Tom Herman post-practice quotes – 8/7/17

John Burt. (Will Gallagher/IT)

John Burt. (Will Gallagher/IT)

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After a scrimmage Saturday and a recovery day Sunday, Tom Herman addressed the media and explained what he’d like to see from his team in week two of camp, why Todd Orlando was his choice for defensive coordinator, how the team polices itself and who has progressed after a week of practice.

Opening statement: “Not a whole lot to report. I’ll get to your questions. Really, really good recovery day yesterday. Cryochamber, saltwater float tank, massage therapists, dry needling, NormaTec boots, you name it. The kids got in and handled their business and responded pretty well today with some good energy. Updates, Jason Hall has been diagnosed with a concussion, so we’re treating it as such. Then, Malcolm Roach early in practice today kind of sprained his toe. So we’re going to take a closer look at that thing when he gets in.”

On the effect the recovery technology has on the team: “It’s two-fold. The first fold of the two-fold thing is that it helps their body, obviously. The second one is Coach (Yancy) McKnight talking to them and telling them ‘you go really hard around here and you’re going to get rewarded.’ Those rewards were on Sunday with all the stuff we make available to them and put them through. They also know that then today, if they want to experience that again next Sunday, they have to come out and perform today. It provides, obviously, some therapeutic effects but it also, psychologically, keeps them motivated.”

On Hall’s concussion protocol: “I’m not really sure to be honest with you. I know now-a-days they’ve taken it out of the coach’s hands and put it into the trainers’ and doctors’ hands. I can get you the Big 12 protocol. It’s written. There’s a conference and NCAA protocol. It has to do with baseline tests, when you’re symptom-free. I don’t know how many days symptom-free, but I know you can’t even take the test until you’re symptom free. Then you take the different tests that we’ve already got baselines on you for. If you past those tests, then you go do a conditioning test. If you are symptom free 24 hours from the conditioning test, then you go practice non-contact. Then if you’re symptom free 24 hours after the non-contact practice, you’re good to go. When they’re allowed to take that test, I’m not exactly sure.”

On if Roach will get x-rays on the toe: “He will when we get him out.”

On depth on the DL: “I think nose is a position that we need the depth. Gerald Wilbon and, actually, Jamari Chisholm have been playing well. They’re not to Poona Ford’s caliber just yet, but they’re playing well. If we had to play tomorrow, they would play 10-12 snaps and hopefully give us some good production. Again, we need those guys continuing to improve their game so that we feel good that in the fourth quarter in the second half of the season, that Poona Ford’s still where he needs to be.”

On additional takeaways from Saturday’s scrimmage: “I can tell you the two players of the game. On offense, it was Patrick Vahe. On defense, it was DeShon Elliott. Both those guys played a bunch and played really, really well. I think those two probably merit the most praise.”

On John Burt’s pass catching ability and role on team: “Better. Not great, but that is a skill that can be learned. I fully believe that. Just like any other skill, you’ve got a genetic potential that there’s a ceiling somewhere in every skill. I think he’s getting closer to that. He’s not there yet. How does he factor? I don’t know right now. Again, that’s a really deep room. He’s jogging in there with our second group right now at the Z position and provides us some legitimate speed on the outside. Doesn’t matter how fast you run if you don’t catch the football. I’ve been pleased with how hard he’s worked to improve that skill, but he’s still got some more work to do.”

On if track helped Burt in the offseason: “It showed me something that he didn’t run track until I believe the Big 12 conference meet and that he was that committed to becoming a better football player and wide receiver, and then when he did go run in the Big 12 and I believe the regionals or nationals, he didn’t miss one workout. To his credit, he found a way to get those in. Kind of tells you how natural of an athlete he is and the natural speed that he has. He decided to go out, kind of stretched a little bit, did one of these (stretches) and took second in the Big 12. I was proud of how much commitment he showed in the spring to football.”

On how he feels about depth at corner: “Not great. The good thing is corners don’t rotate, but if they get hurt that’s going to be an issue. Davante Davis needs to continue to earn our trust. He’s physically able to do it, he just has some breakdowns from time to time that can be costly. He’s got to be more consistent. Josh Thompson I think has the ability in there, too. He’s just trying to keep his head above water right now as a freshman, but we need to accelerate his growth process, too.”

On Jamari Chisholm’s conditioning early: “Better than I thought it’d be. Guy comes in in August, you really kind of just anticipate probably having to redshirt him or not getting much out of him until middle or late in the season. He’s done a good job. The good part is when he’s in there, Coach (Todd) Orlando and Coach (Oscar) Giles keep it pretty simple for him, too. It’s just about playing, not a whole lot of thinking. His physical condition is better than I thought it would be.”

On how class of ’17 is shaping up: “Great. Cade (Brewer) and Reese (Leitao) will play. Toneil (Carter) and Daniel Young will play. Josh (Thompson), Jamari (Chisholm), Ta’Quon (Graham) will definitely play. Whatever that number is, seven or eight, could be up to nine guys that you’re going to count on for quality minutes. I think that’s a pretty good percentage of a true freshman class that can survive out there.”

