Listen to Audio (9:14)
In terms of pace, how have the last three practices gone?
“I’d say on a scale from 1-10, we’re probably at about a six. We got a long way to go, we really do in that area too, but we’ll get better. Here’s the thing. You’ve got a bunch of guys right now that are giving everything they got. They’re trying extremely hard, but they’re having to think the entire time they’re playing. They’re not able to react. They’re not able to be the athlete that they are and so, it limits what they can do.”
Is there a cumulative effect by now where the information and speed starts to build up with the players?
“Yeah. This is four straight days of install. Everyday, you’re adding a whole new day of offense, defense and special teams and so they can’t concentrate on what they did on Monday, because Wednesday is a whole new set of plays and a whole new set of tempos and a whole new set of everything. They have to move on and at the same time, on their own, be studying what they did before. Friday, half of the practice will be scrimmaging to find out where we are as a football team and then we’ll go back and we’ll start re-teaching everything.”
Are you done with installation of the offense, defense and special teams?
“Well, we’re not done with it. We’ve got probably a majority of what we’re going to try to install this spring in at this time.”
Are the next ten or so practices mainly re-teaching and making sure everybody has the system down?
“It’s re-teaching. We’re going to be re-teaching everything, but we’ll still be installing a few things as we go, because part of this is also us figuring out what we have and what we can do and what this team is going to be able to do, what these quarterbacks are going to be able to do, what our running backs are going to be able to do, what our offensive line... because every team is different. We’ve got to try and mold everything around the personnel we have.”
In just a few weeks where do you see growth already?
“There’s not an area that I don’t see growth. Everybody’s improved. Every group has improved, because they know something. Before, they knew nothing and that’s the thing you got to remember as a coaching staff. These guys are starting from scratch. We’re talking every detail, little things like where do you go on the practice field. When this horn blows where am I supposed to go next? Eventually that gets to become second nature for them and they don’t have to think about it. They’re having to think about where they actually are supposed to be on the field now. There are so many things that you take for granted that they’re learning and we’ll get better each and every day.”
Have you been able to pinpoint some guys who can work in the “bandit” and “ram” positions?
“We’re working a bunch of guys, but it’s way too early to tell you anything. Today was our first day in full pads and we’ll know a little bit more Friday to see what the retention rate is and how guys are going to compete when they’re having to think. At the same time, it’s baby-steps, because we understand they’re thinking and as long as they’re thinking it’s going to be hard to play.”
Is it the same for the depth chart?
“Yeah, no doubt. We really don’t have a depth chart right now. We got guys in positions, but they’re no clear-cut one’s, two’s, three’s – any of those things. We’re just trying to right now make sure everybody learns it and as we go we’ll see who’s learning it and who’s competing… There’s not a position where anybody’s got a secure spot in any of the three phases.
How much better are you in day four of practice compared to day one?
“It’s 180 degrees, whatever that would be. It’d be from one side of the spectrum from the other. We actually know something. Day one, we knew nothing, so we actually can call a cadence and get the ball snapped and defense – we can get aligned and our punt team can line up and actually go through the procedure, so we’ve learned quite a bit. We just got a long way to go.”
How do you and your staff break down and grade practice?
“We grade every single play of practice. Every single play we go in and we’ll evaluate every play and every player on that play. So it takes quite a bit of time, but that’s the only way we can evaluate right now, because at the tempo we’re trying to go at practice, we’re not going to be able to evaluate out there on the field.”
How are the guys adjusting to the faster tempo?
“I think they’re doing a great job. I really do. Are we there? No, we’re not even close, but that’s all about their attitude and the effort they’re putting into it. They’re giving you all that. Are they making mistakes? I don’t know if there’s been a play that has been run yet that there hasn’t been a mistake on, but that’s alright, because they’re playing hard and they’ve got a great attitude about it and if they keep doing that we’re going to get better and better.”
Anything new you’ve discovered about adjusting to your offensive scheme from a pro-scheme?
“I think we’re progressing like I expect. I’ve done this a few times before, so I know what to expect and it’s hard. It really is. It’s difficult, but the attitude they have takes care of most of it, because they’re going to make a mistake, they get frustrated, but… they don’t have time. You got to go on to the next play an they’re doing a good job of that.”
Why are you own Twitter and how do you use it?
“I’m on it because, one, I think our fans enjoy it. I know the recruits pay attention to it and it’s just a way to continue to promote our program and let people know what’s going own in our program.”
Have you outlined a social media policy for your team?
“Yeah, we have a policy, but the main thing that I told those guys is ‘obviously, you know the difference between right and wrong. Things that we do in that media room aren’t for the public.’ We don’t have a team meeting and broadcast it, so I don’t want it on Twitter, I don’t want it on Facebook, I don’t want it on anything. It’s for this team and this team only. If they put something out there, just understand that it’s out there for everybody to see, so you got to be smart about it. At the same time, you’ve got to remember that these guys are 18, 19, 20 years old and mistakes are going to be made. I’m fortunate I didn’t have to grow up with it. When I was that age, I didn’t have to worry about Twitter. I didn’t have to worry about things like that, so I’m pretty lucky compared to what these guys have to deal with.”