Feb. 27, 2014
SAN DIEGO -
Head Coach Rocky Long
"We started spring practice yesterday and we're pretty excited about that. We're more excited about our basketball team though, because we expect to see them playing for a lot longer than just the next three games. Yesterday's practice was without pads so it's very difficult to determine if we're any good. We're also playing a bunch of quarterbacks, so I saw more interceptions and possible interceptions in one practice yesterday than I ever have in my coaching career. I think we intercepted seven or eight passes and could have intercepted 12 in one practice. So either the defense is really, really good or the offense is really, really bad. It's your guess. My guess is a little of both."
On who he expects to be the starting quarterback in the fall:
"I'd imagine it would be Quinn Kaehler. And he didn't play much yesterday. He only got a few reps."
On expectations for this season:
"I think the expectation level in our program is different than the public expectation level. The expectation in our program is that we're going to compete for the conference championship and go to another bowl game. I don't know what the public expectation is. I'd have a better feel in August than I do right now."
On the injury status of defensive back Trey Lomax:
"He's ok. Hopefully he'll be able to practice on Monday. He dislocated his finger, and it's very unusual that you cannot get a dislocated finger back in place. They actually had to take him to the hospital last night and do minor surgery on him to get it back in. But there's no ligament damage, so he should be able to practice on Monday with a brace."
On his general impression of his quarterbacks:
"My impression is the quarterbacks seem to have really good arms, they have quick arms. They spin the ball really well. The ball comes out fast in a tight spiral and they look good throwing it. What they didn't do is throw it to the right people. They have physical ability, but obviously they have a long way to go before they're ready to play."
On how much spring practice helps them prepare for August:
"I would say it's a 50-50 deal. It's 50 percent to give every kid on our team a chance to prove they can play, develop them as players and give us a feel of what kind of athletic ability we have. Then 50 percent of it is seeing how good we're going to be next year. We don't do any game planning or scout work whatsoever. It's all about developing players and realizing who your good players are and developing your program around them."
On the team's positions of strength:
"Defensive line and linebackers. I actually believe we're strong at wide receiver, but most of them haven't played very much. That's a guess. Guys we're counting on being starters are guys who have played a lot, so they don't miss too much by missing spring practice."
On what he would consider a successful spring:
"Finding two deep (of players at positions) on both sides of the ball that we're very, very comfortable with. That's what a coach wants to come out with. Limit the number of injuries, so you don't have to worry about if they'll be ready to go in August or not. But basically if you come out of spring with two deep on both sides of the ball that you have a lot of confidence in, you're way ahead of the game."
On the team's safeties during the first spring practice:
"They were a lot like the quarterbacks. They looked better because quarterbacks were terrible, so some of those safeties intercepted passes. Sometimes they intercepted passes because they weren't in the right place. There were a lot of mistakes being made yesterday."
On Adam Muema leaving the NFL Combine early:
"We don't have any new information. We hope the young man is OK, and that he comes back here where people care about him and we can help him through this time and he can go on to become a very productive football player."
On his expectations this season for Donnel Pumphrey:
"I think in our offense we have to have two running backs of different abilities. Obviously (Pumphrey) is the big-play guy in the open field, but I don't think he's big enough or physical enough to carry it 30 times a game. But he does a whole bunch of good things, and if we can develop a guy to run between the tackles, the two can complement each other. So we have to find a guy to run between the tackles, because we know we have the other guy already. I think we've got several candidates. I have a special one, but I'm not going to tell you because I have a bet with the offensive coaches on who it is, and they don't agree with me, but they'll be wrong."
On the candidates to start at fullback this season:
"Parker Wells and Dakota Gordon, those are the walk on kids that are possible fullbacks, and everybody knows Chad Young was a walk-on at the start too. Adam Roberts is the only guy we have back there that is on scholarship. Parker Wells has been in the program, (Gordon) is a junior college transfer that wanted to walk on. We use a fullback and a lot of teams don't. This is a very attractive place for that."