“We’ve had two practices since we got together last, so I’ll report about yesterday. I thought everyone was willing to give a hard day’s work, and I thought 85% of practice was good. We didn’t finish as strong as we should have, which was an issue last year, so we tried to make a point of that. I thought today’s practice had tremendous energy all the way around- everything went like clock-work. Overall with the true freshmen, we’re pretty pleased with the talent base and willingness to learn about the guys we brought in. Their skill sets, athleticism, and explosiveness of the defensive players was outstanding. We feel like every one of them has a good chance to be in the running to play this year, so that was good to hear.”
Q: Did we see Josh Harvey-Clemons playing with the safeties?
A: ”I don’t think he’s strong enough to play LB yet. He could play safety without question, and I think he could play corner too. He’s just really athletic and has quickness and burst - he’s about what we thought he was, but he’s just not thick enough yet to jump inside. If he has a body type that just won’t put on weight we’ll just keep him where he is.”
Q: How does Todd Gurley look?
A: “He’s very smooth and athletic - he looks like a natural. First couple of days he’s done well, but we’re not in pads so we haven’t done anything that will test how good of a tackle-breaker he will be. He looks the part though.”
Q: How are Theus and Watts?
A: “Coach made a comment that he thought Watts has made an improvement from the spring. He seems like he’s very serious in wanting to play, and with a young guy like Theus behind you I’m sure it’s a good inspiration. Theus is learning pretty quickly so we’ll probably try to rotate those guys pretty quick. We just want to see him with the one unit and the two unit, and same with Watts. They could both go to guard also, so there’s a little more competition that it seems on the surface. Theus, Watts, and Gates could all play guard if need be, but they all could play tackle too.”
Q: How is Jordan Jenkins?
A: “He looks really good, but Josh Dawson and DeLoach look good too.”
Q: Who are you giving reps to at center?
A: "David Andrews and were also giving reps to Lee. Burnette is the second-team center right now."
Q: Who are the top guys on the offensive line?
A: "Theus, Watts, Gates, Burnette, Lee, and Andrews are the top guys right now. Everybody else is trying to prove that they can do it. Beard is mature enough physically and athletically but he’s still getting comfortable with the system-he’s a possibility. He just has to get better with his assignments- Pyke is also struggling with his assignments. The one guy we did get to see for the first time was Xzavier Ward. I don’t know if his leg will let him play full speed this year, but he looked pretty good. We’re not doing live drills, but watching him move and go through his assignments I think he’ll have a bright future."
Q: Does Andrews look small?
A: “A lot of people in football say the low man wins, so it isn’t that unusual for a guy that height to be your center. He has to be able to make the calls and get everyone moving in the right direction, and he does all those things pretty darn well. He’s getting tested every snap right now.”
Q: As far as special teams goes, is there anyone in particular you will be looking at?
A: "We’ll be looking for every-down players. We just gotta make sure that those guys are willing to do that, and I know we have some big athletic guys who will be able to help us.”