On what week two looks like in his camp: “Less install, but we’ll still install probably until Wednesday or so. You’d like to have 90-95 percent of the offense and defense in by Wednesday. I think it’s revisiting the things that you did install that you think are going to be your bread and butter, or your base offense and defenses. Then just the polishing of the mechanics of a game, getting a signal, getting lined up, making checks, running the same play over and over and over again against different looks, running the same defense against different formations, where do I go, what do I do, different runs. It’s just a matter of repetition now versus a lot of different things.”

Breckyn Hager. (Will Gallagher/IT)

Breckyn Hager. (Will Gallagher/IT)

On if he’ll have situational pass rushers: “I think so. I think right now Breckyn Hager and Jeffrey McCulloch are two guys that are running with the twos on first and second down. If we get them in third and long, would definitely jog on the field. Coach Orlando does that. That’s kind of our deal. We want to get you in third and long, third and predictable, and then jog a bunch of pass rushers out on the field and make quarterbacks’ lives very difficult.”

On if he’s noticed an ability to focus on the team more with new August recruiting rules: “Yeah, doesn’t make me like it anymore. I still would love to have recruits here. As a lot of teams are starting today, and every team will have started by next Monday in high school. That takes the sting out of it a little bit knowing that you probably wouldn’t see those kids anyways because they’re starting their training camp, too. Last week, that was tough. That was weird not having kids around. The silver lining is you get to focus more on what’s going on the field. I like really good players, too.”

On why he wanted Todd Orlando and what he does best on gamedays: “Why I wanted him was because we had a two year history together that was extremely productive. I think we finished in the top five in the country, or top ten in the country both years, on rush defense. Total defense we were in the top 15. Turnover margin, I think the first year we were one or two in the country. That was a no-brainer for me, just the history and he does things, especially as a guy that has called plays for a pro-spread offense, the way that his defense is structured is really, really hard on spread teams. I saw that through two springs and two falls of our offenses. You would have thought we were one of the worst offenses in the country in training camp both years at Houston. We go out and we’re a top 20 offense, but we couldn’t move the ball against him. Our defenses have been really, really productive against the run. When you can do that on first and second down… Florida State, I think Dalvin Cook had 19 carries for 31 yards. I think Oklahoma, (Samaje) Perine and (Joe) Mixon had under 100 yards combined. He’s able to stop teams from running the football and get you into predictable pass situations, then have fun getting exotic and drawing up fun pass rushes and blitzes.”

On if this team is playing to his standard of physicality: “For the most part. There’s still some guys, and the really cool thing is when most of the team goes as hard and hits as hard as you expect them to, then the ones that don’t get exposed. They stick out like a sore thumb. It’s really cool because the players then see that and can be the ones that call out, if you will. ‘Hey, that’s not to our standard, man. What are you doing? That’s not the way we do things around here.’ For the most part. We’ve still got to get guys that are talented enough to help us that have to go hard enough to become part of our family.”

On physical play from linebackers: “Better. Not great. Better. Had nowhere to go but up. At least they went up and not sideways. Better. I think (Anthony) Wheeler is an extremely physical guy. I think Malik (Jefferson) in his new found strength is striking people. Gary Johnson has been an added, physical guy. Ed Freeman is very solid in there. Then obviously Naashon (Hughes) is a pretty physical, tough guy, too. The best answer is better but not elite yet.”

On how he fosters a team that polices itself: “I think there’s a quote, by I believe it’s Alexander the Great, where it says ‘the actions of each of us determine the fate of all of us.’ I think when you get in your position meeting rooms, and if a tight end screws up, the first one is usually on him. The subsequent penalties are on the entire unit. At some point, if you’re the guy that’s not screwing up and you’re having to pay for the guy that does screw up, at some point you’re going to say something and you’re going to do something and you’re going to police that because you don’t want to have to pay for other people’s penalties. I think we do a lot of that. We call it ‘unit pride’ where every position coach and every unit should strive to be the example unit. When I get up and brag on a unit, it should be your unit. Your unit is only as strong as its weakest link, too. I think that understanding in the game of football is critical that everything that I do, on and off the field, affects the success of everybody. I think that’s on the individual. As a group, you have to then realize too ‘hey if I want to achieve the things I want to achieve, even if I’m doing everything I’m supposed to, I need to make sure everybody else is doing what they’re supposed to, too, because I can’t do this alone.’”

On if his treatment of position coaches helps team realize this: “Yeah, but it only helps if the relationship is there and if the trust and belief is there in that position room. If you don’t trust your position coach, you don’t like the guy and you don’t believe in him, I can yell at him all you want and you’re probably happy when I yell at him. If you do and you truly love your position coach, you don’t want to be the reason that he is reprimanded.”

On if Kirk Johnson practiced: “Early and then individual. We didn’t put him through team. I think he’s going to be contact tomorrow.”