On the week so far “The week is good. We’re kind of in the dog days of fall camp. Really proud, we had a great practice this morning. Because it’s hard, there are a lot of guys who are banged up and sore and stiff with 20-some practices. So now we have to not waste these next few practices before we really get into game plan type stuff. Today was real good.”
Is the intensity picking up knowing that the season is around the corner? “I think they’re still, like I said, kind of in that camp mode, because we haven’t started game-planning. We haven’t presented any game plan to them. But when we do I think that will perk them up a little bit. But we’re right around the corner from that. It’s getting close.”
Is it too early to find the personality of the team? “I don’t think you can do that until you play some games, do some hard things, see how they respond.”
Do you usually let veterans help you dictate the tempo of practice? “I always think it’s best when most of the stuff comes from the locker room. If you want to get things done it has to come from the locker room. It’s just really nice when the leaders of the team are on the same page as the coaches. That’s when you’re heading in the right direction. We have some really good leaders on this team. We feel really good about their mindset and the things that they come up with and things they think are important. I think that’s how it should be. We’re all in this together. They have a great pulse on what’s going on in that locker better than the coaches do. It’s smart for us to pay attention to what they say.”
Will there be season captains or week to week? “That’s a good question. Are we talking about the coin flip or what are we talking about?”
Is it important for you to set season captains? “Not really, because I think that the leaders are kind of selected in the locker room and by the team. And I don’t think it’s one or two or three guys when you have it going. And I don’t think we just have one or two or three guys. I think the coin toss is something completely different. Everybody thinks ‘oh, the captains.’ And that’s not exactly how I think of it.”
Is who you choose for coin toss strategic? “It has been in the past, but I think moving forward there is some strategicness behind it. But it doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with the leadership of this team. Could be, but not necessarily.”
Are you starting to make redshirt decisions? “Yeah, we’re getting close. It will be at the end of this week. But it won’t be finalized. There will be a couple guys we’ll say ‘hey, we’re going,’ and a couple guys we’re going to say ‘let’s see how the next three weeks go.’ Yeah, you adjust accordingly. There will be a guy you think you’re going to redshirt and maybe something happens game five where you had a string of injuries where it’s like ‘okay, now the plans are very different.’”
Will there be fewer true freshmen playing than the previous two seasons? “I think it will be fewer. I think in the ideal world you would like to redshirt all of them. But I think they are better players than it’s been 10 years ago and they’re ready to play. I think you’re going to always have that. You’re going to have some – and you’re depth is never where you need it. As much as you try to plan on that it’s just not going to be where you need it always.”
On Austin Joyner “He and Quentin Pounds both had the same injury, and both those guys have been impressive in terms of how they bounced back for this fall camps. A lot of times you go into fall camp and you’re like ‘hey, we have to ease them into this, they aren’t ready.’ And those guys hit the ground running. We’ve been really impressed. We’ve seen out of Austin (Joyner) what we saw in high school. I think that guy is a very ferocious competitor. I think he competes really hard. I think he’s still learning that position at corner, but he’s a really good competitor, he’s a really good athlete, and I think he’s one of those guys, again, who can play multiple positions. But I’ve been pleased with his progress.”
Is Austin Joyner in the mix at kick returner? “Yeah, he’ll be in the mix with some kick returning. He was great with the ball in his hands when he was in high school. It’s another way that could possibly happen.”
Did David Ajamu tear his ACL last year? “No. He has not had, not last year. It was not an ACL. It was a different tendon.”
On Sean Constantine’s injury “Sean (Constantine) did have a bad injury. He broke his ankle. He’s going to have surgery here shortly. Yeah. That’s going to be months of rehab for that one. Those are the hard ones. This kid has worked his tail off. He’s had some injuries in the past, even through spring and has gotten himself in great shape. Then he has another significant injury. He’s been, these past few days, spectacular in terms of his mindset, his mentality when you know it’s going to cost you that much playing time.”
Are you coming out of the scrimmage otherwise pretty healthy? “Yeah. It was really good, except for that one. I don’t know what it is. It seems like you always have those early, whether it’s in fall camp early in the season. Just kind of a freak deal really is what it was."
Are things still up in the air with the backup QB? “It is. Those guys are competing their tails off. It was a little bit like the situation last year trying to figure out who the starter was. We’re still trying to figure that out. I think those guys will compete for some more time. We still have a handful of days left to figure it out. We’re trying. They’ve got a lot of reps. It will probably be week by week unless one guy really starts to emerge."
Will Jake Browning be the starter? “Yeah. I think he’ll be the starter for this first game and he better produce. We’ll see.”