On what practices will be like this spring
I think the practices will be physical, and I think that the head coach will be vocal.
On winning one for the seniors this weekend
I think that that’s the very clear message for both the seniors and for the underclassmen. For the seniors, they’ve gone through a season — it’s been a tough season, only won one game, haven’t won one at home, and I think that the fan support at home has been fabulous, considering how things have went, and I think it would be a very rewarding experience for them to win their last game ever at the stadium and be able to share that moment with the fans, especially the student body.
On former QB coach Peter Vaas coaching for Duke this weekend
It’s a little pain in the butt, to tell you the truth, because he knows the system. He knows the system very well, is a smart coach and an experienced coach and knows the system.
The one thing that you do have going for you is he also knows on a weekly basis what we did last week in all likelihood isn’t what you do next week. So if you’re one of those teams that just settles into something all the time, it would be a little bit more damaging. But it is a problem.
It would be especially a problem if you were doing a lot of signaling of things because then every time you signaled something, it’s almost like in baseball when somebody goes to another team you have to go through a whole ‘nother set of things. You really would have to create a whole ‘nother set of circumstances. The only signaling we really do offensively is signaling numbers. So unless you have the number sheet and know what we’re doing, that would be the only way that it could really hurt you.
On using the final four games as an audition for the underclassmen
Not getting into one player, but it was probably one of the most enjoyable parts of my entire week, happened yesterday morning at 5:30. Yesterday morning at 5:30 I’m sitting in my office and I keep the door locked because I don’t like just anyone walking in at 5:30, and my phone rings and one of the players on our team is outside. I said, oh, no, here we go again. He wants to talk to me so he knocks on my door. I thought we had another person that was looking to pack his bags and go.
And it was just the opposite. He said he hasn’t slept all night. He’s an under classman. He hadn’t slept all night and he felt he needed to step up and take on more of a leadership role, and he was asking for some advice on how to do that. I mean, that’s the type of guys you want on your team, guys that aren’t sleeping because they’re worrying about how they can — he’s a regular player, but how they can step up and take on more of a leadership role. I thought that was a good way to start the week.
On the impact of John Sullivan being out this week on making the MIKE linebacker calls
It’ll be a combination of Wanger and Jimmy. We’ll start with Danny, see how it goes, and if it isn’t going too well, we’ll put the burden on the quarterback. We’d like to, as it goes into this off-season, put all the burden on the quarterback. But that’s our plan going into practice today, that’s how we plan on going.
On the play call on the touchdown to John Carlson compared to the 2 point conversion call out of the same formation against Navy
That was a pass call. That was a pop pass to Carlson. That was the play called. It was actually called Z pop, and he was the Z. One week helps set up the next week.
It wasn’t as clean. In practice he was a lot more open than that, by the way. But that was actually a little — it was a heck of a throw and catch, but that was just an all-out, sellout, everyone saw the play action and then throw the ball to John, and both he and Jimmy made a nice adjustment. Now you’re giving away all my secrets.
On how he expects Sam Young to assume a leadership role next year:
Yeah, he’s a contender. See, the one thing about Sam, he’s played more football than anyone else on the offensive line, once Sully leaves. Sully is such a domineering personality that you would never really notice the other guys’ leadership ability while he’s there because it’s almost like overstepping your bounds. So it’ll be kind of interesting how that matriculates after he’s not there because that’s exactly what you’re looking for because you want to see who are those people that are going to start assuming that because I don’t think leadership is something you can try to fake or create. Either you have it or you don’t have it.
On Young gaining additional weight
Actually we’re trying to get him to gain weight. How many times do you hear you’re trying to get a guy who weighs 317 to gain weight, but he’s actually on a program where he’s drinking extra shakes and things like that. He’s so big that he can carry a lot more weight than he’s carrying right now. Some of those guys as the season goes on have a tough time keeping weight on. I think that he’s at the stage now, the offensive linemen are at a stage, there’s really a couple different stages in their development, one in between their freshman and sophomore year when they become more physically ready to play on a regular basis where they came in with some brute strength, now they become more physically ready, and then between the sophomore and the junior year, I think that becomes more where they start to develop into like front line players.
On the overall health status of the team
I think Kuntz would probably even be more doubtful than Sully for next week, but he’d be able to play — he’d probably be able to play in three or four weeks. Sergio rolled an ankle, Ragone rolled an ankle. It isn’t like anyone put themselves in a position where they’d be out for months. It’s only a week and a half left, so there’s only so much time left.
On the development of Chris Stewart
He and I had this very conversation last week. He knows that I would like for him to put himself in condition to contend to be that guy. We’ve already talked about what needs to happen because right now he’s way ahead in run blocking than he is in pass blocking, and he’d admit the same thing himself. He wants to play, and he knows he can’t be an offensive lineman and be one-dimensional. You have to be pretty solid on both of them, and I think that’s what he’s going to dedicate himself to in the off-season, to put himself in position to be able to do that.
On the difference between the training programs for Stewart and Young
I think that where Sam — we’re always trying to get Sam to gain weight. We always want to make sure we keep Chris’ weight down, which he’s done a fairly good job of keeping his weight down once he’s gotten here. I think he’s starting to grow into the lesser body than when he first got here. He dropped 60 pounds from when he first got here. So I think that he’s in a position where he could put himself into position to play.
On getting Luke Schmidt on the field
One thing he’s going to be able to do for us this week is with Michael being banged up at tight end, he’s going to be cross-trained at fullback and tight end this week. He’s going to have double the opportunities to get involved this week because he’d be our tweener guy.