Nov. 28, 2012
HEAD COACH Jim McElwain
"I'm just so proud of how we finished this last ball game. I think it was really a good indication of the direction we are headed. It was a complete team victory and it couldn't have played out any better. Obviously, you just want to go out and completely dominate and win 50 to nothing. That's our whole goal. But at the same time, when you're in a building process and the foundation of how you think and how you compete, I don't think it could have been any better. We got off to a fast start. We hurt ourselves by throwing it to the other team. We don't want to let the other team play with house money and we let them and then we got down at the end. I've already started my player meetings and it's interesting to hear some guys say, `you know coach, a year ago we would have said, it's over. We would have lost that game.' To see us come back, probably scored too soon, and yet defense comes up with a huge stop at the end. It was a complete team victory. I thought we did some really good things on special teams as well."
"I think there are some great lessons to be learned from everything that we do and from every game. A team that had played a lot of ball squads really well during the year; I was very happy about that, just to see the progress. I think the last half of the season, getting some wins, especially at home which we haven't done in a while and there were some really good things there. I'm really excited about the direction we are headed."
"Obviously, now, the important thing is our guys making sure they finish up their finals, taking care of business. It would be a good start to be here to take them, which they all will be because of how we have started to restructure what we are doing in the academic area. I'll make sure that is handled because that is a big part that touches the organization. It is something that needs to be corrected and we are doing that."
"They'll have a five-week break basically and (strength and conditioning) Coach (Mike) Kent has put together an extensive workout so when they get back we'll find out their commitment. We are able to get into our `Ram U' program a lot faster this year than we were a year ago because of what they are going to do over this break. Each individual investing in their own company. This is where they make the investment in themselves and their company for the betterment of the team and that is an important thing. They know a little bit more of what is expected and I think that'll help them because the unknown was a shocker for them when they got back a year ago."
"Some of the attrition that will happen, we'll address that when we get back from break. We had some guys have some real successful surgeries. Kevin Davis, who will be a big part of what we do moving forward, his went really well. C.J. Leonard just had his knee worked on which is something that had been a problem for him ongoing and we just felt it was better to get it done right now. He has done some really good things on our scout team. I'm happy about that. Jared (Biard) obviously, and his was great news in that they didn't have to put a screw in. That means they don't have to go back in and drill it back out as it came together. They were really excited about where that was and I think in his case, talking with him, it was interesting because he said, `now I know what I have to do to prepare myself.' Obviously we didn't do a great job in the rehab in the knee and that was just a personal investment on his part, not an indictment on our people. He kind of understands now, `shoot I have to take it upon myself to get this rehab in.'"
(on Leonard and Biard being back for spring)
"I don't think they will and yet we are in that situation, `what are they going to be able to do?' We had some guys last year that went through individual drills, went through some skelly but we held them out of any live stuff. It will really be through our doctors. Our medical staff, I can't tell you how impressed I am with them. We are cutting edge because of what we get out of those doctors. It is outstanding. I will lean on them heavily and they have been really good about that."
(on John Froland)
"We've got to wait and see and that will be a part of coming forward and seeing where that goes. We have some of the best people here giving us the direction and rehab part to let us know where that is going to fall."
(on Austin Gray who suffered concussions during the season)
"His was more precautionary. That is obviously a hot topic, when you talk about that type of injury. How they (his two concussion's) occurred back-to-back, that isn't good. Could he have played? Arguably he probably could have. He played as the backup kicker and thank God he didn't need to go in. (laughing) He'll be ready for full spring."
(on how much better this team can be after Mike Kent's strength and conditioning program)
"It will expand exponentially. What transpired down there before, I'm not to speak on because I wasn't here, but based on our levels wasn't very good. That is pure, numerical values on what was there. I have seen gains during the season on what they're doing. Now that they understand the philosophy, the commitment, the investment in their own personal company and who is responsible for that, it is them. You are seeing a lot of guys that are starting to understand, it is my personal commitment to being great. It takes time, guys. I think everybody can see that we started to get there and some important notches are getting there. What I mean by that is some of the young guys have stepped up their improvement and said, `you know what, this isn't your grand-dad's Chevy.'"
