On day three - “Three practices, basically. And that’s all we can ask for is those guys working hard and tomorrow getting a little bit better than today.
Happy to hit each other a little bit - “They do. We try and hold them back for a while, a week or so, and two weeks they get sick of hitting each other and they look for somebody else to hit.”
First full team practice - “It’s good. We do like dividing them up the first couple practices. We feel like we get a lot done, a lot of reps. But it’s nice having everybody together. There’s pluses and minuses to both. It would be nice to keep them separate for a few more days. We used to do that a couple years ago, but we felt like two was the right number. You get more work when you divide them, but it’s nice to get them all together as soon as we can, so the old guys can really teach the young guys - let alone the coaches. They can see the energy and the enthusiasm that goes with playing and practicing at a high level.”
Lot of energy today - “Yeah. We’re not in full pads. You can still get a lot of work done and it all starts with really good energy. They had that today, so there was a lot of good work.”
How are you going to find playing time for everybody in the secondary? - “It’ll always be the little things. Probably the most injured crew on the team is the secondary. You have to have a lot of guys there because you’re going to go through them. For whatever reason, it’s the position that seems to need a lot of players. So we don’t worry about that, we’re going to need them all.”
How about the front and your rotation? - “Those big guys need to subbed. There’s a reason they are so big, they can only go for so long. Right now day three, we have some depth. It’s a long, long season. If we can keep them healthy it would be a great situation because we really do need to rotate those guys for sure. But we’re pleased with how hard they are playing."
On Connor Griffin and Nik Little and using them in the red zone - “We haven’t even gotten to the red zone yet. But they are tall guys and when we get into the red zone we’re really splitting hairs. The margin of error is minute. Sometimes it comes down to body size and body type. We’ll see if they can win a one-on-one battle. That’s what it’s going to come down too a lot of times in the red zone."
On tight end Drew Sample - “I think we’ve got a lot of good guys at tight end. He’s a physical guy, 250 pounds, he moves pretty well. He’s one of those guys who I think would rather block guys than catch touchdown passes. Don’t get me wrong, he’d like to catch touchdown passes. We’d all like to have him do that. But he’s just got that mentality that he’s pretty tough in there and likes to block guys.”
On Lavon Coleman looking bigger - “I don’t know if he’s much bulkier. He’s pretty put together. He doesn’t need to be more put together. We’ve got to make sure he stays a step fast. We’re always into speed. He’s plenty big enough. So yeah, first couple days, he’s done a nice job. I think he’s working on developing vision. That’s what it’s always about at that running back position. So he’s doing good.”
On when the offense/defense success rates might balance out - “We’re hopeful that both sides keep improving. They’re playing at a good, high level. A lot of those guys have played. They go against these guys all the time. Gone against them since spring. But we’re making strides, and when it’s all said and done, the offense will be OK.”
On installing more things this year at this time than the last two years - “Yeah, I think so. We’ve gotten a lot of stuff in for three days, and then we’ve still got a lot more coming. And then what happens is pare it way back, then hopefully we’ll be good during that week to make sure there’s really no mental errors whatsoever. So we certainly have probably more things in. …We’ve got to get a lot of stuff in, so when we play, we’re not introducing, Game 3, new concepts that they haven’t seen before.”
On the newcomers getting to practice with the veterans today - “We’ll see when we go put the tape on, but I think it’s good to just be out there, have everybody around them, see the different intensity, a lot more bodies around, how we move in practice. the last two days we’ve slowed things down pretty good, so now we try to pick it up a little bit because we have more bodies. They’ll adjust, but I think they’ve done well for the first couple days."
Was that why you brought the fans out for this practice? - “No, that was just a coincidence. We just kind of looked and said hey, what would be a good day to bring them out? Maybe good, maybe not, I don’t know."
Budda’s up almost 20 pounds coming into camp. Do you notice that? - “Yeah, he looks a little heavier. I go back to making sure he can move like he moved last year. There’s always that ideal weight — you like the guys as big and strong as they can be but if it costs them any speed, we’re not into that. But it looks like he’s moving pretty good.”
On Psalm Wooching as a factor in the pass rush - “He’s a fifth-year senior and he’s going to play for sure. He played significant snaps in the past and he’s another guy, his roles going to change. Some of the stuff you can’t really tell until you play the games — how they’re going to go against different guys they don’t know inside and out, you know? They kind of know each other pretty well (here); those guys on defense are pretty crafty in terms of knowing, ‘I can get this guy on a speed move’ (or) ‘I can get this guy on a bull rush’ and all that. So when you play for real sometimes guys you thought were really going to do some things don’t adjust as quick. Psalm has played a bunch, and he’s got to be a factor for us to be able to put pressure on the passer.”
How much better is Psalm that the past? - “A lot. He really is. It’s nice to see these guys who have been able to redshirt, take a couple years to develop and then really improve even their junior year, and if Psalm can take that one more step his senior year — those are the difference-makers, I always say. Those younger guys, those freshmen, they’ll continue to get better. But those seniors, fi they can really elevate their game — because it’s hard, they’ve been here and know a lot — so for those guys to take the next step I think is always harder. So we’re excited to see what he can do.”
How is John Ross looking so far? - “He’s holding up good. We’ve got to get him and Jake — a couple of those deep balls we’ve got to hit to change the game, you know? The last couple days we haven’t hit those. But it looks like he’s moving good.”