Opening Statement “We’re getting close, and we’re all getting excited. It’s been about nine months since myself and most of the staffs been here. I think we’ve made a lot of progress but we’ve got a lot of work to do. We’ve found a lot out about the football team in spring and also in the summer.
“I thought recruiting went well, we’ve added some guys and filled a few holes that we had, the weaknesses that we felt we had in depth, and now after the last three weeks that we had of summer camp it’s really gone well. Unfortunately we had one injury, Dan Sprague, our Center was injured, was operated on yesterday, and it was a pretty significant injury, but we wish him the best and hopefully we can get him back for another year. But other than that, we’ve had a pretty healthy camp, we’ve really practiced hard we’ve put in a lot of things the last two and a half weeks that we didn’t put in the spring. We’ve thrown a lot at them and they’ve responded very well.
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“We’ve worked on our depth, I’m a guy that tries to get close to three deep at each position going into the season. We will actually work three deep at most positions. Once we start season, we cut back on the three and we pretty much work the two deep, knowing that we have a group that we’ve worked quite a bit, that we move up in the two deep if we need that because of injury or any other thing that might happen.
“So after getting our football team together and putting in pretty much everything we needed to on offense, and defense, and kicking game. Now this week we are cutting back, we are picking out the things we know we want to run, in all areas, including the kicking game for this game, and it’s going to be fun putting this game plan together because we’ve thrown a lot at them, and they’ve retained most of it. Now we’re going to really condense it down, and I think it’s going to help our consistency and help a lot of the younger guys be able to pick things up. Purdue is a team we really don’t know a lot about. New coach, new coaching staff, we feel that there are a lot of similarities probably between both teams; the defense and the offense. We’ve worked a lot against ourselves quite a bit, now the scout team is working on some formations and things that we don’t run, that we feel they might run. But it’s still a guessing game whenever you play the first game of the year. Even though you might have been around your team for a few years and their coach might have been there for a few years, you still change things because of personnel. We’ve looked at their personnel, we’ve rated everything over the summer in terms of trying to figure out what they did last year, their speed, their quickness, but again things change tremendously over a year’s period, so they have a different team, we have a different team, but there will be some similarities from last year from both teams. We just have to go out and try to be as consistent as possible and go play hard and hopefully we’ve got our guys in the right positions and we perform, and perform well. It’s going to be a hot day, and that’s very concerning for us because we have had very little hot weather in the last month. So we are prepared to play a lot of players on both sides of the ball and hopefully it will pay off for us. And I don’t care if it’s a true freshman or a senior. You know when you get a hot day like this, on a turf that’s probably going to be around 120 degrees when we’ve been practicing on a turf that’s been around 90 to 95, it’s a tremendous difference. With the nerves, the first game jitters, and all those things with the heat, with the fans, with the energy, we’re prepared to play a lot of players. So we’re looking forward to the game. We still got some work to do this week, as everybody knows, we have still not picked a quarterback and I would have loved to have done it about two weeks ago, but because of certain situations of one guy being injured for a few days, coming back, and the other guy being injured for a few days, we really haven’t had any consistency and really been no way that we could truly pick a guy out that was going to be the true starter. Both will play, we know that, both played last year. I feel confident about both of them, both still have some lingering issues in terms of injuries, nothing to keep them out, but we are going to go with the starter between both of them that we feel is the healthiest going into the game, knows the game plan the best. Again both of them are getting the same amount of reps with the first team and both are also working with the second team unit, who will also play during the game. So it’s really not that much of a problem, it would be a different problem if one was a senior and the other one was a freshman or a sophomore, I don’t think there would be any doubt. But with two seniors we have the luxury of just kind of sitting back knowing both have started, both have played, both are practicing well, and when we get to Friday or Saturday we will sit down with both quarterbacks and decide which one will start the game.”
On the importance of the relationship between Brendon Kay and Muchie Legaux:
“Both are real good friends, they like each other and spend time together and that really isn’t a problem. What I am concern about is the timing difference of what we do and how we do it, the center exchange, snap count and all those things. But we really haven’t had a problem, if that would have been a problem I would have made a decision earlier and said we have to go with one guy, because we’re making too many false starts, fumbled snaps and those kind of things. But we really haven’t had a problem and these two kids are experienced, they both will have first game jitters but it’s not like your putting a Red-Shirt Freshman or Sophomore knowing they haven’t played a lot. Their maturity has really played a role in how we have handled this and if both have been healthy we would have already picked one, and both have had their ups and downs and isn’t they play of either one its mostly the health and how much we pushed quarterbacks and how much scrimmage plays we have had and what we have asked them to do. They have gotten banged around a little bit, not by choice but when you’re in the pocket guys are pass rushing you will get hit a little bit and there isn’t any significant injuries to either one, both can play and they are both ready to go it’s just we haven’t had any consistent play out of either one long enough to pick a starter.”
