Monday, April 25, 2005
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- The Southeastern Conference hosted a post-spring football practice teleconference with its 12 head coaches on Monday. Here are some the highlights of the league's head coaches had to say following spring football practice.
ALABAMA HEAD COACH MIKE SHULA
(On spring drills) "We felt good about our spring also. We started early and we will have a lot of young guys on the field this year. We made it through spring relatively healthy. Our biggest question mark injury wise is Brodie Croyle and Kenneth Darby and Tim Castille. Those are the big question, and we need to get our starting backfield healthy."
(On Darby injury situation) "Darby just started the physical part of his rehab. They started with the light workouts in the pool and he has started light jogging. From everything I am hearing he will be ready for fall practice. I haven't heard one negative thing yet."
(On Brodie Croyle) "He really looks good right now. He could have gone through all the spring drills, but I didn't want to take a chance on him getting hit. We don't need Brodie 100 percent for spring, we need him 100 percent for fall practice. He is going into his senior year, and he is gearing up for a great season."
ARKANSAS HEAD COACH HOUSTON NUTT
(On spring drills) "We had a good spring. There is nothing like spring football. No pressure and plenty of time to put everything in, especially when you are losing a guy like Matt Jones."
(On Matt Jones) "His athleticism and his speed and quickness is so much better than average. He has never failed and once he puts his mind to something he can do it. Once he makes the commitment, he will be a playmaker. Very few people are his size and can run a 4.37. In high pressure situation you want the ball in his hands."
(On assistant coaches) "As we all know, the salaries are getting better and better. Just like the head coaches, with the raise in salaries comes some production that has to be accomplished. Salaries are given for a reason."
AUBURN HEAD COACH TOMMY TUBERVILLE
(On spring drills) "It was a productive spring. We have a lot of holes to fill. We knew going into spring practice we would have a challenge replacing those guys. Anytime you replace your quarterback, you have to start over. I think we have chance to have a good football team if we stay healthy."
(On quarterback situation) "Our starting quarterback as we speak is Brandon Cox. He really has a great arm. The biggest difference is they experience factor and his educational process. He has all the ability to be a good quarterback at this level. He has been very productive in the weight room. He is not as mobile, but he has deceptive speed."
(On having four 1st round picks) "It's not ever good to lose four 1st round draft picks, it doesn't happen very often. It probably made all four of these guys who decided to come back, it made them 7 to 10 million dollars each. It says something about coming back and working hard to earn a degree. It was to watch and fun to be around them, but you have to start over."
FLORIDA HEAD COACH URBAN MEYER
(On spring drills) "We had a very productive spring. What you look for is an attitude and resistance when you are a new coach, but there wasn't any. We have been fairly healthy. On offense there is a new scheme, and our tailback position has not been solidified."
(On new culture) "It has been developed over the last four years. You try to create an atmosphere of accountability and that's important. The NCAA has put in the rules where there is no communication between the coaches and players. Players have to be accountable."
(On SEC) "It's the best conference in college football. I thought that before I was involved, and now I know. It's the best players, and in my opinion the best coaches. It's not like that in every other conference."
(On comparisons between Alex Smith and Chris Leak) "Chris Leak is a person that takes the game very seriously. He is making a decision every play. Alex is 6'4" and Chris is six feet. Alex's preparations were like you couldn't imagine. Chris compares to that and I am hoping it is a very close comparison."
GEORGIA HEAD COACH MARK RICHT
(On spring drills) "I thought it was a good spring. We wanted to get a bit tougher physically and mentally. We stayed pretty healthy and we had a very competitive spring. It was good on both sides of the ball. I am pretty thrilled with how it went."
(On facing dual QBs) "I think everybody has thought it was one of the toughest if not the toughest division in the United States. Some people are predicting us to be 20th in the country and 4th in the East, and last year we where 4th in the country. It's a tough conference."
(On staff changes) "I think it does take a little bit of time to gel.
The staff has to get used to each other, and the players have to get used to that coach. A lot of things that could have gotten changed would have been more disruptive, but there will always be questions."
KENTUCKY HEAD COACH RICH BROOKS
(On spring drills) "We just finished on Saturday with our Blue-White scrimmage. We had a lot of young players play last year that are better than they were last year. We have a quarterback that can throw the ball very well and I feel good about where we are offensively."
(On quarterback situation) "Andre Woodson has the ability to be a big time guy. We got better around him, and we protect and run the ball better and those two things helped him develop. He will go into his sophomore year as the starter."
