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Quotes (8/18): Cruz, Rolle, Richburg

Posted Aug 18, 2014

Read the full transcripts from Monday's media hour

WR Victor Cruz

Q: Why should people not panic about what you guys have shown offensively in the preseason games?
A: Mainly because we have not shown a lot. We haven’t given a lot plays or tipped our hand on a lot of things that we have shown yet. It is still pretty base stuff, but we just have to do a better job of executing. I know our ones and twos didn’t do very well in the first half of the game, but we just have to do a better job of executing and getting the little things right, which is what we are working towards.

Q: What do you attribute to the fact that you haven’t been able to [execute]?
A: I am not sure. It is kind of a full team thing. It is everyone moving at the same pace at the same accord and in unison. Certain plays we have done that and certain plays we haven’t, so everything plays a part in that. I don’t know, I can’t put my hand on one specific thing, but we know we have to find it and fix it quick.

Q: The fact that the offense is new is part of the reason for the concern from the outside… Is it the same on the inside?
A: I think there is a little sense of urgency on the inside that we just want to go out here and apply. We do some great things on the practice field, and now we just have to translate that over to the game. We can’t do things faster because it is game speed or feel like we are rushing things. We just have to settle in and play the way we play when we are on the practice field when we are making plays and doing a lot of positive things out there.

Q: Is there a sense that [scripting plays the first few weeks] has played into some of your struggles… Because you are forced to adjust without really knowing what is coming from the defense?
A: Potentially. That could be part of it. We still have to work on stuff through different coverages, different looks. We still have to work our technique, and work on finishing and doing the little things that we know how to do right. Schematically, that’ll take care of itself once we start looking at how [the opposing team] is playing us down the line and start making some changes that way. We still have to get some execution things taken care of and some finishing things right that we lacked in the first part of the [Indianapolis] game.

Q: With playing a lot in the final preseason game or more than you are accustomed to… Would that be seen as a punishment?
A: I don’t know. I am not sure. I just go out here and play. Whenever I am asked to play, I play. I don’t look at it as a punishment; I look at it as another opportunity to continue to get better and continue to do some good things out there.

Q: Are you looking at this game and figuring that this is the last game to showcase the starting offense?
A: I think every game as of this point is a showcase for us, no matter whether it is the last game or the second to last. We have to go out there and show what we can do and put a better showing out there than we did in the early part of this last one.

Q: The urgency that [Tom Coughlin] is talking about, is that felt by the players?
A: Definitely. Offensively we know we have to play better. We have to do better, we have to execute better and we know that. There is definitely a sense of urgency for us to get better and show things better in the next game.

Q: Has any of this decreased your confidence in the new offensive system?
A: Not really. There is still a ways to go. We still have a ton of practices before Week One in Detroit. We still have a ton of film to watch, a ton of things to change and things to get better at that we can get better at and things we can fix. I think it is only a matter of time until we get everything clicking. I think we will have it down pat and we will get things going by Week One, for sure.

Q: When you see some of the younger guys making plays late in the game… How do you quantify that? How relative is that success versus what you guys are trying to do against other first teamers?
A: It is still relative to us. It’s still making plays. It is still other guys that were essentially drafted or brought in because the organization felt that they were NFL talent and professional athletes and had some talent. It’s still ranked up there pretty high, and I think what these guys have done, especially in the second half of this previous game, shows the integrity and passion that they play with. It shows the type of character guys that we want on this football team. I think they exemplified that and you definitely quantify that to us and how they make plays and you see it out here on the practice field. I mean Corey Washington has made some plays out here that he has made in the game, as well as Marcus Harris and Adrien Robinson. Those are guys that you see the things they are doing in practice and it is translating over and it is fun to see.

Q: Understanding the urgency aside, it is the Jets and there is the rivalry… But more importantly, it is the game where you made the roster… Is there always going to be something special about playing the Jets?
A: It’s never going to escape me, every year we play them, preseason or regular season. There is always a spot there for me of memories and the game I had against them my rookie season, and that never goes away. That never goes away. That feeling is always there and I am sure the Jets organization knows it’s there, so it is always going to be nostalgic for me to go play them again. They are the home team again this year, so it is going to be nostalgic, but that is all in the past. We definitely want to keep moving forward and going in the right direction, but it is always a fun memory for myself.

Q: It is better than the memory of a dropped touchdown.
A: 1000 percent.

QB Eli Manning

Q: Do you expect that this game against the Jets will be your final big tune-up?
A: I don’t know what the game plan is for how much we’ll play in the last preseason game, but I know we will play a good bit in this one. We’re just going to keep working this week in practice, try to make improvements and hopefully the good things we’ve been doing in practice will carry over into the game.

