by LONN PHILLIPS SULLIVAN
ON SEEING THE TEAM COMPETE:
"It's always a good sign in your football team, huh? Something I saw Saturday: I saw some meanness, toughness and some nastiness in our defense that I think we've been lacking for a little bit. And uh... it starts with the front, you've got a veteran group there...a very talented group."
"I was very impressed with our linebacker play, I was impressed with "Bugg" Strong, Junior college transfer. Damone Clark is probably one of the most improved players / linebackers. We're coming down hill and attacking...but we didn't give up many explosive plays. We had some good man to man coverage and our defensive line was attacking 'em...and having...I think we had six negative runs and six sacks....so, that's good for a scrimmage."
OFFENSIVE IMPRESSIONS FROM SCRIMMAGE:
"First of all, so impressed with Jake Peetz and D.J...and their organization. I look out there and I go 'that's the offense...there it is, yeah...there its' and the route concepts and the run game is much more diverse, now. I think our quarterbacks are doing to be outstanding, we have four outstanding quarterbacks...it's gonna be a battle man.
Max is taking the first snaps, but they're all three in the first team, Myles is doing well, T.J is doing well but watch out for Garrett Nussmeier: he is all that's advertised. He's a competitor, he can move, make plays with his feet and he has a cannon for an arm."
"Tell you what, there's 14 football schools, 4th Quarter with Tommy Moffitt, 15 Spring Practices about 10 football schools later (and then end too?) with Tommy Moffitt. Now, I mean that's like a season. So you these guys coming in will be like vets, but we need these linebackers to step in and play and well. We have a graduate transfer from Clemson and he's gonna come in and play but he can't be at school right now, so he's working out and getting ready. But I think we'll get everybody together, with the young linebackers coming in we have a strong core."
"They're remaining professional for right now (chuckles) but it's only the third practice of spring ball, I'm sure come this Saturday it'll get heated. Now today, we're putting in 3rd down. First time we're putting it in...Today's empty on 3rd down, so we're putting in our "cheetah team", put our four best pass rushers out there, we got to create a great rush. We had a good rush last year we should have dominant rush this year and again, we need to be better at 3rd down on offense. We were not very good on offense on 3rd down, when Joe & Steve were together they were phenomenal and I'm looking forward to getting back to those days."
ON RBs DURING 3RD DOWN IN SCRIMMAGE / SPRING PRACTICE:
"You know I'm pleased with John Emery, because you know...he's wearing a gold shirt right now, he can't scrimmage, ya know he's coming back from his shoulder surgery, but he's coming back very well. He's doing everything we ask him to do. We're running the same routes we ran with Clyde and the first one we ran a little choice route to the MIKE linebacker and he went for 80 (yards). So, he can do it. I think he needs to work on catching the ball in the flat over his left shoulder a little bit better.
For the most part, Tyrion Davis-Price has been hurt, so we haven't seen much out of him. Josh Williams is doing well but he's got a little injury. Corren Norman took 39 carries on Saturday! I'm gonna give you something that I think for our team is the next step. We always talk about Next Man Up...you guys heard it all your life. So, we were going through a team-run scrimmage and we had a couple of backs who could not go. And, we only had one back left and something happened and we couldn't go either.....well, I'm not volunteering, somebody has to play running back.
The wide receivers voted to go play running back, the scrimmage went on, Jontre Kirklin went up there, Trey Palmer went up there, Koy Moore ran out there we ran the toss-sweep with 'em and we didn't blink. I stopped the practice and said "you became a team right there."
In the middle of the game we got somebody who goes down, we gotta have next man up. We gotta prepared. I thought our team showed unselfishness there, especially at the wide receiver position, they stepped up and the scrimmage continued."
JONTRE KIRKLIN PLAYING EVERY POSITION ON THE FIELD:
"Guess what? He had the biggest team run (during the scrimmage)..."
"I'm seeing a lot of development in Anthony Bradford. You know we had one on ones, we had bump combo drills and he's the best at it. As far as physical tools, hip explosion, quickness off the football, pad level...but he's gotta learn how to put it all together (in the team?). Now, what I'm challenging these guys is to get in great shape...."