CSU football media day quotes

Head Coach Jim McElwain met with media Monday

Head Coach Jim McElwain met with media Monday

Aug. 6, 2012

Coaches

Head Coach Jim McElwain

(On whether he had an impact on new uniforms)
“I’ll tell you the impact I had. I wish we would wear our practice jerseys and our practice uniforms and go out and learn how to block and tackle and play. To me you have to earn the uniform. As of right now we haven’t done any of that. I do believe we will and I do believe we will in time. To be quite upfront about it, one of the least things I worry about is uniforms and picture day. You want to talk about something that really has no impact on what you do on a daily basis.”

“I hope they look good. I’m ok with that. (laughing)”

(On first couple days of practice)
“These first couple days of practice I’ve been very happy and very optimistic about what they have done together as a team over the summer and I think some of that has actually come out onto the field and shown that they know how to finish a little bit better. It’s not great yet, but they’re getting the idea of how to do it and, more importantly, why it is important to do it.”

“I had our video guy, who has been here a long time say ‘you know what Mac, that looked like a real practice.”

“I’m never satisfied, and the day I become satisfied, ship me out of here. I always want to strive to get better. There is always something we can work on.”

(On how he sees the team)
“This early in camp, starting where I believe you win games is up front and being strong through the middle. You have to be able to run the football and you have to be able to stop the run. The teams that are consistently top-winning teams don’t rely on one or the other, so you need some balance. At the end of the day, if you can stop the run on defense and make a team be one dimensional, and offensively be able to run the ball; finish in the fourth quarter to break their will.”

So far, being in no pads and the addition of two tackles that were not at all in spring ball, they have done a good job. They’re rusty, which is obvious coming off major knee surgery. I have been happy with their approach and it gives us more depth at that position. I feel much better about where we were leaving spring ball, with the addition of those guys.”

“Defensively, we’ve added a couple guys that I think appear to be guys that’ll help us, but I’m not even going to get there yet until we get through the first scrimmage and see what they can do. If I could make predictions I’d be in Vegas right now, making a whole bunch of money at the sports book. I think we’ve helped ourselves. Do we still need depth there? Yes, but I think we’ve helped ourselves.”

“Receivers, we’ve got some good numbers there. We’ve got some young guys that have had some playing that maybe know now what it means to play on the big stage. I’m more so happy with their effort to finish after they do catch the ball. One thing we do need to do is increase our explosive play capability. The flip side of that is we need to cut down on the explosive play defensively.”

(On how CSU trains for the fourth quarter)
“I think it is a positive that we get to train at elevation. I know the heat index is not what you’d like it to be to get them in that shape that you need. At the same time, you can really take the back end of a season out of your team by draining them during two-a-days. There is a cumulative effect on your body.”

“Our two-a-days will be mornings and evenings trying to stay out of the heat of the day to save a little bit on that. Your one-a-days, where you really need to get your work done, will be the hottest part of the day.”

(On whether he can take advantage of the altitude during games)
“I really hope to do that. With our strength and conditioning staff, as well as our trainers, they’re helping me understand the physiological effect of training at altitude.”

(On 5 o’clock kickoff)
“I look at the 5 o’clock start for the fans. If they have sons or daughters playing soccer they can now get to the game, or they can go play golf, enjoy the day and still give them an opportunity to get to the ballgame.”

(On throwing out the first pitch on Aug. 18th Rockies game)

“I’m really excited. The biggest thing I’ve kind of got going for me is do I go Juan Marichal, Luis Tiant, or go underneath like ‘The Whip’ (Kent) Tekulve… I’m hoping to just hit the mit.”


Offensive Coordinator Dave Baldwin

(On Garrett Grayson)
The most exciting thing we’ve seen is the development during the summer. Not only in the weight room and his conditioning, but his leadership with taking this team to work out during the summer and the progress that the team made with his leadership. And that’s the part about playing the quarterback position. It’s not necessarily your skills, your arm strength, your foot speed, it’s the leadership. He took it upon himself to improve individually in the weight room, throwing mechanics, but his leadership and getting the kids out there to do the things that they needed to do. It was obvious after our first two practices we’d improved. And that’s the leadership that he’s shown.”

(On what needs to be seen in growth of Grayson)
“The growth we need to see out of him is continued leadership, continued accuracy, playing within our system. We’ll do a lot of things that we ask him to do things not necessarily to be a playmaker, but play within the system. If he continues to do that, we’re going to have good growth.”

(On what is being done with Grayson)
“We haven’t explored all of the offense yet. In the spring we implemented just a certain system. We were trying to find out our playmakers. We really didn’t know without our two tackles being in the system. That’s probably the most exciting thing in the past two days is the tackles have come back, Caprioglio and Biard, which allows a quarterback a little more time to do the things he needs to do. We will find out the next week and a half the true playmakers. We’ve got ideas who we think they are and we’ll try to get them the ball. He is definitely a playmaker, whether we have to move him out of the pocket, whether it’s his quick passing abilities. We’ll figure that out in the next week and a half.”

(On having 1,100 yard rusher in Chris Nwoke)
“That’s always been a priority of Coach Mac and myself. I think the signs of a good offense if you have to have to be able to run the football. Bringing Chris back and what he showed in spring ball. The ability to run the football and his durability, but we have some people behind him in (Donnell) Alexander and Tommey Morris that I’m excited about. Tommey Morris is a young freshman that if he learns and continues to grow, he’s got really sweet feet. That’s what his nickname is Sweet Feet. He’s a weapon. I think the fact that there are other people other than Chris back there, the ability to use multiple backs. We will run the football, that’s a priority for us.”

