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How did the first day of practice go?
“I thought it went really good. Really good. I thought the energy level was great. The intensity, the enthusiasm… not everybody knew where they were going, but they were going fast and that was good.”
How much do you have to teach “speed” to this team?
“It’s something we’re constantly talking about, because we’re going to be very up-tempo so we practice they way we’re going to play. We were probably at about half the speed we would normally go today and we’ll hopefully evolve.”
What have you told the team about having the NCAA mess behind them?
“The best thing for these guys is that it’s out and it’s done. Now they know they can move forward. Nobody has to dwell on it anymore. They know what it is, they know we’re not going to play in a bowl, but they know they can still win a Coastal Division championship. They’re still plenty of goals out there ahead of us and I don’t think every college athlete plays football just to play in a bowl game.”
Do you think your guys anticipate what type of learning curve it’s going to be learning this new system?
“I don’t know if they anticipate or not. I think a lot of them found out about it today. But, again, I’m going to commend them on their energy level today and the intensity and the way they focused today. They did a lot of really good things. In fact, they surprised me.”
Do you foresee any seniors leaving the program?
“I don’t foresee it. We’ve talked about it. We talked with all the seniors. I spoke with them as a group and then I’ve spoken with some of them individually and they want to be here. They’re playing for more than just a bowl game. These guys have been here; they’ve been through a lot. They’re the leaders of this football team. They know that and I think they’re excited about what the future holds.”
Do you hope to get most of the offensive and defensive system installed this spring?
“I would love to, but I know we’re not going to. I think if we get about 70% of everything in, we’ll be doing pretty good.”
On creating a sense of competition and a culture where guys are fighting for their jobs:
“It’s something that everybody opened with a clean slate for us on January 8th when I met with them. They all knew that their reputation or what they wanted to be known for started that day. If they had been lazy before or they had been a great player before, none of it mattered. It all mattered on January 8th and from that point on. We’ve had a lot of guys – it’s kind of been a light that’s come on for them. I can still compete and I can win a job no matter what’s happened in the past. I think there’s a lot of them that are excited about it.