Football Media Day Selected Quotes

 



Aug. 8, 2012

2012 Louisville Football Media Day

Head Coach Charlie Strong
(Opening Statement)
“We just finished day five of practice. Each day is about getting better, better fundamentally, better in our technique and establishing an identity as a football team. We know there are only nine seniors, but the leadership is there because we have the guys that have played enough. We are still a young football team, but there are enough guys that have played that we feel comfortable, even if it’s a junior or senior, with whoever can step up and be a leader. That is what we are looking for. I know by looking at the way the guys are working they are responding well, but we are only five days into it and we still have a number of practices left to go. We just continue to watch how we develop as a football team. Once you develop the leadership, you start developing as a team. The leaders can inspire, direct and pull together a group of men in the right direction, which we have not been able to do the past two years. We are hoping we can get that accomplished through preseason camp and we hope it carries over into the fall camp. We are excited about how our guys are working so far.”

“Looking at the quarterback position, Teddy (Bridgewater) is continuing to get better each and every day. He continues to make the throws. He is very comfortable in the offense right now. Coach (Shawn) Watson has done a great job, where Teddy has become a student of the game and he understands and commands the offense. Will Stein is still doing a great job also. I told Will the other day that I still want him to push him (Teddy Bridgewater), do not take a back seat, because at some point we are going to need you.”

“The running back position, there are five running backs, each one of them has a different quality. You look at Dominique Brown, you look at Senorise Perry, you look at Jeremy Wright, you look at Corvin Lamb, and then the young kid (Brandon) Radcliff. We have enough guys there. Dominique is big and powerful. Jeremy is a guy that can make you miss. Corvin Lamb is built low to the ground just like Radcliff, where they can run and power run right through guys. You have five very good running backs.”


 

 

“I have been very pleased with our wide receiver play. Taking (Charles) Gaines -- you know he was a defensive back -- and moving him to wide receiver has added enthusiasm to that group. He is an outstanding player, but just having him out there talking. He is not talking to the defensive backs, but to his own group of guys and encouraging them. Andrell Smith has stepped up. DeVante Parker is showing a lot to us right now. (Damian) Copeland, Jarrett Davis, all the guys that we needed to step up at that position are now coming up in their own and into a very good group. When you have a good quarterback who can throw you the football, we have receivers who want to work because they want the ball in their hands. But, there is only one football. So I tell them all the time, you cannot have the ball every play so you will get your numbers and Coach (Shawn) Watson will do a good job spreading the ball around.”

“The tight end position with (Nate) Nord, (Ryan) Hubbell and Chris White are coming along and our freshman Hunter (Bowles). The thing about that position is that we need to get ourselves a fourth tight end. We know we are going to play some tight ends and we need a fourth tight end because we want to run that football. Our offensive line, when you look at Jamon Brown, you look at Jake Smith, you look at Mario (Benavides) and go to the other side with (Alex) Kupper, with John Miller, you have five guys who started at some time last season. This is his [Mario Benavides] first camp that he has been through healthy and practicing. This time last year we had not seen him, even since I had taken the job I had not had the chance to see the Mario we were looking for. But now, he is coming into his own where he is becoming that guy for us on the offensive line. (Ryan) Mack has to develop and helps us. (Aaron) Epps has to develop and help us. (Mike) Romano and (Kamran) Joyer have to develop and help us. You need eight to nine to be really good on the offensive line because you may have some injuries. We need to develop that young group of guys and bring them along.“

“Defensively, I was telling Coach Hurtt the other day ‘we’re just athletic at that position now.’ Looking at what we have inside with Brandon Dunn, Roy Philon and Jamaine Brooks, you have three big guys in there. Now, with Sheldon Rankins being a young guy and DeAngelo Brown, we have two young guys coming along to give us some added depth inside that we need. You have to be good down the middle. When you look at your football team, you have to be good down the middle. I always say it starts with the center, the quarterback, the nose guard, the middle linebacker and the free safety. You have to be good down the middle. If you are good down the middle, then you are going to have a chance to win a lot of football games. You look at the outside with B.J. Dubose, B.J. Butler, (Lorenzo) Mauldin, (Deiontrez) Mount, Marcus Smith, guys that are coming on at that position that are just athletic -- athletic enough where you can go rush the passer. You can put pressure and you do not have to blitz every time. I told Vance (Bedford) maybe this can be the group. We are still young and we are still developing, but this may be the group of guys we can rush four and hope we can get pressure on the quarterback with those four guys.”