Q: How much do you think game planning is actually going to help smooth over a lot of the things we might be seeing right now?
A: Hopefully it will help. We’ve still got to perform better. No matter how well you game plan, it’s still the execution on the field that’s the most important thing. We know we’ve got to perform at a higher level and make some plays that are out there and be more consistent.

Q: When you had a chance to go back and look at it, what did you see go wrong and why do you think you guys sort of stumbled a little bit?
A: They did some good things, the Colts did, so you have to give them credit. They had a few good looks that got us. We just missed out on a couple opportunities, had some chances to hit some big plays down the field that we didn’t capitalize on. Third down wasn’t as good. Each play that was it’s own reason for not being, not playing as well as we need do. That’s the thing about football – one guy makes a mistake or does the wrong thing or gets beat, a good chance the play’s not going to work. All 11 guys have to be working together out there.

Q: You mentioned, I think the other day, that there were three plays down the field that you felt were very close. Obviously the one to Cruz you can barely count as a completion because of… and you mentioned one to Jernigan and another to Victor? Is that correct?
A: Yeah, one to Victor. I overthrew Victor over the middle on second down, a second down call. It would have been a good play, so that is 100 percent on me. I have to bring it down and hit an open guy.

Q: There were two to Jernigan. Which one was the one…?
A: The second one, I thought, you know, kind of… he had a step on him so I have to put it, make it a catchable play. We’ve got to hit that play.

Q: I appreciate that you want just general improvement across the board but what is the absolutely one top priority that has to improve for this offense to get going? More than other things.
A: I really don’t think there’s just one thing. I think we’ve got to start playing together and everybody doing their assignments. Just get in a great rhythm for the offense and what we need to do. I think it’s just a matter of… we’re doing good things in practice. We’ve just got to… it seems like there are still mistakes and some things we’ve got to correct and practice as well. But the things we are doing well, we have to make sure those continue to carry over to the game.

Q: You talked about the overthrow to Victor, that one being one you sailed a little bit. There were a couple others that seemed to be off target. How much of these were you just missing on some throws and how much was it maybe timing or guys just not completely being on the same page yet?
A: They had a couple pressures so we were in a bind. They were bringing guys that we weren’t accounting for, trying to throw it quick before the pressure got there. Those are the things I’ve got to do a better job seeing the pressures beforehand and getting us into better plays. They did a good job disguising some things so it’s just a matter of getting in some bad circumstances.

Q: Is it frustrating or encouraging that the third string and at some point the second string seems to be clicking a little bit with this offense? The system seems to be able to work.
A: Yeah, it’s always good that those guys, some young guys, are stepping up. The other groups were moving the ball and scoring points, so it was good to have some excitement and win the game. But that first group, we’ve got to get better. We have to perform better and start doing our jobs.

Q: Do you think that because they’re so new in the league generally, that it’s easier for them to adapt to the new system and maybe you guys are a little more used to other ways?
A: I think we have enough new guys where it’s not the system, it’s just the execution. There’s opportunities there, we’ve got to make some plays and we’ve got to do a better job with some other things to give us a better opportunity to make the plays.

Q: Was that the best, do you think, that Ryan has played in the limited opportunities that he’s had?
A: He played well, had a couple big drives. Had a big two-minute drive to drive down and win the fame, fourth and 16, a couple other plays. It was good. He played well, seemed to have a good rhythm and stepped up in that situation, being down, and scoring, so that was good for him.

Q: He’s obviously a different style of quarterback than you are. Do you guys, schematically, are you doing the same thing when he’s in the game as when you’re in the game?
A: As far as I know, yes. That’s kind of more of a question for coach McAdoo, but yeah, I feel like he’s still going to run the offense, there are no special plays that he has that aren’t in for me.

Q: What kind of advice do you give him when it comes to… he was playing with the second team, went down to the third team last week. What do you tell him when that stuff happens?
A: I wouldn’t talk about that. Each guy is learning the offense, we’re all in there together trying to help each other out, trying to talk about reads or talk about decisions within the offense. We’re all supporting each other.

Q: Do you think you can make dramatic progress in three days of practice?
A: Well, it’s not just three days, but yeah, we can make progress. We’ve gotten better each week in practice and doing things, we’ve just got to carry that over to the game. We’re going to keep getting a better feel for all the nuances of the offense and tweaking things so we’ll be in a better place to make some plays.

