Holmgren Wraps Up First Day

The first day of rookie minicamp was the official start of Mike Holmgren's last season, and the coach had a lot to talk about after. Here are his thoughts on all the new faces, the running game, and what it's like without the former MVP on the roster.

(On there not being many mistakes on the first day of mini-camp…) “I think it was pretty good today. Our offseason program, we are having pretty good participation in it and we are spending a little bit more time in the morning prior to the start of this thing in dealing with some of the stuff so they came in a little bit more aware. And then our young guys really tuned in pretty good and did a nice job I thought.”

(On what the new players have to deal with on day one…) “First of all, the playbook. The brand new guys, our draft choices, they are seeing this time for the first time and they are kind of spinning and they want to do well. We are asking them perhaps to do different techniques than they are used to. One of the good things about the first mini camp is that you get a chance for them to come out here and get the butterflies out, get everything done so when they come back the newness of it isn’t bothering them too much.”

(On what you can take from one day of practice…) “My message to them today in their meeting was, ‘look you are being evaluated everyday on everything you do.’ So yeah, there are going to be mistakes that take place in different things that take place, particularly with the new fellas the first day. Then, what you have to notice is - are they repeating things and you can coach to that.”

Seattle Seahawks running back Julius Jones, left, talks with head coach Mike Holmgren as the NFL football team opened mini-camp at the team practice facility in Kirkland, Wash. on Friday, May 2, 2008. (AP Photo/Kevin P. Casey)

(On a lot of new guys in camp…) “Well, I have a cheat sheet. I get to know guy’s hair. I have the numbers, AJ (Durso) has put together a nice little sheet for me and if I see someone I don’t know then I will glance down and make sure I get his name right and start learning the names pretty good.”

(On the energy level today…) “It was good. I think of the few things you ask of them and we demand in mini camps. We don’t want anyone to get hurt first of all and you have to go fast. Go fast and learn how we practice and how we do things and then just play with enthusiasm and energy because that is what you have to do in this game. I think they handled it pretty well.”

(On the differences in the run game this season…) “Well, it will be hard to evaluate until we have put on the pads and really get playing a little bit. I think off of last year we have to be more assignment correct. I really thought we made too many errors last year and I am not talking physical errors necessary, I am talking mental errors, more than we have in the past, but we are pretty demanding. I want to see that improved. Secondly, the technique of some of the fellas, they have been playing enough now. Some of the guys that I called young last year, I am not going to call young anymore. They have played enough now, let’s get it going and let’s see some improvement. Lastly, you have to see it come together - a cohesive unit - and then our new running backs have to learn it. We have to see how they do. But all that really comes through when the pads are on.”

(On if Mike Wahle caught his eye…) “He caught my eye 10 or 12 years ago when I drafted him. He is a good football player, we know that.”

(On if all the absences were expected…) “They are all rehab guys and according to my last medical report which was yesterday, they are all right on track and we are feeling good about their process. There are a couple questions. We don’t know how Tubby (Marcus Tubbs) is going to react but he is doing fine. I am optimistic there. Deion Branch is doing fine, he is right on schedule if not a little bit a head of schedule.”

(On Tubbs…) “He was coming along and then he had some swelling and it would have been more of a set back if we had waited another month or something. I think this is the type of thing that they fix it and it should really be the last thing that we have to do to the leg. He should be able to practice and stuff. How much we practice him, we just have to be careful with it that is all.”

(On Rocky Bernard not practicing…) “He had a surgery on his foot and he is rehabbing that.”

(On if it is the same foot as last year…) “Yeah, they finally figured out what it was and it is kind of a weird thing. I would display my medical expertise but I know I would get it wrong. It is not long – three or four weeks.

(On Bernard’s off-the-field inst…) “It is a little like the things that have happened here in the past perhaps. I mentioned the same thing with (Sean) Locklear. Let it run its course. We like Rocky obviously, he is a good football player and I want him to be well physically.”

(On the new offensive line coaches…) “I have known Mike Solari a long time and he coached at the 49ers after I left with Bob McKittrick, who was one of the best line coaches I have ever seen. At the time, Mike was coaching tight ends. I have known guys that have worked with him. We have known each other over the years and he has a wonderful reputation. He is just one of the great line coaches I think in football. Mike DeBord, I didn’t know as well, but I did know Lloyd Carr at Michigan and Mike was his right hand man for the last 13 years or so. Most recently (offensive) coordinator there. They had a change at Michigan. Mike wanted to make a change from college to professional football. He is just an outstanding coach. He will help with the offensive line now and then what he coaches in the future, that remains to be seen. But we have two really quality, quality guys there.”

(On Owen Schmitt…) “He is a fullback in the truest sense of the word and those guys are tough to find in college football nowadays. He gives us depth at the position. He is a tough guy. He has skill catching the ball, good blocker. He played on a really fine college football team. He is going to get a chance to play fullback for us and special teams.”

(On TJ Duckett and Julius Jones today…) “They did fine. Again, some of the new guys are still learning how we do things. We know a little bit more about those guys than our draft choices and they came in and did fine.”

(On what Coach Solari’s job focus will be on the offensive line…) “Mike has a tough job because we are not going to change our scheme too much and so he had to learn our scheme, how we run our offense. Having said that, he has had a lot of success with certain things and how he inserts his ideas into what we do. It is kind of a blend. We have been in meetings, we will continue to be in meetings. I will meet with the offensive staff now that the draft is over from now until the time we go on vacation to talk through all of that stuff. He is learning from us and we are learning from him so it is a blend.”

(On what he liked about Solari…) “He is a great teacher. You watch him work and he has the guy’s attention. They are listening to him. He is trying some new things and time will tell how it goes. He has been good for a long time. It is good to have him with us.”

(On if it was strange without Shaun Alexander out there…) “It is a little bit. He has been with us a long time and one of the core players for us. He has had a lot to do with the success we have had around here. He knows I wish him well and it wouldn’t surprise me at all if he is playing with somebody next year and has a good year.”

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