Dorrell's Thursday Comments

The football team went through a mock game at the Rose Bowl today, and head coach Karl Dorrell provides us all the info of how the team and coaching staff fared, including more...

Head coach Karl Dorrell and his staff took the team to the Rose Bowl today, and put them through a mock-game, simulating many different game-like situations.

Here are his comments when he met with the media this afternoon:

"When we were out on the field at 12:30, which is the time of the game last week, it was pretty warm out on that Rose Bowl field. But we need it to be warm probably. Practice was great. We kind of went through the whole game process. You name it, from fake punts to squib kicks, anything that could happen in the course of the game. We rehearsed it all. We didn't really tell the kids that things were coming up. But we told them before that they'd better be alert for everything. We really wanted to be sharp in our substitutions and getting our different teams on the field, and our different personnel groups on the field. We had a whole officiating crew working it. We had the scout team be the opponent. It was good. It was a night and day difference from last year. I felt really good that the guys were really locked in. We finished it a lot sooner than we thought. And we did a lot this morning too. We took our team picture, took group pictures, and were done early."

Did you win the mock game?

"Yes. In every phase. We won it all."

When you say night and day, in what regard?

"We're just so much further ahead in the process of camp, in terms of what things offensively we put in by such an early portion of camp. And same thing defensively. A lot of is because our kids did a lot of work this summer on their own, and learned certain things about certain situations in the game that have allowed us to keep moving forward. So they have a great comfort level with all that stuff right now, particularly offensively with the personnel groupings that we deal with on a daily basis. It's like water off their back right now, the substitutions. My concern today was how smooth the transition would be between all the teams. In special teams, you have some guys who are on certain teams, like your number one offense or number one defense, how they have to stay on the field, and when they're off the field. All that stuff ran really smoothly today. I was really encouraged that ran well. "And we broke camp today, too, so they were really excited about that. I told them there was good news and bad news. I told them that we broke camp. And the whole place roared. They were high-fiving. Then I I told the bad news, that they still have 6 a.m. weights tomorrow and a two-a-day tomorrow. They said, ‘You know, we'll take it.' They're pretty excited about this small bone they have, knowing camp was over."

In the game simulation, you have some coaches upstairs in the booth?

"We had the coaches that will be upstairs in the game. We had Jim (Svoboda) upstairs, and Mike Babcock, our graduate assistant, for offense. And on defense Gary DeLoach and (graduate assistant) Bryan Halsey upstairs. Then all the other coaches are down on the field."

Was Jon Embree going to be upstairs?

"There was talk about doing that earlier this summer. Jon wants to be down, just to help with the passing group. That's his responsibility. I think he feels it's important to be down, to manage that group. And it worked out well today. That was the biggest thing, the communication on the staff, getting the information you needed from upstairs. You're giving a lot of responsibility to some of the young people to do some of the work up there, and today they did a nice job."

Last year, Jon sent in the formations and Eric Bieniemy sent in the plays?

"It was that way. This year we have a signaler that sends in the play, and then we have two or three guys signaling personnel groupings. I don't want to get into details, obviously."

How much smoother will it go with Tom Cable down on the field compared to last year?

"Next Saturday we'll know the difference. But if there's any indication from today, it will be considerably smoother. He's very organized. He's structured the staff where they have a clear-cut feeling of what their responsibilities are on game day. It was good to hear that when I was listening in on offense and on defense. I think a big key for us will have Brian Schneider, who is our special teams coordinator, down on the field. He wasn't down last year. I think that's key. So there will be a lot of continuity on the field. He's the one that speaks with the special teams players in practice. It's like anything. When you have the quarterbacks coach on the field, and a guy may go down and you have to replace that guy with your back-up, he's that good calming effect to have down. That worked out pretty well today."

So, there was no first string against first string today?

"It was a game simulation. And a thud practice, wasn't a scrimmage, like with tempo or anything like that."

Have you decided on kick returners?

"Not yet."

Depth charts?

"Not yet. It's probably Monday. Reason being is I know that's when they (the doctors) will release them (some injured players). We'll officially do it when we get them released."

Did the guys with the knee injuries participate at all this morning?

"No, they did not. I didn't want them to. The more time they can spend getting ready for Monday the better off they will be. I don't want any over-zealous guys going out there too early on a mock-game when they could have used the extra time. Tim Warfield did practice today. We knew he'd be back by the end of the week. Kevin Brown was walking around a lot better than he was yesterday. It's funny when he found out the injury was not significant he was better. Young kids, you know? So those are encouraging things."

Is there a time every year when you know the team is game ready? Is that now?

"The mental part is really coming together. Today was a great sign of that. Between now and a week from today we have to sharpen up with some crispness and getting our legs back. But I was really encouraged today. They locked in and I was like, ‘Whoa.' We're close to where we need to be. We just need some rest and get ourselves ready to go."