(on how long into the season was it before he felt the team "got it")
"In true learning it takes something to hit you seven to 21 times before it sinks in. Then you have to make the decision if you are going to decide to do it. There are some quick fixes out there that in the long term have no effect. It is like when you memorized for a test then as soon as you took the test you forgot everything you learned. We all did it. I used to sit there and cram at night then as soon as I left that room I didn't know what the heck I just took, I just threw it all away. There was no investment in it. What this is is a long term investment for a quality program moving forward that this university deserves because of the quality that is in this university as a whole.
That isn't with everyone. There are some guys that aren't going to be here and that is not my choice. That is theire choice and decision in what they want to do with their personal company."
(on his excitement for the offseason)
"I go back to this: `Your actions speak so loudly that I can't hear what you say.' Now, they are going to have some `hey Coach, I'm just really going to knock it out of the ballpark.' Well we'll find out when they get back and those groups of guys that we know are committed, we understand what we have to work with. I guess that test is still out there. I know there are some that won't and I feel sorry for them but I'm here to help them as well. If we can get all the different parts clicking in the right direction, and there is more to that then just the game of football. That is my goal."
(on mental conditioning in the offseason)
"It is a never-ending cycle. It's mental conditioning and I go back to it, seven to 21 times before it sinks in. Now the decision is, what am I going to do with that information and how am I going to left it effect who I am on a daily basis?"
(on excitement of teams improvement over the course of the season)
"I had some time here in the last couple days while I've been traveling the state and you realize how big a state this is when you're sitting in the car and you have three-and-a-half hours to the next stop and it doesn't ever seem to get there. At the same time, it gives you some time to reflect which is pretty important in the position I'm in. I guess the vision of what was needed maybe was sugarcoated a little bit. I'm not really sure people really knew how dysfunctional things were. We were starting a lot lower than what I probably thought we were. That's okay; it is part of the challenge. That is what is exciting about putting a thumbprint on a program. There is some satisfaction knowing how far we have come, yet the drive about how far we have to go still, that mountain kept growing. Sometimes you kept thinking you were getting to that peak then all of a sudden over the horizon there it goes again. So we have a long climb ahead of us but I'm excited about taking it."
(on whether this season did a good job building a foundation for the program)
"Absolutely. There are a lot of things when you are doing that, that you need to break down first and tear down and sometimes go backwards a little bit to get them totally flushed out before you can start to build forward. We have done that in a lot of areas, but are we complete? No, we aren't. Yet, consistent winners and champions, I don't think you ever are. You are always striving to improve and that's something we need to continue."
(on whether he knows which players will leave)
"I'm sure, yeah. That is their choice. I support them in every phase that I can and I will. They will know that I'll continue to be there to help them because that is my responsibility. As I told you when I came here; every guy in this room I am responsible for. I don't care if I recruited them or not. We'll help those guys as much as I can.
"I do this three times a year; I meet with every guy on the team. The biggest thing I get out of those meetings is I ask each one of them what I have to do to be better. I know if there is something I can take from them, that helps me grow as a coach, a person, a leader."
(on the quarterback situation)
"As you know, I believe that position in particular needs a lot more intangibles then are there. It is not just the physical ability but it is the other nuances of the position. You can't put a description of it other than it is "it." Let's look what is happening down the road at this guy that came in here from the Indianapolis Colts. Does he have the strongest arm of everybody to ever play the position? Probably not. Yet, the intangible things that are around that, and I'm not asking our guys to be Peyton Manning. Look at what John Elway did, he grew into the franchise. That guy did the things above and beyond just lifting weights and throwing a football.
You know what, C.J. Leonard has entered into this. That guy was our scout team player of the week literally could have been every time. There were times when I said, `can we get somebody else?' and they said that this was the guy who was really helping us. Those are the intangibles. So he brings something to the position as well. Now we need to get him rehabbed and all that stuff. The position is open for that guy to take."