(On highs and lows of the spring) "I think the low point has been our deep snapping. We had a player coming back who did a good job last season, and he had a non-productive spring. That hurt our punters. I think the high points are how a lot of the young players have come through on the offensive side. We have had a lot of young players that have stepped up and played at a level that will be competitive in this league."
LSU HEAD COACH LES MILES
(On spring drills) "I think we made progress across the board. We are not ready to play a football game today, but I think our team is getting better. Our offense has been moving the ball this spring pretty comfortably. I think our special teams showed improvement from start to finish."
(On quarterback situation) "I think JaMarcus Russell and Matt Flynn both had good springs and are competing for the starting job. I think they both have the natural ability to do the job. They have both shown the ability to be a leader. I think we will to name a starter."
(On building leaders and team culture) "Certainly those things must take place. I think there is a number of ways those things could happen. It gives me another group to speak to when you need leadership and direction of your team. I think it opens the lines of communication pretty well."
OLE MISS HEAD COACH ED ORGERON
(On spring drills) "We are really pleased. I thought our offense made tremendous strides, especially at the quarterback position."
(On SEC) "This is a very good league and very competitive. I am excited to be here and I am excited to recruit the type of player that plays in the conference."
(On differences in being a head coach) "I think the daily operations are different. All my life I have coached defense but I liked going over offensive film and being in control of what we put in. I will be a hands-on guy in every aspect of our program."
MISSISSIPPI STATE HEAD COACH SYLVESTER CROOM
(On spring drills) "I thought we had an excellent spring. It was a tough and physical spring, and our players responded very well. I feel very good about where we are and we have put a solid foundation. We are excited and we are looking forward to the fall."
(On changes in roster) "I expected that. Most of them have been disciplinary reasons our thought our philosophy wasn't what they wanted to do. These guys weren't recruited to be apart of this philosophy. They chose not to remain and I respect that we just will move on."
SOUTH CAROLINA HEAD COACH STEVE SPURRIER
(On spring drills) "I think we got off to a very good start and we had very good weather. We had lots of repetitions and of course lots of errors. It was a learning process and you have to start somewhere."
(On quarterbacks) "Our quarterback position is wide open. We will see who is ready to play. It is pretty wide open and we will make a decision a couple of weeks into pre-season practice."
(On development of quarterbacks) "We'd love to inherit an All-Conference quarterback and plug him into our system but that didn't happen. We are what we are, but we have a lot of time. Hopefully we will find out which player will learn from their mistakes."
(On rebuilding South Carolina) "I have been gone for three years, so I don't know how it's been. I know there are good teams all over. Our goal is be at the top of the SEC someday and hope we get there. I think there are only a few schools that don't think they can realistically get to the top. I believe we have the resources here to get there and be successful."
TENNESSEE HEAD COACH PHILLIP FULMER
(On spring drills) "I think we had a good spring overall. We missed a few guys that we would have liked to be there because of injuries.
Overall I thought it was a productive spring and we look forward to getting everyone healthy by the time we start two-a-day practices."
(On academic reform) "It's hard to argue with that its not a good thing.
I don't know of a coach anywhere that doesn't want to graduate their players. I think it is probably made another point of emphasis. There are probably more strategies out there now and more people paying attention to it."
(On SEC respect nationally) "I think everyone around the country respects the fact that you could be 13-0 and be a great football team.
Two years ago to split the national championship is great for both teams. SEC football you are playing the best in the country, week in and week out."
(On movement of assistant coaches) "I think they are warranted. What you are seeing is a revolution filtering down from pro football. Everyone is trying to keep their coaches. Certainly it is well within the structure of what we do, trying to keep coaches in place. We have kept pace pretty well from a salary standpoint, and we are in the process of finalizing some long-term contracts with some of our coaches. We aren't the most, but we aren't the least when it comes to pay on the national scale."
VANDERBILT HEAD COACH BOBBY JOHNSON
(On spring drills) "We were very pleased with spring drills. We were very pleased with several facets of our game. We had some experiments with moving some people to different positions. Those changes made us a little quicker in the linebacker core."
(On having a returning quarterback) "It's very good to have him. We pay attention to that. It's always a transition no matter who you are if you are going to be playing with a new quarterback. Jay has been the starter for 3 years now and going on his 4th. He has an awful lot of talent. He has a great arm and he can run. We are excited about having him back."
(On Kwane Doster) "Obviously that was a terrible tragedy for our team to have to endure. I was extremely proud of how they went about it. They are trying to remember the great things about Kwane, and they want to find ways to honor him by being a better football team. I have so much respect for our guys on how they handled it."