“I thought today they did a good job in the rain. We were also able to go inside and do our walkthroughs and talk to them a little bit. The rain forced the quarterbacks to throw a wet ball, and have our receivers then catch the wet ball. This being our first morning practice, there’s not a lot of recovery time from practice last night, but I thought they pushed through very well. The coaches did a great job of staying on them, and I think the leadership of the team did a great job keeping the tempo up.”
Q: How were the one-on-one drills?
A: ”I think we have the skill-set, but we don’t have much experience. We haven’t nailed down the number one group, but I think we have the answers somewhere within the group of guys we have.”
Q: Do you feel like David Andrews can hold his own?
A: “Yeah he can. If you watch a one-on-one drill you know it’s a tough drill for anyone to have success on. When the ball is snapped they don’t know where he’s gonna go, although it’s rarely a one-on-one block because there are two guys working together. I would say it’s the physicality as well as a mental aspect. Andrews does those things well and so right now he is our number one center. Over the years you will see the centers be the shortest of the linemen across the board.”
Q: How is Ray Drew fitting in?
A: “We expect Ray to play a bunch. We don’t want to be sitting in a situation where we can’t rotate players, and we want to keep guys playing hard for playing time. I would say that Ray is a big part of that.”
Q: How is Quayvon Hicks?
A: “Today we had enough pads, and it seems he is very anxious, almost too anxious, to strike somebody-he’s just flying at the guy. Sometimes you have to have a little bit more control because if the target moves just enough, he’s going to miss him. He needs to make sure he gets his eyes up and is able to redirect himself if the guy moves. He also has a great personality and he just loves coming to work every day.”
Q: Is now a good time to ask about running backs and pass protection?
A: “Well we had some drills specifically for that. Todd Gurley was matched up with Alec Ogletree and Gurley struggled. The nose guard knows he can run you over, or go in and out, so it’s difficult to win on a drill like that, but you can learn a lot from it. He was struggling, like a freshman would, but as the drill went on he got better. Our goal is to stay inside out and then run him past the quarterback so the quarterback can step up. When you’re in these drills it isn’t totally realistic, but you can learn from it.”
Q: Where are y'all right now with the running backs? I know its early.
A: “ Ken Malcome and Richard Samuel are ahead so far. Usually we will wait until after the scrimmage, but we’re giving everyone reps with the one’s and two’s. In essence, it is really just a wide open competition.”
Q: Fullback work for Richard Samuel?
A: “He’s getting double duty right now. Richard playing two positions is possible because he doesn’t miss any meeting time. He gets some tailback reps and some fullback reps, so he’s getting twice the work right now.”
Q: Where will Sheldon Dawson go?
A: “He’s very capable of playing both ways, but he’s strictly defense right now. We wouldn’t try to teach him both right now- same with Malcom. There are certain things you can grab a guy and have him do, but I don’t see doing that with Sheldon right now. I was talking to Malcom a bit about how we might handle him, and I think about a week before the games we may start integrating him into a few things offensively. We wont expect him to play every day, but I do want him to play some offense-possibly as early as the first game.
Q: Who will be the linebacker opposite Jarvis?
A: “ There’s still some competition out there. Ramik Wilson can do it, and we have some young guys working and getting some reps. I like the true freshmen outside linebacker core we brought in, and it’s clear they’re really athletic football players. If you look at Dawson, Jenkins, and DeLoach you can tell they’re eager to strike someone. We all know Jordan Jenkins is as advertised. One fun thing for me is watching Theus and Jenkins go against each other.”
Q: How is it having Rantavious Wooten back?
A: “You just never know with hamstrings because sometimes they just linger. He was in the car accident as well, but I think he appreciated the fact that he got the redshirt, and I think he realizes how close he is to the end of his career. He looks like he is in tremendous shape.”
Q: How is Shawn Williams?
A: “We all know Baccari Rambo is a great player, but I think Shawn is a great player as well. He will have a tremendous year, and I think he’ll play professional football for a long time.”
Q: The defensive depth chart is pretty senior-heavy. Do you think about when these guys will leave?
A: “Yeah but just after practicing these three days I think we’re gonna be okay. We have to give the young guys some opportunities.”
Q: How is T.J. Stripling?
A: “I think this is the first time since the injury that he is strong enough to compete like he wants too.”
On Branden Smith…
“Branden Smith will play game one. After all the information we got, we decided that he will be able to play the first game.”