March 30, 2004
Thoughts on the first week of spring drills... "Defensively, guys are still flying around the ball and they are having fun. The first day was kind of quiet and the second day they really picked it up. Hamza Abdullah and Will Derting were out there talking a little trash and really helping their teammates more than talking down to them."
Offensive progress... "We miss our two receivers being out, Jason Hill and Chris Jordan. The offensive line got off the line of scrimmage and picked right up where they left off from the bowl game. Chris Bruhn had a great practice. He ran the ball very hard. Allen Thompson had a nice scrimmage. He ran over a couple of guys and scored a touchdown."
Defensive linemen emerging... "Steve Cook had a nice scrimmage. We are very pleased with Ropati Pitoitua, who grayshirted. There are seven guys fighting to play alongside Cook. If one of those guys doesn't emerge, we can slide Adam Braidwood inside. Adam West moved to defensive end and he likes it. He is aggressive. He gets off the ball and has good snap in his hips. He could turn into a pretty good end for us."
Handling quarterback repetitions this week... "We want to give Alex Brink a little more of a shot and give him some reps with the first group. They all made good decisions. The stats from the scrimmage don't necessarily reflect that but we have some young receivers who dropped some balls. They are going to the right person."
Quarterback Chris Hurd returning from knee surgery... "Chris Hurd is in good shape. We haven't noticed him limping or anything. He looks just fine as far as his leg and he is throwing the ball better with a little quicker release and a little more accuracy."
Quarterback Josh Swogger... "Josh Swogger looks like he knows what he is doing out there. He has the swagger, or Swogger, whatever you want to call it. He has a quick delivery."
Receivers stepping up with Chris Jordan and Jason Hill out with injuries... "Marty Martin is doing a nice job. He has improved a lot and is catching the ball in traffic. Tramaine Murray, Thomas Ostrander, and Jevon Miller have improved and look pretty good."
Chris Jordan and Jason Hill injury updates... "Chris Jordan might see some action at the end of spring ball. He is about a month ahead on rehab. Jason Hill probably won't be back, but they will both be back for the fall."
Allen Thompson staying healthy... "So far, so good. He took some hits and did a nice job in pass protection going against the ends and didn't have any tweaks or anything else. He is a great kid so we hope that he can stay healthy."
Graham Siderius' improved placekicking... "He hit three field goals right down the middle during the scrimmage. He just needs some experience and confidence. That job is Graham's to lose. He is making a lot better contact and getting the ball up."
Early surprise of the spring... "Ropati Pitoitua is playing tougher and better than we thought he could this early. He could be somebody pretty special down the road, but they all (young defensive tackles) need a lot of work."
Developing leaders on offense... "If we can develop some leadership on the offense we should be pretty good. Troy Bienemann is a guy that can be a leader for us. Sam Lightbody and Nick Mihlhauser could also be leaders for us."
Will Derting's move to middle linebacker... "He is feeling good. He is looking pretty good, too. I think he has found a home in there."
Players meeting expectations... "It has been beyond my expectations. I thought we would struggle defensively a little more and I really thought offensively we ran the ball better than we have in a long time. We want to get better at running the ball. We want to emphasize the run and get our tight ends to be better blockers. We would like to get a clear cut No. 1 quarterback before the summer. We may not be able to, but I would like that to happen to have somebody lead us through the summer."
Speed of the defense compared to the 2003 unit... "Not right now, but I think it could be as fast. Reyshawn Bobo and Mkristo Bruce can really run coming off the corners. They have a chance. Hamza Abdullah looks good at safety and Jeremy Bohannon is a good strong safety. Those guys are making our secondary look pretty good right now."
Biggest disappointment of the spring... "The lockerroom hasn't been very clean."