(on what kind of quarterback C.J. Leonard is)
"He is a guy that, even with that bad knee, he has sneaky escapability but of course being on scout team sometimes with that line, it is better to have that. He throws an accurate ball and it is important to him. He takes accountability when he makes the wrong throw for what the defense wants. He'll own up to it. I like a guy who takes responsibility for the others around him."
(on how ideal a QB battle is)
"I'd love to have that (quarterback) position solidified to be honest. But as I've told you before, competition is where you want to be. I think we have competition there which is good, it is healthy. We need to get competition at every spot to elevate guy's performance. Now we have to recruit and get better."
(on whether they need to bring in some junior college guys)
"We do. The thing you don't want to do as a program is rely on that every other year. Here is what happens; your JC guys get here and by the time they get it figured out it is halfway through their second year and they are great players but then they're gone. You go, `oh boy wish I would have had that guy some more.' We are not just going to take some guy to take them. We are out on some really good guys, we have a couple coming in in the next couple weeks that we feel can help us in some certain spots. The loss of the senior receivers, we aren't really deep there now.
(on how the reception has been on the recruiting trail)
"It has been great. Obviously, as you know it is Colorado for us first and foremost. That is where I've been since Sunday and I'll leave again tonight to finish some things off and there are a couple other spots I still have to get to. As a head coach you are only allowed one time to be there, your assistants can see them once a week, every week. To just go boom-bang and you're gone, you haven't done your job. I need to get into the schools, see the principals, you know what I mean? There isn't enough time; you wish you had a magic wand and boom you'd be at the next spot but here you are in a car with a lot of time to think. The reception has been outstanding. I think getting to coaches in every single high school in the state last spring, which will happen again for us, we have a good, good bead on some sophomores and juniors looking forward. I really feel comfortable about that. It is part of what you do when you're building, is making sure your recruiting is happening on a daily basis."
(on run game coming together late in season)
"I think it was the trust and the accountability in the change of philosophy. Change is hard, we all know that but I think once they saw, `wow when I do this and communicate and play with pad-level and don't swivel my hips but actually try to create movement at the line of scrimmage,' all of a sudden we hit a 100- yard rusher.
(on whether he shares the same confidence as the players going into next season)
"If you haven't figured out by now, I am a pretty confident guy. I know we'll get it done. You want to know the timeframe all the time but I do too (laughing). I go home every night not sleeping, yet I can't tell you how excited I am to be here. The great things we have here from a commitment standpoint, from the administration to a university that is unified that we can sell in a positive manner. I just love the fact that we have people all pulling in the same direction. I get random emails over on campus that have never seen a game but love the commitment to their excellence and how I'm doing that here. I think that is cool. There are satisfying comments where I can sit there and crack and smile--then I'll go back to misery (laughing). When this job came open, this is the one I wanted. This is the one I knew we could do great things."
(on young guys getting experience)
"You can't put a price tag on that. What I'm more excited about is seeing what they are going to do on a daily basis now moving forward. Are they going to rest on their laurels? `Hey I did a pretty good job so I've made it,' or are they willing to take that investment and take that experience and move it forward. That is my responsibility to take that commitment and move it forward."
(on whether this is a good year to recruit the state of Colorado with the transition in Boulder)
"Other than I know it happened, I do not know what is going on. I think Jon (Embree) is a great coach. I don't know what the issues are so I can't answer to it. I know how we are committed to the state. I know what we can do and how much it means to us and our university. We are the Land Grant institution, which means we are the ones that were put on by this guy with a big stove-pipe hat by the name of Lincoln to educate those in the state of Colorado. That is my number one thing and that is what we are here to do. We are built on in-state people and that is the mission and the goal of this university. I am here to push that forward and I will always be here to push that forward. No matter what is going on down there, that isn't me. What concerns me is what I can do to help (President) Tony Frank, to help the mission statement of Colorado State University and let everyone know how excellent the whole thing is."
(on the next big step)
"I think the next big step is saying, `yes we can.' It is there now what am I going to do with it? The accountability factor on the investment is where it needs to show and you see guys now saying, `oh I see how it works.' The influx of talent; there are a lot of guys in this business who say it isn't about the X's and O's it is about the Jimmy's and Joe's. So we have to go out and get some Jimmy's and Joe's. Recruit daily or die."
