On the first day in pads: “It’s good to get the pads on, get some hitting going. When you get the pads, you have to be calm up top, in the mental area. It’s interesting how you can change the mood when you put on (football) pants. We had shells the past two days so nothing changes, we’re still trying to get better, both in technique and upstairs and improve.”
On how the VICIS helmets have helped: “For us the helmet is just a bonus to help you stay safe. For us, we’ve made a big move in becoming a shoulder tackling team so we’re trying to take the head out of it altogether. Coach Petersen has done a good job in investigating it. I know the Seahawks have done it as well, getting it from rugby, you’ve seen it in the Olympics right now. So we’re trying to take care of our bodies and be safe for us, as the tacklers, but also for the ball-carrier and on top of that, the icing on the cake, try to get a helmet that will protect us if in fact we get hit in the head.”
On the jumbo package with Elijah Qualls, Vita Vea and Greg Gaines: “Coach Kwiatkowski has done a great job trying to be multiple in terms of fronts and that’s part of it – trying to get three bigger guys in there and then trying to put speed out there – so we’re doing as much of a rotation as we can to see where they’re comfortable.”
On Qualls’ versatility: “It helps because he knows the package really well. He’s a veteran in terms of that, it’s his fourth year doing it again and that always helps because he can answer questions for us, he can become a teacher for me showing the younger guys the ropes so it’s always good where somebody knows (the scheme already).
On whether he prefers speed or size: “Inside, I’d probably take size hoping we could plug up some gaps and Coach ‘K’ does a good job of moving you around and putting you in a place you wan to be and hopefully forcing the running back to go a certain direction and on the outside is where you want the speed and maybe force the quarterback up the field if we can.”