News bullets and other important items:
- Frank Clark's recent hearing has no impact on his status.
- Sounds like Courtney Avery will be 100% for Saturday.
- Blake Countess's surgery has not been schedule yet.
- Richard Ash is out this week with a boo boo, but will return next week hopefully.
- Brennen Beyer is also out this week.
- Barring further injury, no additional freshmen are likely to play.
“It’s an important week for us as a football team as far as how we come out to practice, the improvement we need to make in all areas. We had a good intense practice yesterday. I thought we came out with the right attitude and we have to follow that up again today, obviously. Frank Clark’s situation hasn’t changed. Won’t change. The judicial system obviously, he’s paying for that, and he’s paid a very heavy price with us. He’s a teammate, and he made some bad decisions -- a bad decision that is not what we want. But he is a teammate, and he’s part of our family. So.”
Frank Clark derpy derpy derp.
“I just made a statement on it.”
How have you seen Elliott Mealer settle into his position at center?
“You know, I think Elliott is really settled in, and I think he has a presence about him in there at center. I think the one thing he wants to do a little better job with is maybe some pad level at times and keep finishing on blocks, but I think he’s really been consistent when you look at what we ask that position to do.”
If you had to challenge him on the beard, could you do that?
“No. Not even close.”
How do you see the cornerback position evolving?
“Yeah. And you know, they’re evaluated every day. If you have a bad day around here, it’s easy to get shipped to the second or third team. With Blake not being there, J.T. has to step up. I think that’s important. I think Courtney and Raymon and even Delonte are all competing, and I think they’re all guys -- and Terry’s getting some reps in there. I think that will continue to be a competition that we’ll [look at] on a weekly basis. If one guy is the a starter consecutively or consistently, then he’s done a good job of competing.”
How is Courtney’s back?
“Okay. Okay. He did everything yesterday. He felt pretty good.”
Is there a date for Blake’s surgery yet?
“Not yet. Not yet.”
How is Brandon Moore?
“He’ll be out this week. He’s getting better. He just got twisted up a little bit with his knee, a little bit of a sprain. But he’s getting better. He hasn’t done anything on the field with us yet, but the trainers think he’s healing up. Brandon thinks he’s feeling better.”
Have you had so many knee injuries this early in the season?
“No … I haven’t. I think it’s one of those years. Last year we were looked upon pretty well because we really didn’t have any injuries until late in the year, to be honest with you. I think Beyer was the first, and he missed the Ohio game, and then Will [Heininger], with his foot and ankle, and I’m forgetting the other guy. Who am I forgetting?”
“Yeah. Molk. With his foot.”
Is it a freak thing?
“I think it’s freak. I think it just, from a medical standpoint and a development of all that stuff, because Aaron, as much as you can do preventatively, he does more than anybody I’ve ever been around of the different things that you do. He has studied it unbelievably.”
MGoQuestion: How much do the injured players participate in day to day things?
“Oh they’re in everything. Believe me. They’re in everything. They are working out during practice, alternate conditioning, I mean, we keep them pretty busy.”
How hard is it for a guy like Schofield to move from left guard to right tackle? Is that a challenge?
“It could be. I think the intelligence of Mike, though, and his football intelligence helps because it is different. And then it can vary because you can play an even front team where the guards are covered or you can play an odd front team like last week where the guards aren’t covered as much. I think all those things tend to make it a little harder from week to week, but at the same time when you get down to fundamentals and techniques of drive blocking or reach or cutoffs or combination schemes, whatever, they’re all pretty much the same.”
What was his response when you approached him to switch to guard last year?
“He wanted to help the team. I mean, he was all in.”
How would you assess his play so far?
“I think he’s been pretty good. I think he, like the whole lot of us, we have to improve. I mean, he has to get a little better, more finishing when you look at blocks. But I can say that about everybody on our football team. We have to finish plays better, whether it’s defensive linemen, the backside corner on pursuit, the receivers downfield getting on harrassing guys in the secondary -- he’s not alone, let’s put it that way.”
If you blow out UMass [Ed: very paraphrased], will Russell Bellomy go in as the next quarterback in after Denard?
“He would be in a game situation, no doubt about it.”
How would you evaluate Patrick Omameh so far?