CB Bernard Blake, sophomore
(on the season as a whole)
"I think we made strides. Any time you have a new staff come in, a new group of players learning how to play with each other, it's going to be a tough task. But I think we did a lot of things right."
(on the future of the secondary with its young group of players)
"They say you're only as strong as your weakest link, so I feel like the majority of us have been young, and getting that experience is going to help out a lot."
(on what it was like learning a new defensive system and gaining experience in that system)
"I think it had more to do with experience. Any time a coach comes in and throws something, it has to fit the personnel we have. We have the personnel to blitz and we have good cover corners and safeties who can do both, so it fit what we have on our team talent-wise. It was just a matter of getting adjusted to it and getting experience."
(on the team's biggest gains and where that leads into next year)
"Mentality. There were a lot of times in the season where we could've hung it up. We had a soul-searching session in the bye week. We evaluated where we were one-on-one, individually. And as a team we thought we had a lot to play for, even though the record didn't show that. We were able to come out in the second half of the season and we won three straight home games. We knew we had something to prove to ourselves before we proved it to everyone else."
(on the most important thing to work on this offseason)
"We have to continue to grow as a family. We have to get stronger, we have to get faster. That comes every year. Guys come, they mature. The competition's going to continue to grow so we have to continue to grow as a team. We've got to get equipped with the playbook and what we're trying to do."
(on ways to grow as a family during the offseason)
"Just knowing each other. We have to get to know each other, strength- and weakness-wise. We have to become able to bond as a family. Whether that's going to the movies together, or getting together and watching film without the coaches. It's just things to get to know each other so we're comfortable with each other on the field and off the field."
(on the difference that bonding makes on the field)
"It makes a big difference. You have to know the person next to you - can he do this, can he fill that hole, can he get that gap sealed off. It allows you to play within the system and establish your talents at the same time. It gels like a puzzle piece. If you don't know them, it's not going to fit or be in the right spot."
(on how the offseason programs might be more successful this year as the team is familiar with the coaching staff and system)
"Definitely, but at the same time, I feel like it will be just as hard. We got through it last year, but this year we have more to prove so we have more to work for. We know what we need to do to get it done, so that will raise the intensity level that much more."
(on what the team's expectations should be for next season)
"We should be around the top of the conference. We can compete against any team we played against. Film can show that it was a matter of what we did and didn't do as opposed to what they did."
(on how the team played better at the end of the year and how long it took to adjust to the new defensive system)
"It was more of just continuing to grow as a family, as I had mentioned earlier. Once you get comfortable around each other, you know, I can do this and Shaq Barrett's gonna be right here. If I make this mistake, Shaq Bell can help me out. It's just fitting together. They say, Rome wasn't built in a day, so it did take time for us to get together and to get gelled with the new schemes and everything."
(on if the secondary got enough reps to become interchangeable parts, able to play in different positions and situations)
"Yes, as you said, Shaq Bell went to safety. He played nickel as well. We had cornerbacks playing different positions. I would practice right corner and play left corner in the game. And there were situations in the game where I could play right corner with Shaq on the left side. We can play field and boundary. It's just a lot of versatility, I think."
(on the sense of a greater bond as a family at Colorado State and not just a football team)
"I feel, we sat in here for our meeting going into the last game, which was senior night. Coach had the seniors stand up and leave the room. When they left the room, he asked how it felt a little light in here. And you looked around, and you got to thinking how you cared about those guys that you had relationships and bonds with. And he told us, he challenged us, he said `it's up to you guys to send them off on a win.' We got down in the game, we went up early and then they came back and we were down, and you look up and down the sideline and not a single head was down. Everyone had the belief and it was going around that we were going to win it for the seniors. That just goes to prove so much as compared to last season."
(on if it meant more to have to come back and win the last game)
"Yes. Oh, definitely. It's a situation where, you have to come from behind. So with a season like ours where we were only at three wins (at the time), that proves a lot. That shows a lot. That we're not going to quit, that we have a lot to play for. Because we always have something to prove."