(On the backfield)
“There’s a bunch of backs back there and it just being two days into practice, you’re not going to see a lot. Tommey Morris has shined a little more right now. Mark Woodbary has showed some signs. That kid is a walk-on kid and he can play in different situations for us. Alexander showed a lot there. There’s a lot of versatility back there. Today is the first day we put on the shoulder pads. It’s hard to say what a running back has done when you’re in shorts and helmets because you’re going to hit in there, but there’s not a lot of movement at the line, so the next couple of days will tell a lot about the running backs.“

(On increasing production to the wideouts)
“The versatility of using multiple personnel groupings, two tight ends, three tight ends, four wide outs, three wide outs, two running backs, three wide outs, multiple personnel groups should help us in that. I think Mr. Law has probably had the best summer of any of the wide outs. He’s taken great leadership. He’s finishing his drills. He’s catching the ball well. I think Marquise can be a big-time player for us, a playmaker. We know Coffman has that ability. He’s played through some injuries during the summer with a couple strains here and there, but he’s healthy now. He’s very explosive. Lovett is a playmaker that we have to get the ball. He’s not big, but he’s got the ability to make big plays. And then you put the two tight ends together in Cartwright and Crockett and that’s a mismatch because both of them can run well. If you’re playing for big personnel and we put them in the week side and they can march down the field on routes, we’re going to have some mismatches there. It’s my job and Billy Napier’s job to find our offenses and use those guys, but we do have some weapons out there.”

(On using the receivers in different ways)
“We’ve tried to implement a system that they’ve learned the system. That system is a whole picture and then as we go into game preparation week to week, we’ll tweak the system a different look, this or that, and he has to be able to play that position. All of the sudden it becomes another position, but it’s really doing the same thing. So if he learned our system, and that’s being not just a deep threat, it’s an underneath, it’s a screen runner, it’s a reverse runner, it’s a playmaker. We’re trying to utilize him in that aspect.”

(On different terminology but same offense)
“I’ve been a lot of places, brought in supposedly this multi-personnel, multi-formation pro-style offense. It doesn’t change. There are only so many formations you can have. Now do you motion, do you shift, you do all of the things with it, the terminology changes. What they might call X, we may call the H receiver. What they call Y, is Z to us, so the terminology changes for them, but it’s the same. I think it’s our tempo in practice that’s different. It’s our demanding of the little things that’s been different. If you’re supposed to stand in and get up to six yards, you get six, you don’t get to four. That’s going to hurt us if you don’t. It’s demanding the little things that go with it and that’s how you get good.”

(On a group that’s receptive to change)
“On the offensive side they have truly bought in. I’m excited about that and it’s all because of Coach Mac being there. I think the first week was getting in the office and the players weren’t coming up to see us. That was a little shocking because there was more separation between coaches and players. We’re all of the same team together. On offense we call it 11 heartbeats for one. We all have to beat on the same thing. Come up and see me in my office. I’m going to put my arm around you, I’m going to scold you at times, but we want you around. We’re a family. I think it’s opened up. They’ve realized that they can come upstairs; we’re going to walk through the locker room and see them. We’re all one in this. We’re going to go into battle, we’re all the same.”

(On being receptive to the change)
“They’ve taken to the change and they’ve taken to it very well. I’m excited with the summer workouts. I think the thing that started it off more than anything is our strength coach. There was a change there. The philosophy changed, the whole system was changed. They bought into that. They started to like him, then Coach Mac, the offense, the defense… I think there’s comradery. We go out to practice right now there is no offense vs. defense. It’s a pick by a DB and guys are high-fiving him on offense because it was great play. We realize that we want to compete and we want to kick your butt on that play, but we understand that this is team issue and if someone makes a great play, we’re going to recognize it.”

(On difference in conditioning)
“The biggest is difference is demanding that it happens. You’re going to be there at this time. This is what you’re going to do. This is the outfit that you’re going to wear. There is no individual treatment in there. If you had to go 10 yards, you go 10 yards. If you had to go down on the squat a certain distance, you go down on it. It’s demanding the little things, the discipline that that Alabama program had. There is no individual in that program until the playmaker has it in his hands. He’s an individual runner with 11 other guys or a tackler. There is no individual. They’ve demanded everything from the color of the shirts, to the shorts, to the socks, to no bandanas. Everything is the same. We’re all one. I think those little things like demanding it has made the difference.”

CO-DEFENSIVE COORDINATORS Marty English & Al Simmons

(On going to a 3-4 defense)
English: “We think in the 3-4, where we’re at, we have the ability to recruit more linebacker-type kids rather than four big, giant defensive linemen. The 3-4 fits our personnel very, very well, because we have a lot of linebackers and kids who can block in space and play off the edge and be hybrid-type guys—rush, drop, those types of guys. As far as D-ends go, because of our size, we have to move those guys. In the 3-4, it’s a lot easier for us to take and stunt those guys, and that’s what we have to do.”

“One of the four will always be a fourth rusher. We’ll have some of those guys out of the group who are pass-rush specialists.”

Simmons: “We’ve got some athletes. We just have to put the right guys on the field at the right positions, and we also have some depth.”

(On players adding bulk)

English: “They’re not huge. Our guys probably put on eight or 10 pounds over the summer. There’s no 290 pounder. We might have gone from 250 to 260, but what they’ve done is hugely beneficial to our guys and what they need to do.”

(On summer strength workouts)
Simmons: “Those guys are working their butts off. Coach Kent did a great job. We have some before and after shots of some of our guys, and you can see how their bodies have changed. They’re not necessarily bigger than they were, but they’ve cut down some fat and have added to their agility.”

