Toledo's Comments

Here are various comments by Head Coach Bob Toledo over the last several days, including his thoughts on the freshmen making the transition to college, he and Cory Paus bonding, Marcedes Lewis' positions, and the impact of the new information age...

On his overall impression of the team after a few days of practice...

"We're off to a real good start. I'm really excited about what we're doing and what we've accomplished. We're putting in a lot of things in and looking at a lot of players. And we're just preparing for Wednesday to put the pads on. I'm just really pleased with the effort and attitude right now. Normally after three or four practices there's a letdown, and we haven't had a letdown yet."

On how the transition is on the true freshmen...

"The biggest thing is the Internet and the Superpreps, the recruiting services. All of these guys are stars coming out of high school. Then they get here and realize that there are a lot of good football players already here. So that more than anything makes you laugh at the whole process. There's so much hype and so much pressure on these kids. I had a talk with the freshman group, because they were all highly recruited, all blue chippers, in high school. Then they come in here and what's going on? My message to them is be patient. You'll get your turn. Keep learning and working hard, and be a good example as a player and as a person. But let them know – your turn will come. This is usually the time of year when I talk to them. They're getting that look. Homesick, asking ‘What am I doing?' And you have to explain to them that this is normal. You're going to be homesick, you're in a foreign place, you're going to be beat up, with new friends. It's all different."

On someone who would be a good example of benefitting from patience...

"Ryan Smith is a good example. He came in here and was at the bottom of the barrel, and was about ready to quit. He decided to hang in there, we talked about it, had a great conversation, he came back and battled, and was on the scout team for the whole year. Then the next year he played and had the winning touchdown against Ohio State."

On the improvement of the young defensive backs...

"The young defensive backs, there's no question they've all made some strides. They've all improved from a year ago. And a couple of freshmen are looking pretty good, too. So I'm really pleased with the progress of those guys. Marcus Cassel, Matt Clark, Ben Emanuel, Jibril Raymo – they've all stood out. They've all been good. The freshman, Glenn Ohaeri, has been good, and Jarrad Page has been impressive."

On the effect of having less depth this year than last...

"Unlike a year ago, when we had a lot of experience, we could afford a couple of injuries. We can't afford as many injuries as we did a year ago. Injuries to key positions could really hurt us.

On being on the hot seat...

"I don't worry about that stuff. Mike Price, a friend of mine, was on the hot seat a year ago. You just have to go about your business, work hard and do what you believe in. I think I've proven I'm a good football coach. And I think if I do a good enough job I don't have a problem. I'm going to work hard and do the best job that I can do."

On how he and Cory Paus have had some bonding...

"Cory and I have both been bashed in the papers the last few months. We have our backs to the wall. So we're going to come out and fight."

On being picked in the middle of the Pac-10 by various media services...

"I don't really pay attention to it. A few years ago we were picked eighth and then we were co-champions of the conference and went to the Cotton Bowl. So I don't put too much creedence in those things. You guys pick those things and you really don't know what you're talking about, right? You still have to play the games. Key players can get hurt. You lose a key game by a point. Ball bounces the wrong way. I know the guys that were picked to win the championship, they wish the season was over right now. Because they know they have a lot of football to play."

On the potential for true freshmen playing this season...

:When you lose 23 seniors and you bring in a freshmen class, more freshmen have to contribute. I think this year we could go all the way up to twelve true freshmen. I don't think it will get to that number, but I think there will be more this year than a year ago that will help us. Particularly in special teams. Linebackers, defensive backs, those guys help on special teams."

About the three redshirt freshmen tailbacks...

:I think those three freshmen are going to play a little bit. Wendell Mathis has put on a few pounds. I think he's 197 pounds. He looks good, he had a real good spring. He's a talented guy. That's the reason we didn't recruit a freshman tailback. We recruited Ohaeri, but we thought he was a corner. So, we really didn't need a running back last year. I think these three guys will do a real good job for us."

On Marcedes Lewis and how many positions he might play...

"He's a special guy. When you're 6-6, 240 pounds, and as athletic as it gets, he is going to play as a true freshman. He was one of the best players in the country. Not many of these kids come around in your lifetime. He's a jewel. He's a special guy. But he's coming into a position where we have some pretty good depth. Mike Seidman is a heck of a football player, as is Keith Carter. All three are going to play. The thing is – you just can't overload him. We have some other guys, too, who are pretty good. We're going to put him in as a tight end, at H back, and split him out as a wide receiver. As far as pass rush, it's really difficult to play both ways as a freshman. But one of the things I'm going to do while at Cal Lutheran is, when we have a pass rush drill, I'm going to grab Marcedes and get him to line up. I'll put him against Bohlander and let him rush and see how good he really is. If he sacks the quarterback either Bohlander has a problem or I better play Marcedes."

On how the college football world is different today, in relation to keeping players from getting in trouble and trying to keep information from getting out...

"Things have changed quite a bit. Just recently, it's changed a bit. The Internet. You have guys like Tracy. The Internet has changed things. You also get more investigative reporters. When I was at Texas A&M, there was one reporter. We had press day and two guys showed up. And he didn't report everything sometimes. Here, and now, you have reporters trying to make a name for themselves. They'll investigate things and they find out a lot more. I just think people are becoming more aware of it. You read the paper and the Internet every day, you listen to the talk shows every day, which I don't, you're going get a lot of it. It happens all over the country. It's happening in this conference and all over the country. Hopefully you can limit it and narrow it down. You coach them and educate them. You hope that they're grown up enough not to have those kind of problems. Unfortunately, it's happened in the past, but it's going to happen in the future, here or somewhere else. You have to hope it doesn't happen, and we're going to try like heck to make sure it doesn't."

A few injury updates:

Cory Paus has been limited by a sore throwing arm. Craig Bragg sat out some of Tuesday's practice due to a pulled hamstring. C.J. Niusulu's injury is a hip flexor, not a knee strain. sat out most of practice with a sore right (throwing) arm, one of several minor injuries that sidelined players. Paus, who also has a cut on his rib cage under his right arm, is expected to practice today.


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