(on what happened after the game against Colorado that caused the team to fall away from its early success)
"Going into that second game, I felt we were on the high horse a bit. And when we got knocked off, we responded like we would've last year as opposed to that mentality that we deserve to be out here and we deserve to win, we work hard to win. The biggest thing was to me, that I could put my finger on, was the mentality. We went back and forth week to week with that. We were in some close games. We played Fresno tough, and that was a hard loss for us. We had to bounce back. So it was up and down but the biggest thing I could put my finger on would be the mentality."
(on the confidence that stems from the youth of the contributions that were made this season)
"That makes me really comfortable that a lot of young guys had the responsibility to step up and make a play. And at the same time, the coaching staff put the faith in us to do so. That just goes to show a lot about where the team is headed. To get the experience early on, can only help from here on out. We'll be more experienced going into next year. There are things that I know I can work on this offseason that I've seen physically. It was a great thing to let us mature our game as a team and individually also."
(on how difficult it was with the injury struggles he faced during the season)
"It was a tough thing to battle. You know, I remember talking to coach. He asked me how I was doing, and I told him I was struggling. I was like, `coach, my body can take the crutches but my mind can't take the sideline.' I mean, I was getting really down on myself. He sat me in his office and he told me that the team needed me whether I was there or not. They needed me. Just walking in that locker room and just seeing the Shaqs and DeAndre sitting there tired and talking about practice, I was like, I have to get back out there. When I had the opportunity to get back out there that first game, everything was like, you sat out for so long, you've been waiting to get back, so what are you going to do to make the most of this opportunity? Just going on and seeing different people get hurt, and talking to them, that was one of the things we all had in common. When I got back, I was going to make the most of myopportunity.
how he feels now health-wise)
"Yeah, the hamstring feels great. After about four or five games into the season, I was back 100%. And then came a little sickness and then came the wrist. I mean, yeah, my body's getting there. I get an X-ray next week on my wrist."
(on what he might do different this offseason now that he's gotten the chance to know Coach Mac)
"Raise the level of preparation. Coach Mac is huge on academics. Going into finals, I can see a lot of us going into extra study hall, getting study sessions in. Just becoming more of a family and helping each other out. They offer tutors, but at the same time, you learn better with your family and you're more comfortable with your family. So just guys helping out guys and getting to know each other better."
(on how this spring will be different after knowing the coaching staff for a year)
"I feel the spring will be a lot more intense this year than it was last year. We already have our foot in the door on what we want to be and what it takes to get there. We'll be able to go and prepare like we need to prepare without trying to figure out, am I doing this right or doing that right."
(on if he or Thomas is faster)
"Me. We actually grew up racing each other, so it's been back and forth for years."
(on if he's just faster than Thomas now or will be forever)
(on who else rivals he and Thomas on the team in the speed category)
"Davon Riddick. Between him and Thomas, that'd be a close race."
(on how long he's been racing Thomas)
"Since we were freshmen in high school. I've been covering him and racing him since we were freshmen. In practice, we actually don't go against each other very often."
WR Charles Lovett, sophomore
(on how the season went and what gains the team made)
"Obviously our record was better than last year and better than the last three years. I feel like the gains we made this year were confidence in ourselves, confidence in our coaches; (us) actually knowing how to practice, knowing how to get over adversity in games. The main thing, basically just coming together as a family, and, like, more of a brotherhood instead of individual selfishness."
(on how long it took for the team to learn Coach McElwain's day-to-day expectations and how the team bought in to their new coach)
"Coach Mac, every meeting he had a different saying he'd go by. Just respecting him and knowing that what he's talking about actually works. The recipe that he has actually works. Believing in him, it makes it easy on us just to listen to somebody we know knows what they're talking about because of their history, so it makes it easy on us and we buy in. It got us four wins this year, but I know, actually, we can do better than that. So we just have to continue to have faith in Coach Mac and his coaching staff and just listen and do what they tell us to do. Don't be selfish."