(On the secondary being a strength)

Simmons: “There is some experience there, but we’re young at the same time. Momo Thomas and Austin Gray have played a lot. There are some young guys that I feel really, really good about. I think there’s an opportunity to have some great depth there. I feel good about the group, and they’re going to make my job difficult in determining who to put out on the field. I thought they progressed really well from Day 1 to 15 in the spring, and then our first practice of the camp was better than I anticipated, and that’s a credit to those guys, and how they worked this summer.”

(On being in this conference before)
English: “I think it’s a big benefit. I think I understand some of the opponents; I’ve traveled to these places. The attitude, preparation, demands . . . I think I have a good idea of it all. The thing we all have going for us now is that when all of us coaches walk out of the room, we’re on the same page. With all of the experience we have, we have a pretty good idea of what’s worked for us in other places.”

(On working with English as co-coordinator)
Simmons: “I think we’ve decided that we’re going to try and talk everything through—not just between Marty and I, but the entire staff—we’re going to utilize everybody’s talents and ideas, and make sure we’re on the same page all the time. I think we’ve made great strides from the spring to the summer, and to now. We’re really starting to gel.”

(On teaching the defense the entire picture)
English: “That linebacker has to understand how he’s supposed to fit in the scheme of what we’re doing. The D-lineman has to understand that if he peeks from one gap to another gap how that affects the linebacker. Then the linebacker has to have an understanding of how the secondary has to read it, or how important it is to get hands-on so we protect the secondary. You have to understand how the grand scheme of how the whole thing fits. That’s part of the whole room gelling and being on the same page. I think it’s important for them to understand, ‘Hey this is how important it is that I leverage this football back inside. If I don’t, here’s how bad it’s going to affect the whole defense, or those inside.’ Part of it is caring about each other, and caring about the whole unit.”

(On the benefit of facing Nwoke every day in practice)
English: “It helps a lot. It’s a huge benefit for us to face our own offense, because it’s an offense that’s going to be able to present you a lot of looks, but also some personnel groups.”

LB Shaquil Barrett

(On adjusting to his third coaching staff in as many years)

“This year is much easier. My first year was hard, the next year was hard, but I’ve become a smarter player. It helps having the other guys adjusting, too. We have a good feeling.”

(On concern with the defensive line)
“I’m very confident in the people we’re putting on the defensive line. Everyone’s been working very hard these last two days. I like what I see out of all of them. We expect a lot out of them, and they’re going to come out and play hard for us and do their job, and we’re going to win some games.”

(On the line being undersized)

“We have some pretty good-sized guys. I’m really looking forward to what’s become of the defensive line.”

(On linebackers being ranked by some publications as the best in the Mountain West)
“We want to be confident, so we try and talk each other up. Our goal is to be the best in the conference, and ultimately the best in the nation. We know that’s a lot of work ahead of us, but we’re taking it one day at a time. We’re not accepting people not jogging through the line. We’re playing hard and encouraging each other, trying to get to the status we want to be at.”

(On LB Aaron Davis)
“AD, he’s real fast. He knows what he’s doing out there. Him playing fast is going to be very beneficial for the defensive ends since he’ll know the scheme. AD’s really coming into his own at the linebacker position. We expect big things from him this year. He still has DB speed at the linebacker position.”

(On the difference from last year)
“We’re going to play four whole quarters, and if we have overtime, we’re going to play that too—with 100 percent effort. Sometimes last year guys took plays off; I was guilty of that last year. Now, we’re practicing a lot harder than we did last year. We’re running to the ball 30 yards down the field, then hustling back because we have to do a no-huddle play. The effort is a lot better, which is going to help us play as a team.”

(On moving to the outside)
“They changed my position to outside so I could do more pass-rushing. That’s what I was recruited out of high school for; I’m going to enjoy that a lot. I love pass-rushing.”

(On starting a legacy at CSU)
“Our attitude around the facility is amazing. We were talking about it yesterday. I wasn’t here during the summer last year, but it sounds like this is the best positive energy flow that we’ve had at a fall camp. I can feel that too. We just feel good that we can be part of this legacy we’re about to start. Failure is not an option with all of the hard work we’re doing. We’re just looking forward to the season. We’re ready to get the ball rolling.”

(On starting the season against Colorado)
“I’m excited for that game. We lost to them last year, which I don’t think we should have. Last year we didn’t play four great quarters, which we’re working on this year. I’m already getting excited; everybody’s excited. The energy around the locker room . . . Sept. 1 can’t come quick enough.”

CB Momo Thomas

(On the mental conditioning program)
“It brought that sense of camaraderie, that sense of togetherness we’ve been searching for. Greg Myers came here the other day, and talked about how back then they were together, they loved each other, it was a brotherhood. We see that coming together from that mental conditioning.”

(On the secondary)

“It’s looking good to me. We’re going to build a lot of trust back there. A lot of guys with a lot of experience back there, even the young guys coming in are showing what they’ve got and are making plays every day. In film, I’m seeing guys taking more notes than we’ve ever taken before. Guys are locked in and paying attention and wanting to learn.”

(On the younger members of the secondary)
“We all know it takes time, and you have to get some experience back there. We’re seeing a lot of improvement in Austin (Gray). He’s stepping up and becoming a leader with film, on the field, off the field. With Trent (Matthews), we’ve told him, ‘You’ve got to play a big role for us. We need you on the field. We don’t have time for you to wait until next year to get better.’ He’s going to step up for us and make big plays for us this year.”

(On coaching the younger players)
“I have to use my experiences. Like Greg Myers said, you have to have a short-term memory. That’s the biggest thing I’d tell our secondary. You have to learn to bounce back. Obviously, I didn’t do that my sophomore year. He (Austin Gray) will get it done. He’ll do what he needs to do.”