Q: When the season rolls around, will you be game planning a lot more so that things could be very different?
A: Yeah, even this week we’ll game plan a little bit more. The other weeks you kind of have one day where you’re looking at the opposing defense and you’re really just trying to run your base plays. Even this week we’ll be kind of looking at the Jets all week, practicing plays that are designed to go in with certain personnel. Hopefully that will help some. Really it’s just a matter of winning our individual battles and playing smart football.

Q: If the improvement or the progress isn’t made this week, are you opposed to playing in that final game? What are your thoughts on playing in that final game?
A: That’s for coach Coughlin, so we’ll worry about this week and worry about going against a good defense and a good team in the Jets. It will be a good challenge for us and see where we stand.

Q: With the installation of this offense, at this point in time, are you behind or right around where you expected to be or ahead?
A: I feel good about what we’re understanding in the offense. I think now it’s just a matter of taking that next step and knowing, ‘OK, here’s the play call. How do you get the better plays or concepts based on what the defense is doing?’ Just playing the game faster and thinking everything through.

Q: You’re able to realize why people are a little freaked out about the preseason and the offense so far. You seem very calm and confident.
A: I don’t think we’ve ever been a great preseason team, as far as I remember. I know how things are going in practice and what we’re capable of doing. We’ve got improvements to do, but we’ve got a little time and we’re going to keep working on those things. I’ve seen progress over these weeks in practice and some of these concepts we’re getting better at, we’re getting a better feel for these things, better timing for everything. We’ll continue working on those.

Head Coach Tom Coughlin

Q: Did Beckham aggravate his hamstring?
A: Not that I could tell, why?

Q: It looked like he came up short at some point.
A: No, I didn’t see that. I hope that’s not true.

Pat: Jerry talked to him, he said he’s fine.
TC: No, why would you do that? Why would I need information like that? Who else wants to talk about injuries?

Q: Do you think that having Ryan Nassib in a two-minute situation maybe allowed him to play a little bit more freely than he has in the past and maybe not worry about as much?
A: I doubt it. I think Ryan didn’t like what he saw the week before. I think he worked harder. I think he prepared in his own mind for what he was going to see and what he would call if he did see it. The calls came from the bench anyway. The up tempo thing, the thing I thought he did which really helped us, which we don’t have much of, is the quarterback starting to move sometimes and many times the threat of him coming out of there. So all you have to do is look at the other team, including Hasselbeck running up the sideline, 38 years old running up the field. That’s all you have to do, see it and know what that does to a defense if the quarterback can run. I think all those things helped.

Q: Did you see some or all or part of what you wanted to see today?
A: You’re out here, you have some good and you have some bad. The defense wins a play, the offense wins a play. I think the idea of them practicing with purpose and realizing what an excellent opportunity this is because when you win a game and the ones play like that and you come back out on the field and everybody understands that it wasn’t the way it should be, I think there will be, hopefully there’s great incentive and a sense of urgency about… we’re running out of time here for us to play well. That’s what I’m thinking.

Q: It is early in the preseason but even Victor Cruz said he thinks that guys got your message. Is it too early for you to establish that veteran leadership in the locker room that gets that communication through?
A: Never, never. Are you kidding me? I would hope it was there the first day we were here. There’s a lot of messages that go out. There’s not just one message so there are plenty of messages. Hopefully some of them, they do grab ahold of. I certainly hope this is one of them.

Q: We saw Geoff Schwartz running with the second team a little bit.
A: We mix them in and out.

Q: And Richburg with the first.
A: You’ve seen that before. How many times do we have to talk about this? Richburg has played left guard, he played right guard. He did that the other night. Schwartz has played left guard, Mosley’s played right guard. There are a lot of different combinations. There’s nothing to that. Guys are going to play. We’re trying to figure out who is on the team. Different combinations are good.

Q: Is there a point in the summer where you have to look at your unit and stick with it? Because last year you made a point of saying, ‘I want the five and I’m going to go forward.’
A: Well pretty much we’ve played like that, with the exception of the other night. I like to just keep trying to find the combination that’s the best combination. We’ve got a couple weeks to do that.

Q: We’ve talked about a lot of the young receivers who are making plays. Is Jerrel Jernigan? He had a good end of the season, has that carried over into this training camp at all?
A: Not necessarily. He’s had days when he’s done very well and he’s had days when he hasn’t. I don’t mind saying the other night… he did run by the defender, if he caught the ball, it certainly would have helped us. That’s a continuous battle right now to sort that thing out. Who’s going to be the playmakers? Who are they?

Q: Prince Amukamara said he didn’t have to have the MRI today. Was that a good sign? Was that good news that you got from his visit today?
A: Well, I think. I don’t know how good it is to have a corner with a strained groin but he walked out here in pads. That told me something about where his mind is. He wants to get back out here and get going. Hopefully that will happen sooner than later.