(on how hard it was for the offense to make gains week-by-week with three different quarterbacks)
"Especially for me, because I play receiver, so I'm not just getting handoffs from a different quarterback - I'm actually getting different balls, and you have to adjust from Conner's strong arm to him throwing the ball to the opposite side of the field when you normally know you don't get the ball. Every week, you just have to adjust to which quarterback who's going to go in the game. I feel like, as a receiver, it made us stronger and not just stuck on one guy. But, you know, playing receiver, I can speak for all the receivers that like to have one guy from week one to the end of the season because of the chemistry and to adjust to the ball. We know when he's going to throw it to us and when he's not. It's just chemistry. Three quarterbacks; it was kind of tough, but we got over it and it gave us a better record than we had the last couple years. I guess that's a good thing."
(on how the spring season may bring up a competition for the starting quarterback position between Garrett Grayson and Conner Smith)
"I was just talking about that. I was wondering, like, which one of those guys was going to beat out the other. I'm ready to see it. I've got faith in both of those guys and I know they're going to go out there in the spring and compete for the starting job."
(on how there wasn't enough competition in practice for players to earn their right to start or play on Saturdays)
"Yeah, I mean once guys got injured, it's just kind of human nature. You know, I'm the backup, and I know that it's nobody behind me, so you're not going to work as hard. But we've got to get out of that, get out of that mindset. I feel for the guys who got injured, but the guys that came in did a good job. But, the competitive nature probably wasn't there as much because I'm the backup and they don't have anybody to back me up, so you wouldn't have to work as hard because you know you've got your starting job. But I feel like all of that's going to change during the spring because we've got some new guys coming in having to compete for that starting position."
(on how it took a while for the offensive system to sink in and how the team can hit the ground running in the spring)
"I think it took a while for the running backs to have chemistry with the O-line and the receivers to have chemistry with the quarterbacks, but that always goes to the first year. New coach, new system, new system, new plays, it's like new everything, so of course it's going to take a while. It took longer than we wanted it to, but we have to live with that and continue to hit the ground running next year and I believe it's going to work out. I mean, you got Donnell's first year playing college football. And he did a good job, had a couple 100-yard games. The future is real great for this program and this organization because everybody that produced in games and showed flashes in games are actually young guys. Not speaking down on the seniors or anything like that, but that just shows the growth that this team has with the young guys in the future.
(on the confidence going forward that comes from the key contributions of the young players this season)
"Yes, that gave us a lot of confidence. Knowing that I came in with these guys and I'm going to leave with these guys and we're making plays. We've been making plays ever since we were young, like freshmen and sophomores. We've got Joe Hansley who's going to be a sophomore, we've got redshirt guys who are going to step up next year. It's going to be exciting when we see those young guys step up to the plate, knowing that when they were freshmen and sophomores, they contributed. The game experience is going to be there. For me, I'm going to have to be more of a leader, because I'm going to be a junior. I'm going to have to guide the younger guys on to be great."
(on if the program is headed in the right direction)
"Yes. Absolutely. I think this program is headed in the right direction. I mean, we've got good people around. We've got good coaches. We've got good lunchroom ladies. It's just all around good. I feel like the sky's the limit for this program. Even after I graduate."
(on what the team's expectations should be for next year)
"It's going to be great. We're just going to have to wait and see. I really don't want to put a number on it, but, I know we're going to compete in the spring and we're going to compete in fall camp. Next year's going to be great if we can keep our heads on straight and continue to listen to what the coaches say and buy in."
(on how Coach Mac differed from Charles' perception of what he might be coming into the season)
"He yelled a little bit more than I thought he would when he came from `Bama. I thought he was a laid-back type of guy when he came from `Bama. At the first meeting, he got on us and let us know that he cared about us off the field, actually more off the field than on the field. That just gained my trust right there about him because he actually cared about us and not just when we're on the football field. He cares about us off the field and that just gained my trust personally, for me."
