Dean Legge: What are you looking for from the offensive line this spring?
Neil Callaway: We’ll try to come out of it with a top five and backups. Hopefully there is enough competition there for some guys. I think, going into the spring, we’ll have three tackles that have been on the team – we are always going to try to keep the best five on the field. Fernando Velasco has played a lot of football. He redshirted this past year, but you can throw him into the depth chart. Seth Watts, Zeb McKinzey and Chester Adams and we have four guys competing at the guard spot. We are going to move Nick Jones to center. He and Ian Smith will compete at center.
So Ian will compete immediately at the backup center spot?
I don’t want to say that anyone will be the backup, but he will be line up at center and competing there. I really have not thought about another guy. I know that we need more than two bodies running there.
Has there every been any thought about Zeb going there?
No. I have never said that. I don’t see him as a center prospect. Michael Turner has played there…
What’s the goal for Michael this spring?
I think his biggest problem has been that he has had a lot of nagging injuries. He has missed a lot of work – there has always been something. This year he has been pretty much injury free. It seems like he has been there for the most part. The previous years he’s missed more than he’s made. If he can stay healthy and get to practice every day hopefully he’ll have a good senior year.
How about Jones and Daniel Inman – are they the leaders immediately because of their age?
I don’t know about their age, but because of their performance on the field I would say you are right.
Did you expect Inman to come along the way he did when you got him?
Yeah – I would not have signed him had I thought he wasn’t going to be a good player. You always think that, but all of them do not work out. Daniel has worked hard. He struggled the first couple of years getting used to the tempo of the college game. He really buckled down and became a good football player.
Have you ever been in a situation where you have the potential for four different guys coming in to start at quarterback? Does that make it more complicated as the coordinator?
Yes it does. I don’t know if it makes it more complicated, but I think you have to be more patient. You have all of these things that you would like to do – I think we will have to cut back a little bit and make sure that one of them doesn’t win it or one of them lose it based on not knowing what to do. I think we will base it on who is able to make plays and run the offense and get people in the right spot. I think we will base it on that more than if one guys knows more than another. The guys that have been in the program are going to know more than the two guys that have not been in the program as long. We will probably cut back a little bit, and be a little more vanilla to give everyone a chance.
How does Des Williams fit into this spring? Is he immediately thrown back into the mix at fullback.
Does that become a battle for the starting spot again?
I would hope so.
Can you talk about tight end some?
We are going to open it all up. We are going to give everyone a fresh start to compete. We will try to make decisions pretty quick on who is going to line up where in the rotation. Martrez Milner has had more playing time and coming out of the fall Tripp Chandler would be the number two.
Were y’all completely surprised with him?
No. We thought he was a very good player coming out of high school. We didn’t know if he would be ready in 2005. I think we would have liked to have played him more than we did. He did get to play a lot, however, at tight end and special teams. He has been able to get his feet wet. The biggest thing with Tripp is that he had some injury problems, but I think it was good that he get some playing time and get exposed to some things that will help him next year.
It seems like there is a leadership void at wide receiver…
I think as far as age is concerned you are right, but Kenneth Harris will be in his third year. A.J. Bryant will be in his third year. Mohamed Massaquoi will be in his second year. Mario Raley is in his fourth year. It’s not like any of them are totally rookies. We do need those guys to step up and become good football players.