“I think Pat’s had a really good fall camp, and he’s carried it over. I think he was physical the first week, and I think last week he continued -- there was a little bit of movement stuff, which was different. I think I mentioned there were 35 man pressures that they ran, and obviously not 30 different ones, but as an offensive lineman it keeps you [focused on] technique and fundamentally conscious of it.”
What do you do to make sure they’re focused on UMass and not looking ahead to Notre Dame?
“Well, you know, I think we’ve done a nice job of taking them one at a time, but at the same time, it doesn’t matter who you’re playing, it’s really about us and how we prepare and how we improve and how we practice every week. Every week the discussion starts with us and what we need to do as a football team. We need to have expectations and high goals. If we don’t get better every week, then we’re not going to be the football team we have to be.”
How high on your list is getting your running backs going and having more offensive snaps?
“We play really good defense when our offense is out on the field. First and foremost time of possession is a goal of ours -- to win the time of possession. Turnovers, we have not really -- we got one defensively, and we’ve turned it over four times. We’ve got to be on the other side of that ledger. We’d like some consistently on being able to run the ball, just not with Denard, but with the running back. That part of it. I think that it’s so critical for us as a team, getting in on a little bit of a flow if you want to call it that. I think it’s important.”
What are some of the things Roundtree is doing that we’re not seeing?
“Well I think every day, and we’ll start with practice. I think every day he comes in here to get better, no matter what it is. Roy, as a senior, values that leadership. We value it. On the field, again, work ethic, practice-wise, he’s just as good as anybody. I think game-wise, the way he’ll get on a corner or safety, I think all those guys are pretty daggone good blockers, but he finishes those most of the time.”
Does he do anything with the younger receivers?
“He communicates, you know, when they’re going through the walk-throughs. They run play route or they’re on the sideline. He’s a good leader.
Have there been any freshmen who haven’t played that have stood out to you?
“I think the two D linemen are going to be pretty good players. I think the guys on the front line offensively, they’re going to be good players. Chesson’s a good player. You know, the safeties, they’re good players. They’ve all done a nice job.”
At what point do you make the redshirting decision?
“I think we’re kind of where we want to be unless we get totally drilled somehow at a position.”
How much emphasis is put on getting turnovers? Also, why haven’t you had the success with turnovers this season that you did last season?
“I think that’s the best question. I think Air Force had the ball on the ground twice. Once, the fullback had it jump back in his hands, but you know, I think we emphasize it, I think we talk about it. I mean, everyday in practice if there’s a ball on the ground, skelly, no matter what it is, our guys are running over and scooping it and trying to score with it or whatever, even if it’s an incomplete pass. So the emphasis on getting the ball, I do think we do need more guys to the football at times. More hats on the football. I think that’s a very important part of it.”
Do you think they’re not swarming to the football as much last year?
“I wouldn’t say that last week, and I wouldn’t say that the first week either. The first week we missed some tackles obviously, and then just trying to get more bodies to the ball.”
Fitz was the only running back to get any carries last week. Was that by design or just how it panned out?
“I just think it’s kind of how things went to be honest with you. Yes, we wanted to get him some carries, but it just didn’t work out that way. Again, when you go back to blocking better at the line of scrimmage or the point of attack, we have to make sure we’re getting the right reads if they’re read plays, and the other thing is just how the game went.”
With the offensive line, it seemed like some of the guys pulling were slow to get to the point of attack. How do you work on that?
“I think there were a couple power plays where they needed to get there quicker. You just keep working on it.”
Greg Mattison took a lot of responsibility for not coming up with enough defensive schemes. Is that something where you can only identify that after the fact, or was there a decision to limit the schemes prior to the game?
“I think there’s always self-evaluation, and I think, you know, Greg is a pretty honest guy obviously. But at the same time, if we execute what we are playing a little better, then maybe he doesn’t have to say that.”
Back to Roy, is his attitude and approach --
A little too good to be true? He’s always so upbeat.
“That’s Roy. And he loves his football team. And he loves his teammates and he’s well respected because of that atittude.
Is Brennen Beyer out for the week?
“He’ll be out this week. I’m hoping to get him next week. Don’t know for sure yet.”
Is Ash still on track to return?
“He did a couple things yesterday. I don’t know if he’ll be full on Saturday.”
Where is the boo boo specifically?
“It’s on his body.”
Upper body? Lower body?
“It’s somewhere on his body.”