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Quotes from Tom Herman following the second practice of 2018.
Opening statement: Really, again, spirited practice. The guys are going really hard, but again it’s not real football. Saturday is when real football starts so I’m really, really excited to see our guys put the pads on and go play some real football. Injury update, Montrell Estell sprained his other foot but x-rays were negative so they’re going to get a MRI just to be sure. Looks like it’s just a midfoot sprain at this point.
On what the energy is like in a spring practice after a bowl win: Great juice to be honest with you. I think a lot of that is there’s been a ton of positivity in that locker room for the last couple of months, but also these guys know what to expect. They know when they get in that locker room that if I take one lazy step on that field I’m going to get called out. Not only now am I going to get called out by Coach Herman and my position coach, I’m probably going to get called out by a bunch of teammates. Guys go really hard. They’re energetic. They understand this is the way it is around here, and it’s going to be, and it’s never going to change. They’ve embraced it and they’re going really hard.
On how Sam Ehlinger has looked: Good
On Calvin Anderson being at practice and what it says about him and if he can be a Connor Williams replacement: It’s tough for him and the guys that are out there competing. He’s out there in shorts and a t-shirt with a script trying to learn the offense. The rest of the offensive linemen are out there working their tails off. That’s the normal in today’s media climate, I guess, but it’s not fair to him. It’s not fair to the rest of the offensive line. We’re excited to have him. We’re excited that a guy that’s not going to be here until June can be out here for some of these practices to watch and try and learn.
On if it’s fair to say he can step in and be a starter: No. I expect him to come in here and if his best is what we think it is and he picks the offense up, then I think he’s got a great chance to earn it.
On what Collin Johnson needs to do to become a consistent player: That’s the word, consistency. He had some unbelievable plays today and then some plays that a junior shouldn’t be making. I have no issues with Collin’s buy-in level. I have no issues with Collin’s want-to, desire. He’s a great teammate, he’s a great player for a coach to coach. I think it’s got to be a constant, whether it’s self-talk, mental focus, whatever you want to call it, dialed into that 1-0 mentality each and every play. I think Coach Mehringer, Coach Meekins, myself, we’re constantly reminding him of that. He’ll get there. I’m very confident he’ll get there.
On Lil’Jordan Humphrey being at X with Johnson: We haven’t introduced any of our 10 personnel stuff. When we go four wide receivers, LJ will be in the slot and it just makes sense from a rotation standpoint so we can see a little bit what Jordan Pouncey and Jerrod Heard can do in the slot. LJ is so smart that if he’s one of our best three, we’re going to find a way to get him on the field. When we introduce our four wide receiver package, he’ll definitely be out there.
On if he’s seeing the early enrollees adjust to the speed of the game: They understand the tempo of practice. I credit our leaders on this team, I credit the locker room for that, I credit Coach McKnight and his staff for the installation of our culture and those young guys. You can tell today was day two of installation. The more drops in the bucket we call it, the heavier that bucket gets. They’ll be swimming mentally for a while but their effort, their intensity, and their practice habits have been really good.
On Junior Angilau: Nothing new. Our expectation is that he’s going to be (here).
On if the leaders are who most would think they are or if there are new leaders emerging: One guy I forgot to mention on Monday was P.J. Locke. Obviously he’s a returning captain. That wasn’t an omission on purpose, that just slipped my mind. The usual suspects are who’s doing most of the leading.
On if he sees Locke as the nickel: Oh yeah.
On what it’s like coaching Kris Boyd: It is fun. The kid loves football, man. Absolutely loves football. When you win his heart, he’s as loyal as they come. I have no doubt that Kris Boyd would take a bullet for Jason Washington, Todd Orlando, myself. He has bought in, jumped in with both feet. He loves football. Now, there are times, like a hyper dog, you’ve got to yank on the leash every now and then. You’d much rather yank on leashes than kick butts to get them in gear.
On Ayodele Adeoye: He knows football. The kid’s really football smart. Instinctively, the nuances of his assignment right now, he’s nowhere near where he needs to be. Instinctively, just really knows football. Physically, the kid’s what he is. He was such a highly ranked recruit because he made so many plays. There’s a lot of guys that look like him that aren’t nearly as highly recruited as him because they don’t make plays.
On Reese Leitao: Great. He looks great. I’m excited. That new redshirt rule that the AFCA, Todd Berry, and all of us coaches are hoping to get into effect, I wish that were in effect last year. We would have played him the last few games. It was more prudent to redshirt him. Had a great bowl prep, then the two months with Coach McKnight did wonders for him. He’s strong as an ox, super smart. The guy is majoring in neuroscience. I didn’t even know that was a major. Extremely smart. Loves football. You can tell he’s a coach’s kid. Goes hard when he screws up. It kills him. We’re excited about him.
On why Mehringer was with the younger/walk-on WRs while Meekins was with experienced ones for a portion of drills: We had a lot of stuff going in today. Most of it was stuff we had last year, but these younger guys, it was new for them. It was more of a “let’s teach these younger guys to make sure when they get in, they aren’t screwing things up.”
On if he’s going into spring with the mindset he can do all he wants with the offense with his TEs: For sure. We don’t have like what we had at Ohio State with Jeff Heuerman and Nick Vannett. We don’t have 6’6”, 260 that can put his hand in the dirt and go block an elite 7-technique. What we do have are guys that are athletic, that can move, that do have leverage. They aren’t short by any stretch. By tight end standards, 6’2”, 6’3” is not extremely tall. They can move around. They can play in the slot. They can run routes. They can catch the ball. The offense is pretty wide open.
On how Duvernay is doing (no context to which Duvernay): Great. Made some standout plays in both days of practice. He’s got a smile on his face. He’s doing really good.
On if there’s a bonus to guys like Malik Jefferson and Armanti Foreman being at practice: I think it is. I don’t think it’s ever talked about like “hey, we’ve got to do good because Malik is standing over there watching us.” I think it’s an internal thing like “hey that’s the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year standing there watching me. I want to make sure I’m impressing him,” and Armanti the same way. That’s why, regardless of age, whether it’s guys that just left or when any of the former players come out… Cory Redding comes out to practice quite a bit. We usually have really good defensive line practices when Cory Redding’s out there. I do think it matters. Probably subconsciously a little bit. I think that’s why it’s so important to have those guys around as much as we do.
On putting the pads on Saturday and if it’s a full throttle practice: You’re limited. There’s all these non-padded, then there’s full-pad non-tackling, then there’s full-pad tackling, then there’s scrimmage. This will be a, I think it’s a full-pad non-tackling day. You won’t see a ton of guys going to the ground. Most of the drills that we do will be in thud tempo. You can get a lot accomplished in thud.