(on Coach Mac's care for the players off the field and how it's building the family mentality of the program)
"For me personally, I feel like knowing that Coach Mac is going to be there for us off the field, after we graduate, and that he doesn't only care about football, I mean of course he's the head coach so he's going to care about football, but, that he shows us that what's more important is our grades, our families, how we're doing off the field, how's life. That just shows, like, a father/son type of relationship and not just caring about us what he have on the helm. So that just feels like we're not being used. We feel like he cares about us without a helm, you know, so that just shows brotherhood, family and chemistry with the head coach."
(on how it long it took for the team to buy in to what Coach Mac was saying and the skeptical nature that may have existed among some of the players at the beginning of the year)
"Everybody is tied to their own opinion. We had some guys that took longer to buy in and to believe, but we just have to stay positive and move forward. We're riding this train, and if you want to get aboard, you've got to believe. You know what I mean? We don't need any negativity, you know `oh he came from `Bama, blah blah' - we don't need any of that stuff. We had very few guys talking about that. As a team, it took longer than others. It took time for people. I believe midway through the season, midway through fall camp, everybody was kind of like `this guy's alright. This guy knows what he's talking about.' So, like I said, it took other guys longer than it took me, but that's just them. They're tied to their own opinion. But I know for me personally, I bought in."
(on what it meant to realize that it's the seniors' team and how that's him two years from now)
"It was kind of weird, because you know, he didn't recruit any of us. He especially didn't recruit any of the seniors. He easily could've said, `you're not my guys. I only care about the freshmen and the sophomores because I'm going to be here longer with them." But he wasn't like that. He took those seniors in like they were his own. I know that when I become a senior, and I'm going to be here with him for three years, so when I become a senior, it's just going to even be closer than it was when he had these guys for only one year, not even a whole year really. That just shows how good of a man he is, personally, just to take some guys that he doesn't even know and, knowing that they're going to leave in a couple months, it was kind of weird to see him act like he knew them for so long when he really didn't. But that's just the type of guy that he is."
(on how that specific approach was surprising)
"It felt, like I said, like he knew them. And just for him to embrace them and feel like they were part of his family and all of that, it just made it more interesting to see how it's going to be when I become a senior and when the younger guys become seniors."
(on how the offense will look next year with the team having a year under their belts to learn the system)
"I know we're going to be better on third downs next year, because we're going to practice on it. Spring, fall camp, I know we're going to find a quarterback who's going to lead us and be a good clock management player and game management player. We're going to believe in him, whoever the quarterback becomes. We're going to practice hard, and I believe this offense next year is going to be more efficient. We're going to score a lot of points and keep the defense off the field."
(on how the already existing trust in any of the quarterbacks makes the starting quarterback competition an easier process for the offense)
"Absolutely, because everybody on the team is cool with both of them. We don't look at this guy and talk bad about the other guy. Both of them are mutual. I mean, especially in the receiver corps, we're cool with Garrett and Conner. We've got faith in both of them. Whoever becomes the quarterback is going to be awesome. They're different guys. Conner's not going to break for sixty yards on a run, but Garrett might. Conner's a sit-in-the-pocket guy, like a pocket quarterback, so it's going to be different. It's going to be interesting. It's going to be a lot of fun, man, to see who comes out on top in the spring and in the fall.
(on how it's good to know that there are two options at the quarterback position)
"Both of them have experience. Conner was a freshman this year, he played as a redshirt freshman. I think Garrett was a redshirt sophomore, so both of them are going to be young and competitive. We've got to protect them a little bit more this year. I think it's going to be interesting to see who comes out on top and see who wins the job."
(on how the roles of the backup players, including quarterbacks, are always needed)
"I don't know if it was a good thing that we got to our third string quarterback, but the only good thing I can get out of that is knowing that the next guy is going to be ready. I don't ever think we want to go into the season and wish that our third quarterback will start playing. It just shows that the competitiveness is starting to come, knowing that if this guy gets injured, and this guy gets injured, I'm going to be the guy to take over the team. And at the quarterback position, it's tougher than a safety or running back position. I'm just glad both of them have experience. Conner got experience, and now everyone knows what Conner can do on the field, and what Garrett can do on the field."