(On his senior season)
“I’m definitely going to be a leader back there. But when you have a group of guys who are buying into everything and wanting to learn and get better, it takes care of itself, really. I can say all I want on the field, but the whole team’s going to carry everybody.”

(On the trust the upperclassmen have from Coach McElwain)
“The first thing he told us was that we deserve to have a good season this year; we deserve to go to a bowl game this year. That meant a lot, and we believe that he’s going to lead us to that land.”

(On the enthusiasm under the new coaching staff)
“Absolutely, the effort on the football field is outstanding. Everybody’s been striving for excellence. Those are the things Coach stresses on us and is banging into our heads every day. I know I don’t see what I used to see.”

(On the change to a 3-4 defense)
“It really has no effect on us. In the secondary, a coverage is a coverage.”

(On Coach Al Simmons)
“I love him. I’m glad they brought him in. He’s definitely taught us some things that we’ve never seen or heard that I wish I would have known in the past. He’s a smart coach. Technical things, physical things, he breaks everything down.”

(On playing Colorado first)
“It’s a rivalry, so it’s going to be there, definitely. Seeing it over the years, I don’t think it’s been where it should have been at. I think this year it’s going to get back to where it should be. I’m looking forward to all the fans coming out and seeing us as a family, trusting one another on the field again and having a good season.”

(On the importance of a strong start)
“I think it’s important, for sure, but one thing we don’t want to overlook this year is the fourth quarter. I’m talking about the season and just a game in particular. You can start a season real strong, but it’s about how you finish it. During the summer, Coach has been stressing the fourth quarter. That’s why he’s pushing us in practice. At the end of practice we’re doing extra sprints to start good and finish good.”

LB James Skelton

(on the new uniforms)
“I like them a lot. They’re pretty traditional looking. It doesn’t really matter how you look, it’s how you play.”

(On the attitude going into the season)
“Everyone has great morale right now, which is what really matters.”

(On the 3-4 defense)
“It’ll help in terms of our D-line holding gaps and getting in there, getting some penetration. That’ll allow us to make plays. We’ll have one more linebacker on the field this year, so we’ll all be flying around a little bit better.”

(On being ranked by some publications as the best linebacking corps in the conference)
“I’m confident in us. I think it’ll take the season to prove that we are the best in the conference, but I’m confident in myself and the guys beside me.”

(On adjusting to the players lost during the spring)
“Things like that are tough, but we’re ready right now, and we’re getting more and more ready as the days go on. We’re past that, and we’re ready for Week 1.”

(On the team’s effort)
“It’s a mental attitude. Everybody’s getting to the ball. It’s passion, effort and attitude that wins games.”

(On personal pre-season accolades)
“It got my confidence up a little bit, but it’s a reflection of the team. It lets me know that the people around me are doing the right things to free me up a little bit.”

(On using the extra linebacker to blitz more)
“I’m definitely looking forward to it. I always love blitzing. It’s a fun defense.”

(On the biggest change of attitude)
“Not cockiness, but confidence. We can look around each other and honestly have the confidence that we can win games. Coach Mac, he really rubs that off on us. Everybody’s confident.”

(On a clean slate under the new coaching staff)
“I think so, the guys who have been here for four years, we remember what’s happened. I think we can erase it and get a new slate and move on. That’s all you can do.”

QB Garrett Grayson

(On new jersey)

“I like them. Nice and plain: nothing too flashy. We figured we were going to get something along the lines of Alabama.”

(On Ram horn on helmet)

“Coach Mac always says that’s sort of our trademark, that Ram-horn on the helmet. He wants to make that our trademark and make sure that’s known around the country.”

(On comfort level with offense as starting QB)

 “I feel as comfortable as I honestly could right now. I go home every night, I’ve got Lee Clubb as my roommate in the dorms, and we’re going over plays and studying together. I’ll give him help and having him ask me questions helps me out. It makes me look at it from the receiver’s standpoint and what he’s seeing from defenses, cause he has to read coverages too for certain routes, so that helps me out. You’re going to throw the ball here or there because you know what he is thinking. It’s all about timing.”

(On being better than people predict with new staff)

 “I don’t want to guarantee anything, I don’t want to seem too cocky or confident, but I’ve never felt someone instill confidence in me like Coach Mac does. The whole team is like that. There were a few guys when he first got here that had to adjust and get used to the new head coach and what he brought to us, but now everybody is 100 percent bought in. Like I’ve said, I’ve never had a coach do this to me and bring as much confidence in me as he does. When you have that you want to go out every practice and you want to practice, you don’t look at it as practice, you look at it as how can you get better today and move forward to the games and be as prepared as possible.”

(On when confidence with new staff started)

“We had a lot of guys injured during spring ball so nobody really got to see how Coach Mac was on the field because they weren’t out there making their mistakes and doing things that he was going to make corrections on. He couldn’t really get on them about that stuff, but now he’s doing that, and I think the beginning of the summer was our turning point. Coach (Mike) Kent down in the weight room is kicking our butts, and that was different for us, we’ve never had that before. So once he started doing that, everyone started buying in and everyone came together. I think the beginning of the summer was that point when everyone really bought in and accepted what was going on here and brought the confidence together and we all came together at that point. It was this weird feeling where you finally knew, alright here we go; we’re ready for September 1.”

(On being projected starter)

“Going into this season, it’s a different feeling. You feel good, you feel confident, but you just want to show people that you can be that guy too. You’re always going to have your doubters and people saying why is this guy playing, why isn’t MJ or Connor or CJ, why aren’t they playing? But you have to go into every game thinking you are the guy. You have to be confident. You don’t want to be cocky, but there is a difference, so I go into every game and I’m going to prepare just like I did for the last few games last year. I had my mistakes, I had my fair share of interceptions, but I feel like that was just my freshman jitters. I got those out of my way and I’m ready to roll sophomore year.”