What do you have planned for this afternoon?

"They're breaking camp right now. When we pulled in on the bus, they were running off the bus, getting upstairs to make sure I don't change my mind. As we speak, they're checking out right now. They're pretty fired up."

What made you decide to break camp today?

"We knew this early on. To me if we wouldn't have been close to where we should be, I would have just let it ride. But we were further ahead, in a lot of different respects. We need to start freshening up. I figured with this team, with the work they did this summer, that we'd break early, because they did such a nice job on their own."

How much of the playbook is in now? This time last year you were saying about 25% of the playbook...

"Well, we have the whole book in now, of what is a book. We went through eleven installations, and they retained them all. We aren't going to use all of that for Oklahoma State. We'll tailor it down to whatever package we'll use for Oklahoma State. It's all been put in. I would say 80%."

How much do you think the kids benefit from the staff cohesion that has taken place?

"It's huge. It's big to get everyone on the same page. It's huge. If you have a great cohesive staff, who have a great feel for what their responsibilities are, and they have some over-lapping mechanism in different areas, but there's someone taking care of it when something does get out of the box, so to speak. The players sense that. They know. When they feel, ‘Hey, this group, they know what they're doing.' It gives them that much more confidence in the coaches, and that much more belief in what we're doing. It goes both ways, though. Our players did a hell of a job this summer. So we put a lot of trust in them, too. The efforts they put in makes us feel good, and makes us want to perform our best efforts. I think it goes hand in hand."

Are you getting the type of leadership you were hoping for in training camp?

"We are. And it's just not seniors. The natural tendency is to think it's seniors are the ones to do it, but we have some juniors that are stepping up to carry that load. And sophomores, and down the line. I've encouraged everyone on this team, don't be afraid to be a leader. Everyone can lead. It doesn't take just one person to be a leader. We can all lead. Everyone has different measures of leadership. Collectively, then you put it together. Leadership is your responsibility in this program. And you should take a great deal of pride in that, and sign your signature to that. In building a team, let's build this thing with everyone being accountable. And then you have the ones that have stepped out, and taken the bull by the horns, and taken it a step further. That's what I'm encouraged about with this team. They're coming together as a team. I'm starting to feel that now. There is an element of closeness right now, and things are different than they were a year ago."

How are they smaller injuries?

"Joe Cowan is fine. He's still sore, with his groin. He'll be fine. He did work today. Jarrad Page practiced today. J.J. Hair did not. He's just now cleared for his 24-hour window. As soon as he's symptom-free, he has to have 24 hours symptom-free. Then they exert him, so tomorrow they'll run him and see if the symptoms return. If they don't he'll be cleared for Saturday. That's the process for those head traumas."

How about Eyoseph Efseaff?

"Yo did some work today, not much, but some. The one that didn't do anything is Justin London. He's still on one crutch and still in the boot. So that will be a little while. I think the small nagging injuries will be fine and ready to go by Monday."

Do you think that includes Efseaff?

"He should be. We're going to practice tomorrow two times, and then in the morning on Saturday, and not too heavy. He ought to be ready to go full-bore on Monday."

Did Keith Carter get through camp well enough to play?

"That's a very good question. He hasn't really been through a normal schedule yet. That's something we'll have to consult with him about and the doctors, in terms of his availability, if any, for this game. We'd love to use him if he's ready for it. I have some concerns, that he really has had that many reps."

Are you planning on using Tab Perry as a kick returner?

"We are utilizing him back there. We haven't gotten the official word yet with Tab, even though we think that will happen. He is working in areas that we'd love to use him. To say that he's going to be something definite, we haven't gotten the final yet on him. He's practiced hard, and done some good things. He looks good returning, I'll tell you that. I can't really put him on the depth chart."

Do you have a date all the way up to kick-off time?

"I'm hoping a lot sooner than that. I'm hoping by the early part of next week. But that's in the NCAA. They'll get to us when the get back to us. We can't rush that. We're at their mercy."

Does it affect your game plan at all?

"Sure it does. It'd be perfect if we had an answer by Monday. We could move forward and do what we need to do for the course of the week. What we'll have to do is work a number of people, until we know for sure. And that includes Tab. Keep him in the fold. We're optimistic. But you do have to cover your bases."

For the mock-game, did you do anything different as a result of what you learned last year in games? "We re-structured a lot of things that way, in terms of the program, from top to bottom. We structured the mock-game a little bit different, only in respect to make sure we have all of our bases covered. I think last year we might not have done two or three things that in the course of last season happened. For instance, the overtime issue. We had an overtime game against Cal. Just to go through that process, making sure everyone's on the same page."

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