“Then at the linebacker position, Preston Brown -- he is big, he is 250 pounds. I have always told Preston, he has to be the leader. You want the guy in the middle to be the leader, especially on defense. He is the guy who is going to make the calls and who is going to make the checks. He (Preston Brown) is the guy that does all the talking, so we have to look to him for leadership. Keith Brown is a young guy. (James) Burgess is young. Daniel Brown, (George) Durant and you have guys that are coming on and doing a good job with pushing. They are learning and understanding. The good thing for them was getting here in January so they were able to learn the defense.”

“Now you look in the secondary and you have the guys back. You have (Adrian) Bushell, Andrew Johnson, (Calvin) Pryor and Hakeem Smith, so you have all those guys back. In the back end, you have all four starters back, so you are seeing each day that they are getting better. The competition between wide receivers and defensive backs is good. They are going against a good group of receivers that can put pressure on them that can get up and go get the ball from them. They are fast enough where they can run by them.”

“We still have a lot of days left and a long ways to go. We are nowhere near where we should be. We have to continue to get better and better each and every day. And that has to happen. Because this still comes down to accountability where guys just get lined up, get your feet in the ground, get lined up. Listen to the call and do what you are coached to do. That is all I ask them to do. A lot of the time I say, ‘Why did you do it, I know your coach did not tell you to do that?’ I said, ‘We should not be making those mistakes.’ Even though we are young, we feel like enough guys have played where you will not say you are a veteran team, but you are still growing and maturing and developing and hoping that you can become a veteran team at some point. We are hoping that we will be sometime before the first game, but like I said, we have to just continue to work. I like the attitude of this football team and the way they are working and how hard they are working and their understanding.”

Defensive Coordinator Vance Bedford
(Opening Statement)
“We are real excited about our defensive line. We have a lot of depth. We have (B.J.) Dubose who was a true freshman last year. He is down to about 265 pounds. He looks like he has been here three years. If you asked me last year if he was going to be a player, I would have said no because he has two left feet. Right now he looks like a guy that is going to be a player for us. Behind him on one end, we have Lorenzo Mauldin. He was a true freshman last year and is a sophomore now. So we have two sophomores there. At nose guard, everyone knows Brandon Dunn. He is down from 305 pounds to 285 pounds. He looks like a totally different player. I don’t know who that is out there. He is moving around when last year he could not move at all. Right now, he is looking like a real player. Behind him we have Roy Philon. He was banged up last year, so we have depth there. At the other defensive end, right now we have Sheldon Rankins. The staff did a great job recruiting. The future looks bright. Right now, we have a lot of depth. Our defensive line is moving around. For us to have a chance to be successful this year, we have to win up front. If we can do that and control the line of scrimmage up front with the guys we have, with the depth that we have, I am excited.”

“At the linebacker position right now we are young. We have two true freshman running first and second teams at the weak side linebacker. Keith Brown, who I think is going to be a real good player, is only a freshman. Behind him is (James) Burgess, another true freshman. Those two guys are as athletic as you are going to find. You look at the mike linebacker, Preston Brown, he has been here going on his third year. He is 250 pounds. Is he Dexter Heyman? No and we are going to miss Dexter. Dexter was our leader last year. He got guys lined up, he got guys going, he was our big brother on our defense. That is what we are missing on our defense right now. Then you have Daniel Brown. He has been in our program three years, and one of our two seniors we have on defense. He has to step his game up a lot. For us to be better on defense, he has to be a lot better than he has the last two years. He has to become a playmaker. Behind him is George Durant, a guy who has been with the program for three years, a walk on, and we have a freshman behind him.”

