Jon Gruden Transcript — Oct. 24

Here is the complete post-practice transcript from Buccaneers head coach Jon Gruden for Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2007, with comments about Maurice Stovall, Jovan Haye and the Jacksonville defense:

on injured players

Alex Smith, Mike Clayton, Michael Pittman and Brian Kelly did not practice.

on Maurice Stovall filling in if Clayton is out Sunday

You never like to see a guy get hurt, but Maurice Stovall is a guy we think's a pretty good player. How good he is, he'll determine that. We're anxious to see where he is, we're confident in him and we need him. With that said, let's see what happens.

on Jovan Haye's play

He's doing okay. The sacks are something that's exciting. He does have pass-rush ability. We need everybody on the team now to pick it up, and we'll rely on Jovan Haye. He's our starting under tackle and that position requires a guy to make a difference.

on if there is a better set of defensive tackles in the NFL than Jacksonville's John Henderson and Marcus Stroud

I don't know. These guys are outstanding. They're excellent indeed. Henderson and Stroud have backed that up for years. I'm impressed with their defense. [Paul] Spicer – no one talks about him. They've got [Bobby] McCray on one side and [Reggie] Hayward on the other but this number 95, Spicer, is having a great year. He's a mean guy, a tough player. Getting Mike Peterson back to anchor the middle of their defense really helps them. They're a good football team and Rashean Mathis and Brian Williams gives them two good corners.

on what he sees in Reggie Nelson

You see a first-round draft choice with a lot of range. He's a very good football player. He's a good blitzer. He plays a lot of coverages well for a rookie. They're playing quarters here, the next play it's two-deep, the next play they're blitzing. This guy handles a lot of football well, and he can run and hit and I'm impressed.

on if Ike Hilliard is going to be the one to return punts with Mark Jones out

We've got three guys who can do it. I think Ike is a sure-handed guy, a north-south runner with some elusiveness. He's played really good football for us, and we'll need him to do that chore, if that's what you call it – that job. It's not an easy job. Some of these punters are unbelievable, the way they can punt the ball and make it rattle and roll up in the air. You have to have a guy who can handle it, and he can do that. [Phillip] Buchanon can hit home runs, I think. He's had some issues with his hand; that's one of the reasons why we haven't used him back there. Joey Galloway is a guy that is dying to do it, but we've got to be selective with those opportunities.

on who will return kickoffs

Torrie Cox has done it. You've seen him do it before and he'll have an opportunity to do it again.

on Garcia going seven games without an interception

That's impressive. He's in a new offense. It's not like he's been in this offense his whole life. He's playing with a lot of young guys, different receivers and backs coming and going. Not only has he not thrown an interception, he's throwing for almost 70 percent completions. He's doing a lot of great things. I give him a lot of credit.


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