(On experience from starting last few games last year)

“I think it will help me a lot. If I was going to go into this first game, I would have jitters going into Mile High and playing CU, the big rival, I would have so many jitters, but now that I have a few games in my system and knowing what it’s like to play Division I football, I think all of that will come together. Like I’ve said, just having Coach Mac, a guy that has so much confidence in you, you just go into games with a coach like that thinking that you just can’t lose.”

(On fit of the offense)

 “I came to Colorado State for that reason. To play in the NFL was always a dream of mine, it takes a lot of hard work to get there, but I wanted that offense to get me there. They run a pro style in the NFL obviously, so I wanted to have that offense in my background to get to that level. He brought that and I was more than happy with that, I didn’t want a spread offense. There are a few things that will be spread out and read-option, zone reads, that kind of thing, but I wanted this offense so when he brought it in I was more than happy.”

(On adjusting to new offense)

“It’s not anything crazy different. There are a lot of the same routes, now it’s just different combinations and how they do them and what they are doing against middle-open defenses and middle-close defenses. There are little tweaks but it’s nothing too crazy, it’s just the verbiage that is really different.”

(On Coach Mac adjusting the offense to his style)

 “I wouldn’t say me specifically. Coach Mac said when he first got here that he’ll go through spring ball and then he’ll adjust to what he sees from spring ball what we have. He said he did the same thing at Alabama; looked at the guys they had and adjusted and called plays for what he had out on the field. I feel like it’s more what he’s doing for us as a team. He’s going to adjust for what we bring as a team, not just me or Nwoke. We obviously are going to give Nwoke the ball as much as we can, but I don’t think it’s anything for me personally that he’s doing.”

(On playing CU first)

 “I’m beyond excited. I just want to show everybody what we are doing this offseason. We still have doubters, I think we are picked sixth or seventh, so I just want to show everybody what we’ve been doing this offseason and how it will pay off. Going against our big rival, hopefully we can go down there and show them what we’ve been doing all summer and spring and bring them down.”

RB Chris Nwoke

(On difference from Grayson this year compared to last)

“He’s doing real well. He’s leading the team in the right direction, making big plays on the practice field, and he’s making an all-around effort to be that well-rounded quarterback. He’s doing a great job for us and we are definitely dependent on him.”

(On confidence in Grayson)

“We are definitely confident in him. We have confidence in each other, which is the biggest thing. We are playing like family. These practices are getting us closer together, so right now I think we are on a great track.”

(On leadership of Grayson)

“You could tell there is a spike in his confidence now that he has a starting role. He’s a big leader on the team and a lot of people are looking up to him which has given all of us confidence to be confident in each other. We have faith in each other to make each play, every rep.”

(On game experience improving Grayson’s skill level)

 “He’s gotten his feet wet a little bit. It’s not like he hasn’t played against the speed, he now knows the speed and what it takes. He played TCU, so obviously that’s going to give him a lot of skill level there. Now he is going to capitalize and grow upon that and be ready for this year.”

(On mindset of being feature back)

“My mindset is just to keep getting better as a team. We are working together for a common goal, so no matter what I’ve done, we have to keep getting better as a team so that we can have a family-type atmosphere and go win some games.”

(On getting better in the offseason)

 “I’ve put on some weight. Coach (Mike) Kent has some really great workouts, so we’ve been getting better as a team with a lot of quickness and speed workouts that we’ve been doing. It’s just been a great atmosphere and everyone has been enjoying working out together.”

(On weight gain)

“Probably about 5lbs of muscle. I probably slimmed down some of that fat, put on more lean muscle. Coach (Mike) Kent’s workouts feature a lot of explosive type stuff, so I really feel solid, faster, and quicker.”

(On hurdling skills)

“(Coach Mac) definitely doesn’t want me to do that. He wants me to go ahead and use that physical power and keep my legs running through traffic, but he hasn’t really referred a lot to that, but he’ll probably want me to use that physical power.”

(On relationship with offensive line)

 “Our relationship has been built a lot. We’ve been doing a lot of stuff together. We’ve been working hard in the weight room, together; every little thing is togetherness, so that when we come out on that game field, we can rely on each other to make that play. Our bond has grown higher and higher with the leadership of Garrett, the leadership of other guys coming in, so right now I think we’re on a really great track.”

(Differences with Coach Mac)

“Coach Mac has really been emphasizing to do something you have never done, do stuff that you have never done; meaning playing hard on the practice field, winning every rep, winning every practice, making sure you have no regrets. Obviously we have that in our heads each and every practice and we are trying to put it all in line in practice so come game time it will be easy.”

(On playing CU first)

“It’s going to be a big game. Obviously that would be a landscape for us, get that win; that rivalry win. That would really amp us up and give us a lot of confidence going for the next games. It will be a big game, and we definitely need that. I know we are fighting for that every practice, every rep, so we’re excited.”

(On other running backs)

“There are great backs. We’re all competing, we’re all trying to make each other better, and we’re all coaching each other up which is key. Everyone is doing good things. Everyone has their strengths and their weaknesses and we capitalize on each other’s strengths which makes us a good core. Right now we have faith in each other and we are doing a great job.”

(On new system)

“The basic plays are fairly similar. Obviously you have your different terminology but as you do more reps and have more practices it becomes simple. Right now we are on that step of continuing to get better and making sure those plays are right.”

(On differences this year)

“Leadership and passion. Everyone has passion; everyone wants to get better every practice; everyone knows that practice is for you to mold your craft and everyone is doing that. Making sure you never take a play off, making sure you go 110 percent so that when we get to game time, we’re going full speed when one guy on the other team could be taking a play off.”

