Jimbo Fisher spoke to media late Wednesday afternoon after a relatively short practice that saw the team work in shells with a Thursday scrimmage inside Doak looming.
Fisher said he was pleased with the practice, and that the team did some good situational work, including late-game time management, that he thinks will be beneficial.
As for the scrimmage tomorrow, Fisher said he has a few positions, including right tackle, that are still being evaluated, but said that the coaching staff also uses film from practice just as much if not more to evaluate players, so that there isn’t too much weight on scrimmages.
When asked if he hoped to have a starting offensive line combination ironed out before the season started, Fisher said he hoped to, and is getting closer and more comfortable with the group as a whole, though he mentioned there are 8-10 players in the mix, so there were no definite conclusions to be drawn from his comments. During the portion of practice open to media, Menelik Watson and Daniel Glauser rotated with the first unit at right tackle, as did Austin Barron and Bryan Stork at center.
A handful of players were seen in blue non-contact jerseys during the open portion as well. Colin Blake, Keelin Smith, Greg Dent, Gerald Demps, Terrence Brooks, and James Wilder were all still in blue, while Amp McCloud remained undressed as he recovers from his pectoral injury. Rashad Greene was absent from practice as well, but Fisher said it was due to a flu bug, and not an injury, and that he would be fine.
Other topics discussed by Fisher included the kick returner position, which he said would still feature the tandem of Karlos Williams and Lamarcus Joyner as starters, and the linebacker group, which he praised. Fisher said he’s pleased to have Christian Jones at the Will linebacker position, where he can use his range and athleticism more in the box, and that he likes Moody’s transition into the front seven too. As for the Mike linebacker spot, Fisher said both Vince Williams and Telvin Smith would see the field plenty, as expected.
One last item Fisher addressed was the start of classes next week, saying that the amount of experience on the team should help bring along the newer players in the program academically. He cited that the experience of 11 graduated players on the roster is an asset to help players avoid excessive procrastination that leads to falling behind and struggling at the end of the semester, when the season is at its most important juncture.
After practice, Christian Jones answered some questions, and had similarly positive things to say about the progress of the linebackers, as well as his fit in his new spot. Jones said he believes both he and Moody are better suited to the positions they will man in 2012. He also joined the long line of defenders who have praised the re-worked offensive line, specifically naming both new guards, Tre Jackson and Josue Matias, as players who have looked good.
Notes and Quotes after the jump.
Notes and Quotes:
-Jimbo Fisher said the team is practical about scrimmages when it comes to seasoned veterans, not wanting to overdo it, but did say that the coaching staff likes to see who steps up in a more game-like situation.
-"If Brandon Jenkins and Bjoern Werner go out and play 100 snaps, how much are we gaining from that?"- Fisher, on the scrimmage philosophy.
-"When you walk in that stadium, certain guys on certain days, you think oh hes good but when he gets in that stadium he really turns it on, or he freezes up in there."- Fisher, on the way that the stage of the scrimmages brings out sides of players you don’t see in regular practices.
-"I hope so, I think we’re pretty close to that. I think we’re very close to 8 or 10 guys, being very comfortable putting guys in the ballgame without worrying. We’re getting much more comfortable there, that’s for sure."-Fisher, when asked if he hoped to have a starting O-line before the start of the season.
-"If you watched last year, everytime there was a play action pass, that’s where Nick was standing so we said we might as well just move him up there. He always liked to stand up there and hit somebody so I said I’ll just move him on up so he doesn’t have as far to go."- Fisher, on moving Nick Moody down into the linebacker position this year.
-"You go to the end, you’re staying up til 2 or 3 in the morning trying to do a paper, and then you’ve got practice the next day and you’re trying to sleep and concentrate, there’s only so much you can focus on."- Fisher, on the importance of his players staying on top of their schoolwork throughout the semester.
-"I feel more comfortable in this position", Jones said of the move to Will. "I can cover more TEs and be able to use my body more on the boundary, and it’s more effective on that side."
-"I feel like we get too caught up in that sometimes, and that was distracting us last year, but this year we’re more focused, just taking it one week at a time."-Jones, on blocking out the media hype surrounding the defense and team this season.
-"One thing he told me, he said, ‘get ready, ‘cause you’re gonna like that spot.’"- Jones, on what advice departing Senior Will linebacker Nigel Bradham had for him about the shift.