March 22, 2010
"This Thursday we will obviously start spring football, and that is really the second phase of our offseason program, the first phase being that 10-week period when the kids came back off break. I'm very pleased with that first phase. We have gotten some real good work done in terms of our strength, our conditioning and also with our mat drills. Having the new facility enabled us to expand that mat-drill portion quite significantly. So, I like the work we have done; I like our attitude."
On the spring ball schedule:
"This Thursday we will start the second stage, which is spring football. Our schedule, which is subject to change, will be Thursday, Saturday and Sunday to knock out the three non-padded practices and then the remaining four weeks we will have a three-day schedule Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. We won't close any practices; everything will be open (except for those moved inside)."
"Obviously, Michael Kawulok, a starting linebacker for us, will not be available in the spring (knee). Our goal is to get him back for the summer program and full-go for the month of June. Mike Orakpo strained a hamstring and will be very limited, which is disappointing because I wanted to get a look at him. We hope to have him back at some point during the spring. Mark Starr has an issue with his pec, which occurred lifting. It does not appear to be an operative type of thing. Mark is a returning starter on the offensive line at tackle, but in some ways it is a blessing in disguise. It will further force us to develop the offensive line with some of those younger guys. Zach Tiedgen, a defensive lineman, is out with a shoulder. Again, like Kawulok, we hope to get him up and running in the month of June."
On the coaching staff:
"As you know, we have juggled some things around. Pat Meyer, who was the offensive line coach, really had taken the lead role since I hired this staff on the offensive side of the ball. He is very talented and will step in. Actually, he has been doing it; he just gets the offensive coordinator title this year. We were fortunate enough to hire Dan Hammerschmidt and have Dan come back to where he belongs. Dan and I have worked together and Dan will coach the receivers. Most recently we hired Todd Stroud off the Florida State staff. He is going to join us and coach our tight ends and fullbacks."
On looking ahead to spring football:
"We are going to be very young in some spots and are going to have to develop in a hurry, most notably on offense at quarterback and the offensive line. We are a little more experienced on the defensive side of the ball. Again, we are going to have to develop in some spots, but I like our talent level. I think we have some good, young talent in this program and we are going to continue to work the plan like I have said all along. We know this is a multi-year process, but I like the direction we are headed and I am very optimistic about what we are going to accomplish here over the next five weeks."
On redshirt freshman RB Chris Nwoke:
"Chris will be challenging for a starting spot. I am very pleased with what he has done and I think he is a very talented young man. To me, he epitomizes what our program is. There are some good young kids that are coming up through the ranks and we are excited to see what they do with this opportunity."
On QB Klay Kubiak's availability in the spring, after shoulder surgery:
"His participation will be limited. He has done quite a bit of work up here with Terry (DeZeeuw) and his staff and the doctors. And, actually with his dad down in Houston, he has some nice resources in that regard. So, he has had a lot of people look at his shoulder. He will start to throw the football, but he will not be cleared at 100 percent at any point during the spring. Again, our hope for him would be to have him up and running by the summer; however, again, that is kind of like our offensive tackle situation where it is a blessing in disguise because we will see what we have with Nico Ranieri, Pete Thomas and some other guys."
On the status of TE Eric Peitz, whose 2009 season ended with a shoulder injury in Week 9:
"Peitz is full-go. Now, Eric falls into that category where he is a proven guy. Eric is a very talented and hard-working guy in our program that doesn't have a lot to prove. So, we will be smart in some of those cases, he being one of them."
On the quarterback situation going into the spring:
"We are very fortunate to have Pete (Thomas) here in January and to give him a chance to compete. He has been around some of it now and kind of understands what is going on to some degree. It is obviously a difficult position to play early. Nico (Ranieri) is a little bit farther along because he went through the fall. Those two, we feel like they are good young quarterbacks and we will let them compete. M.J. McPeek has done a nice job whenever we have given him a chance, so he will get a little bit more of an expanded opportunity in the spring. And, we do have T.J. Borcky playing quarterback right now. I would like for T.J., if he is not our starting quarterback, to be a big part of our offense as a receiver, but we will just see where that goes."
On T.J. Borcky being listed atop the depth chart at QB:
"Well, if we were playing a game tomorrow, he would be the starter, but we are not and we all know that. We will just see where that goes."
On the depth at the RB position:
"There is a lot of depth there. We met this morning about using guys with what they do. There is a ton of talent there and we have to get them involved with their strengths. I don't want to handicap it. I mean there are a lot of guys that have played a lot of football and some very, very good young players along with the transfer, Raymond Carter, coming up. We should have a very spirited battle there during the spring.