(On preseason expectations and pressure)

Just have to play the game, and play the game together. We’ve been working at it a long time as a family in the weight room and practice so everything should become easy because we are consistently doing that; playing as a family and trusting each other. As we have faith in each other, things will work themselves out.”

C Weston Richburg

(On uniforms being a nice change along with everything else)

“Yeah, Coach Mac talked a lot about cleaning the clutter from past years, and this is definitely changing what has been going on. This is a symbol where we are forgetting about the past and trying to move on.”

(On whether there is an extra bounce in the program)

“I think there is definitely a change of attitude around the whole program. Our team is very excited. We had some circumstances where some guys left the program, and now we have a really tight-knit group of guys here right now that I would go out there and play my heart out for. I think that’s definitely a big positive for us. We are definitely a really close team, I think much closer than any of the teams since I’ve been here. We’re all very excited about the ‘Bold New Era’ as they are calling it.

(On message being lost last year)

“I don’t know if that’s the case. I’m sure there were a lot of things that accumulated to end like that, but I couldn’t single out a certain thing that caused it.”

(On offseason bringing team together)

“Yeah, absolutely. The biggest move we did this summer was moving back to ‘The Dungeon’ and that place is a place where we feel separated from everyone else; it’s just us back there. We are able to just let loose, scream, holler, and just have a lot of fun together and work out together, and I’m not going to lie, those workouts are some of the hardest workouts I’ve ever done. So it was just cool to be back there with your family, kind of secluded from everyone else and just let loose and workout together.”

(On move to ‘The Dungeon’)

“It didn’t bother me, and I don’t think it really bothered anyone. The reason they moved us back there is because that’s where Greg Myers worked out, and he has a Thorpe Award. Obviously those guys were really getting after it back there and we wanted to go down there and do the same things they were doing. It was really cool.”

(On team expectations)

“We are just really excited. We’ve put in so much work; I’m just so excited to continue through this camp with these guys and continue to get our offense clicking like it should be. Our defense is looking good. We put in the 3-4 stuff; we’re ready to just put together the whole package. I’m just excited to get things going with those guys.”

(On Caprioglio and Biard being healthy)

“It’s great to have those guys back. You could tell from our first practice that they were ready to be there. I’m excited that they are there. I’m good friends with both guys, so it was really good to have them both back. It gives us three full lines of rotation now which will give the tackles a little bit more rest, so it’s great to have them back, they’re really excited, and I think we can do some great things with these guys.”

(On Nwoke)

“He’s such a great back. He rushed for 1100 yards last year and he didn’t really even play the whole year, so I think we can do great things with him. It would be such a great thing to help our team out. Get the ball in the air and then run it with Nwoke, I think he’s going to do a great job.”

(On Grayson)

“I don’t get to watch him a lot, but I just think he’s such a great leader. He’s such an athlete as well, that kid could probably play wide receiver too because he’s just such a good kid, really athletic. It’s a positive because if he gets rushed a little bit he can get out of the pocket and get some gains for us. I think he’s doing a great job right now.”

(On when Grayson became offensive leader)

“I think we kind of adopted that feeling last year, I know I did. I put my trust in Garrett. I knew he was going to be the one to lead us through those last three games and I saw a lot of positives in how he controlled the game and how he handled everything.”

TE Crockett Gillmore

(On value of summer)

“It was phenomenal getting to work with Garrett and the quarterbacks and working with the offensive line and getting the blocking steps down. It was great.”

(On health)

“I’m feeling great. Last year, the second injury kind of dragged on all year, but now I’m feeling fresh and great.”

(On role in offense)

“I think it’s a team game and if we are going to run the ball every play then we’ll run it, and if we want to throw it then we’ll throw it. It’s a team game and that’s what we are going to do, whatever it takes.”

(On being a leader for the team if need-be)

“I’ll do whatever it takes.”

(On confidence of the offense)

“We’re a team. We’ve come together over the summer. In the past, guys are leaving to go home and not fully into it. This year everybody is working towards the same goal and we’re sick of being 3-9. It’s time to step up and everybody has stepped up this summer and we’re going to continue that every day.”

(On being physical)

“The physicality started when Coach (Mike) Kent arrived last Christmas and it took off from there. We’re just getting bigger, faster, stronger every day. The lifting is phenomenal. That’s just going to cross over onto the field. It’s going to be fun.”

(On increased size)

“After surgery I put on about 15lbs.”

P Pete Kontodiakos

(On change in attitude)
“I just see guys are just flying around. Really excited about what we’re building here. Coach Mac’s teaching us how he did things. Two national championships, that’s big. You know, just building our confidence. You know, why can’t we do something special this year?”

(On what he needs to do personally)
“Yeah, you know Coach Hammer and Coach Pulver, we’ve been working hard all summer getting our kicks in. I feel really good actually. Coming into camp with the punt team unit, all special teams, the boys really want to be on those teams this year, so that’s a big thing. It puts more confidence in us as a specialist unit. With Coach Mac and a lot of these coaches being former special teams coordinators, that’s real big too. Coach Mac stresses that on this team you’re a specialist first. You’ll take your reps on offense or defense, but special teams you’re always going to go out there.”

(On special teams being a priority)
“I think that will make a difference in the tight games. We had a lot of tight games in the past and special teams were big on those games. I think we could do really well. Our goal is to be the best in the conference this year.”

(On any changes to running special teams sets)
“It’s the same formations for the punt team at least, just different calls. We’re pretty confident in what we’re doing.”

