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Listen to Audio (19:54)
On freshman A.J. Blue’s spot on the depth chart at tailback:
“I don’t know that he’s necessarily moved ahead of Jamal [Womble], but I think he’s earned the opportunity. He has come in and shown really, really good maturity. I can’t tell you how impressed that I’ve been with his work ethic. I think the year that he went and spent at Hargrave [Military Academy] was dramatically impactful in his life. His time management, his attention to detail, his focus, his effort, his toughness.
“In high school, he was just a raw, really talented athlete running around playing quarterback and making plays. I think he’s grown up. He’s come in and we’ve put him in some situations in scrimmages at tailback and he’s got vision. He can see holes, he can make cuts. At some point in time, we’d like to see both of those guys get opportunities to play to begin to see how they play when it’s real.”
Ryan Taylor update:
“He’s still hobbled right now. He’s still listed as doubtful. It’ll probably be at least a minimum of another week to 10 days before we even start talking about if there is a realistic chance. Like I’ve told Ryan, you always want to err on the side of caution any time somebody’s coming off a knee surgery. You want to give him enough [time] to where he’s developed enough confidence that he’s ready to go, and medically, where our doctors feel like he can go out there and suffer no adverse effect… I don’t think they’ve released him to start jogging yet, but that may be the next step in the process this week.”
On the battle at nickel back:
“We’re working a couple of different guys. Obviously, one of the guys that would be the easiest, quickest transition would be to take Charlie Brown from corner, because Charlie has started at nickel. Last year, that’s where he played against Rutgers when he got the interception. We’re taking a look at that possibility and moving Jordan [Hemby] back into the game as the starter at corner. Right now, they’re still battling for the starting position.
“We’ve taken a look at Melvin Williams as a potential guy and Jon Smith’s another guy that’s a possibility… One of the things that I like about having faster linebackers is that you may not have to go to nickel. Take a nickel defensive back that runs 4.5 and stick him in the game and you’ve got an outside linebacker that runs a 4.4, why not just leave him in the game?”
On T.J. Yates:
“His comfort level with our offense is very good. He’s got a really good, knowledgeable command of everything that we’re asking. One of the things that we’ve asked him to do is to really do a great job in the pocket. Moving, keeping plays alive, extending them and keeping your eyes down the field, looking for receivers that are going to come open.”
Listen to Audio (10:09)
On the mock game this past Saturday:
“We went through all of the pregame stuff just so that when we get there on Saturday, we won’t have any surprises and we won’t be out of whack. Just trying to stay in rhythm. Once we got out there, we ran a couple of offensive plays, special teams, defense, just working through every situation that we might see on Saturday. We did everything – two-minute, four-minute, backed up, red zone, goal line, just about everything you could think of, third and long, third and short… It was all scripted.”
On feeling settled at quarterback:
“My first season, and even a part of last season, I was still trying to learn all of the plays in the offense. But now having that completely embedded in my memory… It’s more about preparing, watching film, getting ready and learning the defenses that I’m going to be seeing, more than learning the offense.”
Listen to Audio (4:00)
Any chance we see the navy blue uniforms on Saturday?
“No, I doubt if we pull those out on Saturday. Maybe for the Florida State or something like that. We really like the uniforms, but in my opinion, I don’t care. We can go out there in our practice uniforms for all I care. I’m just excited about this game and excited to get back on the field.”
How are the new stadium lights?
“Extremely bright. We practiced under them, and it looked like it was a 12 o’clock game. It was like six or seven o’clock at night, and the field looked exactly the way it does now [at noon]… It’s totally different. And we won’t have to worry about that problem we had against UConn.”
Listen to Audio (3:49)
With having played two years already, is a mock game like you had on Saturday still beneficial to you?
“Yes, because something different is going to happen every game. You never know what’s going to happen. So we went through a bunch of different scenarios that could happen in a game.”
On his preseason recognition:
“To be honest, I really don’t think about it. I’m just trying to go out there and win the first game. I want to make sure I make the right calls for the defense and things like that. I don’t really think about it.”