April 16, 2016
Recap | Final Stats | Notes
Opening Statement: “First of all, this was a really outstanding day for me personally. We had a great crowd out there. I know the players certainly appreciate the support and passion that our fans have. It’s always good to see our fans come out and support next year’s team, which is what we’re trying to develop.
“I think there were some good things out there today, and obviously some things we could’ve done better, but I think when you match yourself against yourself, you know, sometimes there’s mismatches that you really can’t overcome. I’m not sure we have all the best players on the best teams, in terms of there’s a lot competition in the offensive line. There’s a lot of competition at quarterback. There’s competition on defense in several positions. There’s several players that we’re missing that didn’t go through spring practice that would have a huge impact, not only in how they play their position, but the leadership that they show.
“So, how any conclusions can be drawn about anything that happened today – other than the fact that this is an opportunity for us as coaches and as a team – to look at where we are, individually and collectively as a group, continue to evaluate and use the rest of this offseason to focus on individual improvement for the players that we have, so they can go out there and execute with more consistency.
“A little disappointing in terms of the offense, penalties and undisciplined-type things that we have worked very hard on this spring. I thought we had made some progress in those areas that those types of things would not be an issue. So, that was a little disappointing. There were some good plays made by some quarterbacks and I think every one of them probably has some things they can learn from, but I saw some good things and I saw some things that we probably need to do better. We had some drops at receivers, from some very good players who don’t usually drop passes. Obviously, we need to make more explosive plays on offense but, when you limit your offense and limit your defense, I’m not sure without a game plan how much that really happens.
“I think in the past, if you want to draw some conclusions that we have a new quarterback, in most cases the defense looks a little better than the offense, but I did think that the second offense, the white offense, missed four field goals out there, moved the ball much more effectively. Damien Harris had a really nice day. [He] looked quick and explosive and he did a really nice job, and the young quarterbacks did a nice job of making some plays. So, I thought their consistency that they played with was a lot better than the actual first-team. It just creates more competition and more things for us to evaluate.
All in all, I think we’ve had a good spring. We’ve made progress and we have a lot of parts that need to come together. Some were absent today. Some will be new players coming in. How those players fit in and get embraced by the rest of our team and the leadership of our team will go long ways in how many of those guys really contribute. Last year, Calvin Ridley contributed to a large degree as a true freshman. Minkah Fitzpatrick, Ronnie Harrison, Da’Ron Payne [and] several guys on special teams, so, all the pieces are not together, but if the focus we want to have is on offseason player improvement [and] player development, the individuals on our team will make the team what it is, and that’s we want to continue to focus on.
“So, the program from here on out is, I meet with every player Monday and Tuesday, whether it’s personal, academic or athletic, ‘Here’s things that you’re doing well. Here’s things that we need to improve on. Here’s the plan for the rest of the year’. We need to finish strong academically, so our guys continue to make progress towards a degree. Most of the guys take a couple, three weeks off in May then, when we come back for summer school, everybody will be focused on individual improvement again.”
On the two young quarterbacks: “I think both guys made some good throws. Both guys showed their athleticism in terms of the ability to stretch plays. They certainly look faster and quicker in terms of how we are moving on offense when those two go in there, especially in the first half. But there are also many occasions where they should have thrown the ball, didn’t and then got sacked, should have gotten rid of the ball or tried to run around, lost 20 yards in a sack, so some of the inexperience showed in some of the negative plays like unforced errors and attempts. You don’t really need to be taking these plays if you really knew what you’re doing. It has nothing to do with ability. It has everything to do with awareness, experience and knowledge. And then, reacting to what happens. I think that that’s going to be the kill to the drill with those guys in terms of their development, but they both did some really good things today. “Let me say this. Who you’re playing against has to match you. So, the twos were playing against the twos. Our two defense probably played not as good as our two offense. Especially with Johnathan Allen and Dakota Ball who are both in two deep are not in there, then all of a sudden the guys who replace them on the twos are the threes. (Keith) Holcomb didn’t play today. He has a slight concussion. I think that the depth at defense is one the concerns that we have, so it wasn’t surprising to me that the second offense was able to move the ball more effectively, but the first defense played a little better. We have some guys who missed some pass rush, which probably made it more difficult for the quarterbacks. So, all these factors are things that you don’t really look at on the surface. You kind of just look the result and then you start drawing conclusions without drawing out the facts.”
On the former players coming back for his 10th A-Day: “It was really heart felt for me. I’ve talked about a lot of guys coming back for the Clemson game, and being in the locker room, staying around talking to me, but for all those guys to come see me last night, there had to be about 30 or 40 of them in there that have played on our team since we have been here in the last nine years. For them to say some of the things that they said, and give me a golf bag and some things on a golf club, it was very touching. But, at the same time, it’s exactly what we are trying to do in terms of helping people be more successful. Whether it be personal development, the lessons they learned so they can be more successful in life. Whether it’s making sure they get an education, so they get a better quality of life. And, how they develop as football players. All these things are our goals for the program, so it really makes me feel good when the guys come back and say things to me like, ‘You helped me do that. The program helped me do that. The people helped me do that.’ And to see that appreciation, that’s great. But that should not go just for me. It goes out to a lot of people. I just drive the bus, but we had some really good quality people here on the way from administration, right on down that contribute to having the kind of program that we have that helps the players contribute and benefit for themselves.”
#17 Cam Sims, Wide Receiver
On A-Day Atmosphere: “It was really like a game today. I looked out coming out of the tunnel and there was a bunch of people. I looked at the stands, and the stand were crowded like it’s a typical game day.”
On the offensive performance from his team: “From the quarterbacks on my side, they put the ball where I could catch it. They made it easier for me, so good job to the quarterbacks.”
On getting the touchdown late and knowing he doesn’t have to eat beans: “When (Adam) Griffith made that feel goal I kept thinking how I didn’t want to eat the beans. We came through. I caught that little pass, and eventually we scored. I was like, ‘Yes, steak!’.”
On today’s performance: “I felt really good. I felt really comfortable out there. I felt like I could have done a little better though, but just being out there was really exciting. Just playing with my teammates. That’s pretty much the main thing.”
On his goals going forward: “I really just want to make improvements, stay in the playbook and make some gains and weight. Whatever I can do to contribute to the team basically. I am just going to take this lesson that I’ve learned in the spring and some of the little things that I’ve learned and just kind of build off of it and get ready for the fall.”