On his first meeting with Munchie Legaux:
“It was good I had to talk to a lot of people when I first got here about the situation what had happened, why he started and why he was pulled and then how he handled his role. I spoke with other people first that were close to the team, coaches that were here and then I sat down with him and I felt him out and number one I had to see where he was at mentally. You can tell on film this kid is a very good athlete but he made some mistakes just like all quarterbacks do and I just sat down and talked to him about handling the offense what he felt was his upside and down side and why he made mistakes and we talked to him about his confidence and what it takes to be a quarterback and his leadership abilities. It’s hard to lose your spot in any position especially as a quarterback so he was obviously a little bit distraught not being able to hold on to it but he was really thrilled for the team and the success they had. We tried to build him back up when we got here in terms of we don’t have a preference we don’t know you, Brendon or anybody. You got a new lease in life and he has taken advantage of it and he has been very positive, he has worked hard, he has done everything we asked him to do he has worked hard with the offensive linemen, third team, and second team. He has been very encouraging to all of the players been a very good leader and I think probably anybody on this team welcomed a coaching change not that he didn’t like the other guys, we didn’t know him and he said hey I got another shot to be the guy. So it has been a good relationship with him, Darin Hinshaw the quarterback coach and again I had the opportunity to sit back and watch him and see how the players reacted to him because that’s what I am concerned about, do they have confidence in him, or in any quarterback that we have out there and I see no difference from wide receiver to offensive line, running backs. He is really regarded very highly by all of his teammates.”
On what advantages/disadvantages both team has having coaches who know/have worked together:
“Just knowing personalities, you never really change much but the head coaches are going to have something to say obviously about what they do on offense and defense there will be some changes in terms of how they do things because of personnel. When I went to Texas Tech I was different type of coach but because of the personnel I had to completely change what my thought process was in terms of how we were going to run our offense and defense because sometimes you don’t have the personnel to do what you want to do you have to be able to adapt. We have done a little bit of that here and I’m sure they have done that at Purdue but we do know some of those guys and they know us obviously. It’s not an advantage it’s an understanding in our profession that we all kind of know each other over the years and we know what guys like to do and don’t like to do and I think there will be some care over but there won’t be any advantage because we know Eddie (Gran) and Art (Kaufman) but they don’t know Art and Eddie.”
On what the moment will be like for your first game as UC’s Head Coach:
“The first game every year I don’t care if you’re a new coach or whatever it’s just that there are so many things you have to do and get done and the time goes by fast because you are very busy and even though you are coaching the game we have recruits coming this week and were getting ready to start making phone calls next week and will mark the first time that we can make calls once a week. There are so much that have to do organization wise that really doesn’t pertain to the football game itself and so as a head coach I try to do as many as those things as I possibly can so that the coordinators and assistants can do their job and don’t have to worry about it. It’s fun and I enjoy doing it all I have had some friends in this business that don’t like doing a lot of things they just want to coach and I like to coach but I like to have the team prepared. So I try to do all the little things around the organization from the hotel, travel, what where wearing, what where doing and how where doing it all of the itineraries and try to keep them focused on coaching individual players, position and offense, defense, and special teams. We spend hours in meeting together talking about pregame warm ups and where we’re going to go and what we’re going to say and all the little things that go along with the first game of the year, not just whether you’re a new head coach it’s a different year, different game and you’re not ever going to have the same coaching staff you’re going to have some change over so you have to plug guys in where ever you need them to help the team win.”
On how the running back position has evolved from last year and who has stood out:
“Running Back is very important and not just for us but for every football team and we don’t have an experience guy sort of speak that we know a lot about, we have Tion Green that’s back and the only guy we really understand what he can do and can’t do, strengths and weaknesses is Ralph Abernathy and then after that we have a couple of new guys. We have Hosey Williams, Rod Moore two junior colleges guys and its pretty much running back by committee. The problem you have when you do that is inconsistencies sometimes with hand offs and snaps counts and pass protection. You might be running a pass play and might be expecting blitz or a five man rush and do you have the right running back in the game, there is a lot of organization that goes to play calling and personnel. We have a new offensive coordinator a guy doing it for the first time along with a staff that has never been together on offense and a lot of thinking has to go into your offense and not just calling plays it’s having the right people in the game, signals, personnel and guys going into the game. We play probably 10 wide receivers, four running backs, three or four tight ends and so when you have that many players expect to play on a hot day there is a lot of thinking that has to go in and organization in terms of talking and understanding who we want in on certain running plays and who we want in on certain passing plays so it’s a long drawn out thought process of organization going into that first game. So the next three days we will spend a lot of time running plays, making sure we have the right people in there so we won’t have to run that certain play whether its pass or run and hopefully those guys on the field can execute what call.”