Notes from Offensive Coordinator Calvin Magee's meeting with the press this morning (photo from file).
Motivation is not necessarily about the wingless helmets, everyone on the team has a fire lit under them, because they have competition for their spots.
The vocal leader of the offense varies. All the upperclassmen are starting to be. Schilling, Roundtree, QBs, Koger "I can name a lot now, I couldn't do that before."
It's Coach Rodriguez's decision whether anybody moves from offense to help fill the void left by Troy Woolfolk's injury. "I figured that might be an early question." The offense's goal is to get plenty of depth at every position, and Magee hasn't thought about any spot where the offense could give up a guy.
They've had situational scrimmages, but no full scrimmage yet. Offense is about the execution. Keys for that are making sure we take care of the ball, making good decisions, avoiding negative plays, converting 3rd downs, and sustaining drives. "When you have chances to make plays you make them. We had, I believe, a lot of missed opportunities last year. We need to take advantage of them." The team has been better at avoiding turnovers than in the past couple camps. "Attention to detail has been much better." Avoiding the chance for a turnover, not just the turnover itself, has been coached.
The coaches aren't watching more film than normal with so many unresolved position battles. They'd be doing it anyway to evaluate the backups, etc. Fun thing now is every position has competition, and everyone knows the competition is there, so the players are pushing each other.
On the scrape exchange: "We've been seeing that for about 5 years now." "We have some pretty good answers for that... We feel comfortable and confident in those answers, we really do." Unsurprisingly, he wouldn't get into specifics about what those answers are. [Ed.: This had to be Craig Ross's question. Tim confirms.]
The team is mostly third-year guys. They understand more of what is expected at this point. More people are running around knowing what's going on than the past couple fall camps. The guys who don't understand are a minority now. The guys that have been around providing great leadership.
Right now, they're are still in camp mode with giving reps, they haven't started preparing for the first opponent. Now is time to get guys into shape and learn fundamentals.
The main improvement in the defense is that they're flying around, having fun. Magee's not worried about them, he wants to execute his plays. Right now, he's worried about offense.
Not even thinking about redshirts right now.
Quarterbacks And Other Personnel, But Mostly Quarterbacks
Who will start at QB and RB? "You wish I would tell you that." They're excited about all three QBs. They're still days away from figuring that out [note: I don't think "days away" means something is happening soon. He used it to mean "not yet" a few times]
To evaluate the QBs, they look at making the proper progression reads, learning the offense, leadership, improving every day, decisions they make, making plays. A lot of guys are making plays in camp. The quarterback battle might be won by who can motivate better. Showing leadership by example is important, good body language, knowing we always have a chance. "It's not just in completion rates and all that stuff."
Thus far, they're only evaluating the overall performance of the quarterbacks. "All three bring quite a bit to the table... it'll be our job to figure out." There's no set deadline for deciding on a starter. They just want to decide soon enough to get players the reps they need to prepare for the first game.
Denard - have you been giving him reps anywhere else? "No." [editorialization: given Rodriguez's continued insistence that Denard would see snaps other places if he wasn't going to be the team's starting QB, throw this in the pile of "Denard will be the starter" fuel.] Denard has improved since year one with an overall understanding of the complete scheme. Run game and throw game. Having a spring under his belt. "Progressing the way a young quarterback progresses."
"Tate's been competing, playing, doing well." They all understand what's at stake for the team. All-in for the team. Does Tate have his wings back? "It's not for me to tell you that."
In the spring, Devin was good for a high schooler. He's been picking up more and more, and is gaining confidence.
At running back, "we're trying to figure out who's going to step forward." Put different guys with different groups. Competition still going strong. A couple days away from figuring that out. Vincent Smith hasn't lacked confidence yet coming off the knee injury. "I haven't seen anything that makes me discouraged."
Stonum - "He's been consistent, and dedicated, and is playing at a high level right now. We're hoping that continues into games." Staying healthy is important, and he's been consistent.
Some slot receivers could see action on the outside. Roundtree, Grady, Terrance Robinson, and Odoms, could all play inside and outside. Nobody is separating at outside WR yet because they're all so close. There will be 5-6 guys who can play both receiver positions.
All the young receivers have been impressive, but there's only one new WR (DJ Williamson) since spring. The older guys are bringing them along. Evaluation comes in scrimmages, etc. Now, they're just making sure everyone is fundamentally sound. Je'Ron Stokes is coming along. "He's about where you'd think a redshirt kid would be."
Schofield and Lewan are "competing their butts off. Much improved." You always worry that redshirts might not prepare properly because they don't expect to play - but that doesn't seem to be the case. Quinton Washington has been working hard as well.
The interior line has a lot more experience now. Schilling and Molk have played a bunch, and last year Patrick got some games inside. Naturally they'll get better with experience. They're becoming leaders, and helping younger guys along.