"I think you need to have three guys at that spot ready to play. We will always look at switching guys around. For example, Adam Seymore is a defensive lineman now. We feel like that helps our football team. Nobody is cemented in any spot around here. We will always do what is best for the group and the team. But, I want to get through spring with these guys and give everyone an honest look. Raymond Carter may do different things than Leonard Mason, and Greenwood may be a little different than Nwoke and that type of thing, so we will see as the spring goes along."
On how much of the offense Pete Thomas can absorb:
"We are going to find out; we aren't going to wait for him just like we don't wait for anybody, a coach, a player, anybody. The train is leaving and you better get on it."
On depth at positions and progress:
"I think we are getting there, but we are obviously a ways off still, to where we can line up and feel good at every spot and then have a guy graduate and another guy coming up that we feel good about. Like our offensive line, we are going to be extremely young. It will look disheartening at times early on in the spring. But, I think by the end of the year that we can be a very good offensive line. You have to develop these guys and that's why we are here; they are paying us to coach and get everyone to go. But, I like our talent level that we are bringing in and I like the way we are working. I am still getting back to that same old theme around here that if we just get better every day we go out there that all those other things take care of themselves."
On the players' mentality coming into this spring compared to last:
"I see a lot of getting back to what is important. I think we were all a little guilty last spring of looking down the road a little farther than we needed to. I like the way we have showed up for mat drills. I really like our leadership; when you have guys like Eric Peitz and Zac Pauga back on offense and getting a guy like Ricky Brewer back is huge, getting Ricky back on the defensive side of the ball. They are not only players but they are the type of people that can take your football team and take your locker room and make sure the right type of thing is going on."
On whether Brewer will return to the weak side, or play on the strong side:
"I think we will juggle all those guys and see. The way Larry (Kerr) does things and the way people flip tight ends now, both outside linebacker spots are really the same in a lot of respects. It's a little different in the middle but not that much different. Larry does play those guys in a lot of different spots, which is good I think. I think it helps us from a depth standpoint and I think it helps us in terms of knowledge of the defense."
On what will be the strength of the defense:
"I think we have some depth at linebacker. Our secondary should be good as well; we have some guys that have played a lot of snaps there. Up front, you just don't play with four defensive linemen. You just can't get comfortable saying you have a few guys that play; you have to develop a rotation where you get six to seven guys you put in a game. We are not there yet but, a lot like we were talking about at running back, we have some good young defensive linemen in the program and as they develop I think they will be good for us."
On seeing last year's redshirt class become eligible to play:
"Well that is going to be the message in the spring. We will have a redshirt freshman at quarterback competing, we will have three redshirt freshmen competing on the offensive line, two redshirt freshmen defensive tackles and the list goes on and on. That was a good class. On paper this last recruiting class is maybe a little bit better, but I'll tell you what, if we can get the type of productivity we got out of that class and stack a few of those together, we are going to have a really good football team here pretty quick."
On developing players and accomplishing his philosophy:
"Exactly, and like I said, I think we will see it particularly in the offensive line as the spring goes on."
On UCLA transfer Raymond Carter:
"Raymond Carter, I think, was the third-ranked back in the country coming out of high school. There wasn't a lot of evaluation that needed to be done on a kid that visits USC, Oregon, UCLA and wherever else. He had all the credentials in the world coming out of high school, so when he was looking for a new home we were certainly interested. It helped that we knew a little bit about him and it helped that we had Elijah-Blu (Smith) here; he was a teammate of his. I think it's also that same old thing when we talk about recruiting: If you get a young man to come to Fort Collins and step foot on campus here, we are going to certainly get our share of guys."
On DE Broderick Sargent changing positions:
"He is a very talented young athletic guy in our program and he was playing a little tight end/fullback for us and will go over now to the defensive line. We are going to try and find a spot for him somewhere. He contributed on special teams last year and I think that will be a big part of what he does as well. We are going to find a spot for him to play. He is a good young kid."
On any specific position he will watch during spring ball:
"Yeah, I think offensive line and quarterback, for sure, on the offensive side of the ball. Those are very crucial spots to having any success at all offensively. We are going to be extremely young; you are talking about maybe having a quarterback that was maybe in high school a year ago and offensive linemen that are one year out of high school redshirted. So, I'm anxious to see, and the reason I say that is, I sound like a broken record, there are some talented kids, and I'm looking forward to watching these practices and the development that we get in some spots."
