to do during the season, I think that's really helped him. He looks like a better decision maker. I'm still trying to get him to slide without getting his cleats stuck in the ground, like he almost did again today. He needs to get his feet up when he slides, so he doesn't have what happened last year when he caught his foot and sprained his ankle. I think it's a great sign to the development that he's made and to the potential that we say and it's all those little things that make a difference between winning and losing at a high level. So we have to continually focus on those. I see him making better decisions. I see him throwing the ball away quicker which sometimes, that's a good play for us, we don't need to take sacks. It's progress, but we have to keep the peddle down, we have to keep going and we have to keep the pressure on these kids.
On Fabien Moreau:
Fabien is going to be a good corner. What you like about Fabien is that he can really drop his hips and change direction. He's got burst. He's got long arms and as he learns to be more patient at the line of scrimmage, works out his footwork in transition, he'll be better and better. He's got good ball skills. He can find it quickly in the air. You see corners who can get themselves in position but can't find the ball quickly in the air. But Fabien can do that. He can accelerate. He's got noticeable change in momentum at the moment of recognition.
On the running backs:
The running back spot right now, in my opinion, there is five guys we can count on going in there to play. Craig's not in that group yet, but that doesn't mean he can't get into that group, hes' a freshman. He missed the summer work with us. But I like him, I think he's athletic, and he's picking the system up quickly. Guys like Jordon James, and Steven Manfro and Malcolm Jones and Paul Perkins, Thiggy when he gets back, they're just ahead of him right now.
On the difference between Kylie Fitts and the other freshman:
15 practices at our tempo against the bigger guys that they're facing. In high school, you take a guy like Kylie, I would say it was seldom that he faced a 320-pound offensive tackle that was really skilled. Yet every day, he came out here and got to do that, that a guy like Kenny Clark, for instance, didn't. He understands the energy, the focus and the effort it's going to take to compete at this level. And you see it. But right now is the time that I think all the freshman should start to make a jump. They've got a number of practices under their belt and I do see them making a jump. I've been very impressed by our freshman class, like our skill guys. I don't know how much time that Darren Andrews will see or Jalen Ortiz or Eldridge, but you see those guys making progress and you can tell they have a lot of ability.
On Damien Thigpen's recovery:
You know, he's doing good, in talking to our athletic trainers. I hate to put a time table on things, because if he exceeds it, why'd you hold him back. If he doesn't reach it, then what happened. He should be ready at some point earlier in the season then the midway point. If he's not, that's ok, at that position, it's just so important that he have the confidence. That he can put his foot on the ground and go and not wobble. There are 11 guys trying to hit him every play. So I want to make sure he can move. We haven't had to hold him back at all. The thing you have to do with Damien is hold him back a little bit. We have to say, that's enough. There is a gradual progression to get him back on the field, between Sal Alosi and Anthony Venute.
On Eddie Vanderdoes:
He should be back out there tonight. He went through the individual's today and probably tonight (with team). He feels good. But I wanted to see how reacted this afternoon.
On Eric Kendricks:
Kendricks is close. Really close. I think the plan is for Monday, when we're back in Westwood, to get him some team and slowly integrate him in. That gives him two weeks of practice before Nevada so he should be good to go. If there is a silver lining in him not practicing, its that guys like Isaac Savaiianea are getting more work, Cameron Judge is getting more work, Ryan Hofmeister, not that he needed it, but he's getting more work. The young guys are getting extra work.
On Brendan Cross:
He's playing both (receiver and quarterback). A guy like him has real value because he can play some special teams, he could be your holder. You can only travel with 70 guys so He can be your crossover guy, your emergency quarterback, so we're moving him around. He's an athletic guy, he's pretty tough.
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