(On coaching philosophy)
“Coach Mac is bringing a lot from where he came from. He’s telling us all the championship teams in the past that he’s been a part of, everyone has contributed on special teams, no matter what your position is. You can be on the scout team and help us out.”

(On putting a key player on special teams)
“Sisson did want to be on special teams. I’ll just put that out there. Everyone does. If you want a chance at the next level, you will be on special teams. I don’t think key players matters. All of our boys here right now, they want to be on the teams, and I think that’s a big part of being successful.”

(On what he did personally this summer)
“I did try to get consistent. I’d try to hit 10 out of 10 balls with great hang time. Hang time is a big thing too. At least 4 or 5 seconds hang time, with at least a 45-yard punt. Just to get my team that fair catch. Nothing is better than that. Where we’re playing doesn’t really matter. You have to adapt to windy conditions, cold, high or low altitudes. It doesn’t really matter. You have to go out there and do what you got to do.”

(On what he did in the weight room)
“Coach Kent and Coach Harris didn’t take me out from what we did as a team, but we kind of did some extra stuff like hip flexing work and stuff like that will definitely benefit me.”

(On kicking in different weather conditions)
“You definitely have to acknowledge it pregame. You have to check which way the wind is blowing, obviously. Hit a couple balls, but it runs through your mind a lot. In the past I’d say it might’ve been an issue, but we’re moving on as a team. Everyone individually is. Like Coach Mac says, we’re ripping off the rear view mirror and we’re looking forward.”

OL Joe Caprioglio

(On how it feels to be back)
“Great. It’s really exciting. It’s almost been a year and today I’ll get to put the pads on, but just even being out there with the team is so much better than doing rehab and team periods and stuff like that. I’m really happy to be back.”

(On how much he gained watching from the sidelines)
“Mentally I got over a lot of the growing pains of the new system. I got to come out two days ago to the first practice and not feel like a freshman mentally. That’s how the spring helped and rehab wise, I got a lot of that done. Due to the timeline we set up with my surgeon and the training staff here I got a lot of rehab done during that time.”

(On his health and confidence)
“I didn’t know coming in two days ago. I had to trust that I was (healthy). You don’t know until you really go out there and play. Just going I don’t think about it when I’m out there playing. I know that I trust my surgeon, Dr. Trumper. He’s a great surgeon and they’ve told me it’s better than it was before, really. And it feels like it is. I just go out there and play. These last few days, I haven’t really gotten sore at all. It’s been feeling pretty good.”

(On not being timid)
“Well actually the new offense might be a little bit of a blessing in disguise because half the time I’m kind of thinking through it a little bit. In some of the running stuff I was, especially early on, but now I’m just kind of going out there playing. I don’t know I clear my mind of that. Hopefully that stays. I’m assuming it will. I’m confident that it will, but it’s nothing I’m doing. I have to trust in what the training staff has put me through and what we’ve prepared with the weight staff.”

(On going through the rehab process with Jared Biard)
“It was a big help, because not only do we have almost identical injuries, we play the same position.  We could go out there and do some pass sets, and I could talk to him and tell him ‘I’m feeling kind of weird doing this movement.’ And he would say, ‘I know exactly what you’re talking about. This is how I got over it.’ He added some stuff that he was doing in his rehab that I noticed I picked up and vica versa. It was definitely a big help, but I didn’t wish it upon him. We were two weeks apart in our surgeries. (Biard) was ahead.”

(On potentially playing in the NFL)
“I’m really excited about this year. I didn’t come to college saying, ‘I’m going to go the NFL. I’m going to this. I’m going to do that.’ I said, ‘I’m going to go to college, I’m going to win some games. I’m going to get a bowl ring.’ That’s what I’m focused on. We all believe as a team that we’re going to do something special. That’s really what I’m focused on. Anything I do other than that will come later.”

(On how long it will take for the offensive line together)
“The good thing is that I’ve been here five years, (Biard’s) been here four. So all of those kids, we’ve played with in the past. It’s not like we’re inserting into an offensive line that’s new. I’m playing next to Brandon (Haynes), and he and I have a history together. (Biard’s) playing next to Jordan (Gragert), and he and Jordan have a history together. Obviously we all have a history with Weston (Richburg). On the first day back it felt very natural to me. They still all play similar. I know how they think. I know who’s really loud at making calls and I know some people that rely on your calls a lot more. We do very well together I feel like. It’s not a brand new collection of people.”

(On the offense being the same with different terminology)
“The way I learned it was this new play is called X, the old play was called Y. Once you make that connection in your mind, it’s not too bad. Now I know offensive line wise there’s some technique stuff we’re doing differently, but it’s all football. It’s not that bad. There’s definitely a bit of a learning curve, but once you got over it, it wasn’t too hard.”

(On what the biggest source of confidence is)
“There are a combination of both (team unity and the coaching staff). We are confident that our coach is going to lead us in the right direction, but also we’re very confident in our brothers right next to us. You’re lined up and you don’t think I have to cover for this guy, but this guy might cover for me. It’s kind of a team unity. We’re all one group working toward the same objective.”

(On what the game vs. Colorado means)
“I don’t feel like I need to talk too much about what we feel about the CU game. We want to win them all but this one is our first one and that’s what we’re focused on. I’m excited. That’s actually the game I went out on so I feel like it will be a little bit of a vindication coming back for that game.”

WR Marquise Law

(On the difference this year in team bonding)
“The biggest difference is the unity. We did a lot of things together this summer. Everybody is hanging with everyone. Freshmen are hanging with seniors, seniors are hanging with sophomores and juniors are hanging with sophomores. It’s just a different team feel. The receivers, we hang with the o-linemen. The o-linemen hang with the d-linemen. I think unity has played a difference in our preparation for this season.”