“At corner, everyone knows Adrian Bushell, who made all conference. He has been in our program one year, so you can see there are only two seniors on defense. The strength of this team is up front. I’ve been a secondary coach and secondary wise, I am always concerned. Terell Floyd and Andrew Johnson are true sophomores, so they are still young. Adrian Bushell is a senior, but he has only been in the program one year. Behind him, Stephan Robinson, is a redshirt sophomore. We are young out there. At safety, Calvin Pryor was a true freshman last year. Hakeem Smith, is by far one of my favorite players. He is a guy not big enough, not fast enough, but somehow he makes plays. Why? Because he can think.”

“So as a group, our biggest thing we are working on right now is developing leadership. Athletically, I like the things we have right now. Our defensive staff is excited about the guys because of the competition which will give us a chance to make us a better football team. The biggest thing is, when the game is on the line, without Dexter Heyman being out there, who can step up and be the guy and say, enough is enough. Let’s stop this right now. Let’s get this turned around. That is the biggest thing we are trying to develop right now, is leadership on the defense. “

Offensive Coordinator Shawn Watson
(On the changes he has seen and expects to see in quarterback Teddy Bridgewater from last season)
“Well, he is 40 pounds heavier than what he was when he came here. And he has taken to heart increasing his strength and durability. That durability is coming in size. He is a totally different looking player. He is a thicker player. He has not lost, if anything, he is as fast if not faster than what he was. “

(On whether he has ever had a quarterback go through that kind of transformation)
“Not that much. But, as Teddy would probably tell you, he had a long way to go. He was a skinny dude. So yeah, he has done a remarkable job in the weight room. Coach (Pat) Moorer has done a great job with him and got him to believe in that.”

(On whether the offense, which made great strides last season, can pick up where it ended 2011)
“We have to pick up at that point. We have to pick up where we left off. I thought, as the season ended, everyone began developing chemistry and an attitude about their business. There was an expectation that started. A lot of that had to do with the transition with younger players playing. Them getting acquainted with and familiar with what we do and how we do what we do and then once they felt the fit. And there is an old saying in education ‘when the students are ready the teacher will appear,’ and that kind of happened. It was a rewarding experience as a coach. I had the most fun in coaching I have ever had last year. And it was amidst of what those kids gave us. They really came to work every day and competed. As a result, we got better. They are really hungry right now. They know there is so much more out there for us to get.”

(On what he expects out of Teddy Bridgewater this year)
“The thing I want to see out of Teddy (Bridgewater) is -- you got to see some of it in the spring game -- him manage the game. Manage situational football. Normal downs. Understanding it is about finding completions. The same thing in two-minute offense, red zone offense, the different aspects of football the quarterback gets into he has to manage those things. The run game, we put so much on him in the run game and he has grown into all those things and he is very confident in all that right now.”

(On the offensive line compared to where it was last year)
“Last year, we were trying to figure out five, much less the two deep. This year, we have competition and we have depth. The younger players are making the older players better. So much of what happens with the offensive line goes back to the strength coach. Pat Moorer has done an unbelievable job of developing those kids. We look like a Division I football team should look. They have developed themselves. (Offensive line coach) Dave Borbely is the best in the business. He has done a great job developing those kids. They are beyond their years because of how he has developed them and the teacher that he is. We have to go out there and continue to improve now. The biggest improvement we will make is the communication aspect of it -- getting everyone on the same page -- and right now, I feel really good about it. If you come to practice and stand back where I stand and watch the whole offense, the thing that I love the most about what is going on is the communication. It sounds like a football team that is on a mission. We sound like what a big time football team is supposed to.”

(On what the coaches are doing to manage a youthful offensive line, which includes three sophomores)
“We keep coaching them hard. One thing that you are going to get from this staff is a consistent message and you are going to get coached hard every day. What happens to those players in their development in the program is that they start embracing that message and they start looking for it. They want it, so the biggest thing we have to do is stay consistent. We have to keep the heat on and keep the pressure on and keep developing them. We made a joke today that we are veteran sophomores. A coach that I used to work for, Gary Barnett, used to say the hardest year is the sophomore year because they do not need you anymore. They have the answers now. But the beautiful thing is the consistent message here. They get coached hard every day, the same message, the same expectation, and the nice thing about it is their character as a group is that they want to please and meet that expectation.”

    American Athletic Conference NCAA University of Louisville
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