On the situation at WR:
"We are going to be young there. I have said all along that I like Byron Steele and Marquise Law; there are some good young kids there and their time is now. We certainly did not play very well there last year. We are going to have to get much better in a hurry at that spot to move the ball like we need to move the ball offensively."
On QB Pete Thomas and what he has done on his own to learn the offense:
"A lot of it is on his own, but that stuff has been made available to him, as with all those guys. The real deal starts now. Now is when we will have more interaction with them. Now is when we will talk about something in the meeting room and go try to run it out on the field and see that whole process take shape. Some guys just naturally, particularly at the quarterback spot, can see something on a board and just go do it, whereas other guys need to see it on a board and walk through it and make a mistake once and then they are better at it. Where he is at in that regard, I don't know, but we are going to find out pretty quick with all those guys.
"He is a hardworking kid, as is Nico (Raineiri) and a lot of those guys. At that position, you want, more than anything, a certain want to exist with the young man and it does with those quarterbacks."
On his personal streak, now in its sixth year, of grooming a first-year starting quarterback, dating back to his days in the NFL:
"One of these springs, we are going to have a returning starter. That will be kind of nice. I will say this, each year we have let the battle go on. We are not going to reward any position here unless it is merited. So, we will take this thing right up to the opener if we have to."
On when he wants to narrow down his starting QB candidates:
"I don't care if it is one day in, or the day before the CU game. Whenever it is, that is when it is. I will know; the time will be right. My biggest goal is that we are better Thursday night that we were Thursday morning.
"You can't say, `This is the formula and do it.' Every time it is different. If we have to take three guys into the summer as opposed to two, we will do it. I just don't want to ever in coaching give to someone something that they haven't earned."
On tweaking the offense to fit a certain QB:
"Billy Farris was not the quickest delivery guy in the world, but Billy was a tough guy. He was smart and was good in the pocket and could get the ball down the field so we threw a lot of comebacks and digs and blocked up seven guys. Grant (Stucker) was a little quicker with the ball, so we could get a few more guys out, but he wasn't as consistently good at getting the ball downfield like Billy did. They are all different and you obviously want to play to your guy's strengths."
On what he plans to address coming off last season:
"Well we do that every year; we evaluate every phase of the program. We didn't just roll into our offseason lifting and running and mat drills without sitting down and taking a hard look at what we have done and where we thought we made significant gains and where we thought we were spinning our wheels a little bit. We do that with recruiting, with the clinic, with the Football 101 we are going to do with women. We are going to sit down after that thing and say, `what was good, what was bad, how can we get better?'. We are always doing that because this is a very competivie business we are in, and you can be darn sure TCU and Utah aren't sitting still, either. So, we can work harder and work more efficient to get better; we are always going to do that."
On T.J. Borcky and his willingness to play different positions:
"He is a great kid with a great family. His dad is a coach, and we are going to have his brother join the program, who is another great kid. His dad is a head football coach, so I think he has grown up with the team aspect always being preached to him. He will do whatever we ask him to do and he will do it hard. He is a tough guy, and you just want a bunch of those guys on your football team."
On depth and any regrets on not picking up a junior-college transfer:
"Not really, and I'm just not really high on getting juco guys. Obviously there is a place and there are schools that get them and they work out. I am just a firm believer that if we can get a young man in our program and have five years with him, that is the way to do it. If we have to play a guy a year early then we will do it; it's not the end of the world. Sometimes those junior-college guys are out the door before you get the whole thing figured out with them. If you take a guy like Ezra Thompson, he is a safety we recruited a year ago and he redshirted and now he knows what we want academically and has four years left. I just think that is the right way to do it; not to say we won't recruit a junior-college guy, but there is going to have to be some special circumstances. Kind of like a transfer; with Raymond Carter we weren't necessarily looking for a running back, but he is a pretty darn good player and we had a shot at him, so we were going to do it. If something like that comes up on the defensive line or at corner, we may entertain it, but we aren't looking to do it."
On sensing the players were hungrier this spring than a year ago:
"I think so. I also sensed that we had a little better leadership maybe starting out this time of year. Whether that carries through spring football and that carries through our summer program, we will see, but I like the way we are looking right now."
On the return of Ricky Brewer:
"He has kind of proven what he can do out there. I told Ricky when this whole thing happened, `You can either let it get the best of you, or you can turn it into a positive,' which I think he has done. I want to be very clear about this: He has done everything, not just from a football standpoint, but he has done everything in his life and academically that we have asked him to do. I am really proud of him and I think he will have a big year. When you get something that you cherish taken away from you, you will cherish it that much more."
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