(On carrying the momentum over from the spring)
“Continue to believe in the system and work hard as always. You’ll produce as long as you work and do the things that it takes to produce in the end. Believing in my brothers and making sure I don’t let them down. I think that’s the biggest thing. I’m thinking in my head I have big Weston (Richburg) blocking for me and he’s working his tail off so I want to make sure his hard work is noticed by making a good play.”

(On being called out last year and what will be different this year)
“I think it was fair because people didn’t see the production and they expect the production. We weren’t in situations that we were able to produce and we didn’t. It’s fair to get all of the criticism. But I think it’ll be different this year because we have guys that are going to work hard. Everybody is trying to make it happen. Everybody is starter in our eyes, there’s not just one or two guys. We’re very deep this year. We expect a lot. I expect a lot out of Charles Lovett, Lee Clubb and they expect a lot out of me. I expect a lot out of Jordon Vaden, and these new guys coming in. We all have to hold each other accountable, so that doesn’t happen this season.

(On his summer)
“I loved this summer it was great for me. Like I said before the best thing was just being with my teammates. We never had anything like that before. One of my goals was to just get close to everyone like the guys you don’t know as well. Getting guys out of there comfort zone and the quiet guys. As a team we accomplished a lot and that’s personally something I wanted to accomplish. I wanted to do my part as a receiver and as a leader and to help everyone do their job and vice versa.”

(On playing a big role in team bonding)
“Definitely. I’m always joking and trying to keep everything lighthearted. Sometimes being too serious might have the opposite effect. You get too worried about messing up. Football is all about messing up and then coming back and doing better to cover that up and just having a good time.”

(On the receivers getting tips from Alvis Whitted)
“He’s played a lot of years in the NFL and everything will come with that experience. I look up to him big time. I’m always trying to nit-pick his brain to see what I can learn for myself and get all types of tips. Being in the league nine years is a lot more than just the average. He’s been around and seen some great guys. He’s a great guy, so I just try and take everything I can from him and encourage the younger guys to take everything they can from him because this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

(On the specific things Alvis Whitted has taught the receivers)
“Staying low in your route, how to deceive DBs with, getting off the ball and staying on the line for the quarterback to throw you a deep ball, things like that.”

(On the leadership of Garrett Grayson)
“He’s great. He’s humble. He’s so humble. If a play goes bad he’s automatically trying to blame it on himself. It’s crazy because a lot of quarterbacks you see on TV are above everyone, but no, he’s ground level and he’s a good leader. He’s always going trying to lead you in the right way. He’s always coming with keys. Let’s do something after to make this better. We messed up on this and keys to do you want to stay after and do this or a little extra catching. I’m always down for. It just makes me smile on the inside because he wants to get better and I want to get better to for this team.”

(On practicing with Grayson)
“I’m just working on situations. (We worked on) deep balls, end zone routes and having a DB there also. They helped a lot this summer and spring. Having someone to make it comfortable for both of us to try and understand each other and have him speak to me without talking to me on the field. I know if he throws the ball this way I know that there must be someone right there and I can turn this way. Or I know if he throws a back shoulder, a DB must be on top. We just worked on timing and our relationship.”

(On Grayson’s arm)
”His arm is great. A lot of people talk about his feet, but if you look when he gets out of the pocket, or in the pocket, he’s still a great thrower. He’s always looking up the field to make the throw. He’s not just trying to run. He’s looking up the field and as a receiver it’s our job trying to get in his vision so he can make that throw and we can help him out.”

(On having standout receivers on the field consistently)
”Definitely, but I think the difference will be that there will be too many standouts. I think everyone will be standing out. Instead of one guy, there will be four or five guys that will come in and contribute on a consistent basis. I think that will be something different for fans and people just watching because before there was just one guy, but now we’ll have four or five guys coming in and making big plays consistently. It will definitely be a big change with this new team.”

(On changes to the offense)
“Putting you in the right position to make a play. Each player has different talents and Coach wants to get you to a spot where you are at your best at. A lot of guys will be making big blocks and running deep balls, but just working on everything as a complete receiver to get us to be better at everything. It isn’t just one guy we need for this or one guy we need for that, but everybody as a whole, as a unit is great in every position.”

(On things being tailored toward individuals or a whole)
“We have to know how to do everything. Coach Whitted and Coach Mac will tell you every time, “You can’t just know X receiver or Z receiver. You need to know the H or the Y. If we want to put you in the backfield, you need to know how to come out of the backfield and run a route.” You have to know everything and the offense’s concept. It’s easier to learn everything and at the same time it’s not so easy because it’s so much, but if you want to be on the field and you want to contribute to this team then I think it would be a good service to your teammates if you learn everything.”

(On learning the big picture and your role in it)
“I realize that certain routes, even though I might not be in the progression, I realized that I can open it up for someone else and let them get the ball and make a big play. As a teammate and as a person who wants my teammates to succeed and my team to succeed, I want to make sure that I can get these guys open, because I want them to try and return the favor in my case. I love to see other people shine. I tell the young guys all the time I love to see them make plays because it makes me feel good inside. If I have to run off route, I‘m running 100 miles per hour so I can get Charles (Lovett), Lee Clubb and all those guys open up under so that they can make a play and then turn around and make a block when they’re going for the touchdown.”

(On the young talent pushing the receivers)
Joe Hansley is definitely a standout. Jordon Vaden is coming along too. Those young guys work hard. Jordan White. Those guys come in and they always want to learn. They always want to get in the playbook and nit-pick my head about little things so they aren’t robots when it comes to running a route that’s on paper. Those guys are always trying to be better. They picked up on the offense pretty quick this season.”


 

 

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