Saturday, April 19, 2008

Memorial Stadium

 

Opening Statement

“It went fairly smoothly out there. I thought it was a pretty special atmosphere. I want to thank the fans and everybody who came out today. That’s something I’ve never been a part of before, and I don’t know if any of these coaches have. That kind of turnout and passion and enthusiasm for the spring game – I thought that was something special. I thank everybody.

 

“I think we came out of the spring fairly healthy. We had a few guys nicked up, but nothing real serious. We came out of it pretty healthy, and we accomplished a lot. We’re not where we want to be, but we’re heading in the right direction. I think we’ve set ourselves up where the guys are starting to gain confidence. They’re starting to develop an understanding of what we’re asking of them. The discipline is there, the focus is there, and the effort is there. If we stay there and continue down this road, we’ll be just fine come fall. There’s a lot of work to be done between now and then. I understand that, the staff understands that, and more importantly, the players understand that. I think this spring was a success. Obviously we’re never close to being satisfied, but we’re working to get where we want to be.”

 

On his general impressions of today

“We were pretty basic on both sides of the football, especially defensively. We didn’t do a lot of blitzing or a lot of different things. (Shawn) Watson called a pretty conservative game on offense as far as what he showed. We just wanted the guys to go out there and play hard and play physically and play their technique. It was about the technique and fundamentals today. I thought it all came out pretty smoothly.”

 

On quarterback Joe Ganz

“I think it’s pretty obvious Joe is the No. 1 quarterback, but I think the young quarterbacks are all coming along. He’s a good football player, a tremendous leader. He’s playing with a swagger and a confidence right now, and that’s very important. Our guys rally around him, they believe in him, and I think he’s going to have a heck of a year. I think he’s an outstanding football player and somebody who is prepared to lead this team and do some very good things.”

 

On the race for the No. 2 spot on the depth chart

“Patrick Witt is probably a little bit ahead of Zac Lee, but Zac Lee does a lot of good things. I don’t put as much stock in today as what I’ve seen in the last 14 practices. Tonight what I see is both of them getting better and developing. They’re different athletes, and they have some different strengths and weaknesses. But they’re both good football players who are growing in the system and working with Coach Watson every day. I see them getting better, and I really feel good about the quarterback position now and in the future.”

 

On defensive progress through the spring

“What I see defensively is that they’re starting to learn the concepts and principles of what we’re asking them to do. A lot of that is new to them. We’re giving them roles and concepts and things to apply. It’s coming, but it’s not there yet. We’ve had a few position changes. Cody Glenn – we’ve thrown a lot at him in a short time, but I think he’s going to be a heck of a player for us at Will linebacker. I think from front to back, there’s enough talent there with a lot of new things being thrown at them. Obviously the consistency is not there yet, but the effort is there. We’re having some mental breakdowns, and they’re just not doing it time after time after time because there’s a little indecision. Every day, I see that indecision going away, and confidence is growing. We’ll get there, but it’s a process. The process is well under way, but it’s not nearly finished. We’re not going to be satisfied until we’re up there at the top. We’re going to keep raising our standard. We have a very high standard; we want perfection. That’s what we’re going to strive for, and the players understand that. They have the correct attitude.”

 

On seeing former players in attendance at the game

“It’s special. They were around the whole weekend, and we had a couple of new events. It’s just such a great turnout. I was able to meet a lot of new guys, as did a lot of the staff. I think the special thing is that they understand they’re always welcome here. We want them around our program. They’re the ones who helped to build this place into what it is today. They’re passionate about it, and we appreciate their support. We hope to see them around very often.”

 

On accomplishing defensive system goals in the spring

“We got in most of the basics. We got into the base concepts. We’re just at square one in teaching them, but we feel like we’ve exposed them to a lot. Playing against our offense and all the things they do allows us to do that. It makes it a little harder at practice to work through practices, but it will make us better in the long run because we’re seeing so much, formation-wise and personnel-wise. I think it’s all there. We exposed them to a lot, and now it’s time to keep developing that understanding and hone in on where exactly we need to get to.”

 

On wide receiver Curenski Gilleylen

“He’s an explosive athlete. He’s a good football player who is developing. He was nicked up for a couple of days there with a hamstring, and he’s come back and really looked good out there today. I think he has a tremendous amount of ability, and he’s someone who can be a big weapon in our offense. I think the whole wide receiver corps has come along and made progress, and I feel good about that group.”

 

On linebacker Tyler Wortman

“He has had a very good spring. He came out of it the No. 1 Buck linebacker. He’s a back-up Mike, and I think he’s going to be a good football player for us. We’re really excited about him.”