Q: It seemed like the defensive line did a good job of collapsing the pocket the other night but too often the quarterback wasn’t there anymore.
A: I don’t know if it’s ‘too often.’ He stepped up in there and there were some times we hit him. He’s not going down. I mean, the quarterback’s 240 pounds. We’ve got to get to him and certainly you’ve got to put him down. It happened but it didn’t happen quite as much as you’d like.

Q: I know you hate this question but I’m going to ask you about the injuries. You didn’t tell us anything about Kellen Davis or James Brewer.
A: I was keeping that from you. Davis just has some kind of an Achilles strain or something that’s sore, tendonitis, something of that nature. I expect him back. I expect Brewer back, too.

Q: What was Brewer?
A: I can’t tell you that. Brewer, his back is bothering him, so they held him.

Q: This was your second year to be able to have training camp at home. What did you find to be the biggest advantages to being able to do all the stuff here?
A: Well, we have three grass fields. We teach and coach in our own building. Our offices are right above our meeting rooms. The preparation for our meetings is streamlined and efficient, and we have a facility to go to if it’s inclement weather.

LB Jon Beason

Q: Are you on schedule for Monday night in Detroit?
A: Yeah, I think so. I feel pretty good. We’re just going through the progression. Today should be pretty aggressive, getting after it and doing some things based off of reaction as opposed to anticipation, which is what we do on defense.

Q: Do you need a week of practice to be ready or what?
A: I don’t know if I need the practice. It’s good to kind of spin the wheels a little bit, get out there and oiled up. I would love to have a full training camp and four dress rehearsals, or five dress rehearsals, but unfortunately that’s not going to be the case. Either way, I expect to go out and be myself and play well and help my team win.

Q: Have you gotten your orthotics right? I know that’s been a very tricky thing.
A: Yeah, you don’t realize how important your feet are, but it’s really everything, right? A little toe can slow you down going throw the process of getting the orthotics, making the adjustment – ‘oh that doesn’t feel too good, that feels too soft, that’s too rigid, how’s the tape job? We’re going to tape it this way, are we going to go to a bigger cleat, a smaller cleat, is the toe box too wide, is it too narrow?’ – we’ve been playing with it and trying to come up with the perfect equation of what’s going to help me play on the field and we’re getting really close.

Q: It’s not there yet, though?
A: I think so. Today I think we got it down. We’re going to go out and do some stuff and see how it feels.

Q: Are you using a bigger cleat to fit everything in there?
A: I am. Yes, exactly.

Q: Do you surprise yourself sometimes? You came back from some pretty serious stuff in the past and you were out there a week ago; we saw you cutting and running already. Are you amazed by what your body is able to do as far as being resilient to those kinds of things?
A: I think first it starts off mentally. You have to have confidence in the surgeon and you have to listen to the people around you who know best about what’s going to happen when you get out on the field. But for me personally, I know what I’m capable of in terms of the way I move, how I react, the agility side of it, how fast I can do something. To everyone else, it might look great. To me, I might say, ‘hey I’m a little hobbled there, I should be faster, I should be in better shape, I should’ve made that play’ so you do a good job of covering up. Obviously when you get older, you get smarter. The game slows down for you. Pre-snap stuff like, ‘okay, what’s the personnel, down and distance? Okay this guy is cheating here, look at this split’ and then you know the play or there’s a good probability that it’s that play, so you cheat to it. It’s not cheating, but you recognize it. Whereas if you’re younger and you’re super fast, you might be out of position, but then because you’re in good shape, you kind of make up for it. You want to get to a point where you’re feeling really good, you’re really explosive, you’re in great shape, but then the mental game really picks up and now you’re playing at a really high level, really consistently.

Q: I’m sure, as is always the case, the trainers and the medical staff have the final say as to when you get on the field. We know that. But how close do you believe you are right now, in your mind, to being able to go out and play.
A: I feel like I’m really close, but I have to go out and do it and I want to test it. That’s going to confirm it for me. Obviously, we play a lot of games on turf. Turf is more rigid than grass, and we practice on grass so, it’s going to feel really good on grass. My opinion is we should only play football on grass. You do yourself a huge service later on with the joints and all that stuff, and you can play longer. But financially it’s smart to play on turf, right?

Safety Anrel Rolle


Q: Obviously there’s a lot of handwringing going on with the offense. I know you said on Saturday that you weren’t too happy with the way the defense played; there’s still room for improvement. Where do you guys need to get better?
A: I think in all phases of the game. You always need to get better each week, no matter how you perform, good or bad. I don’t think we performed poorly; I just don’t think we executed at certain times. More importantly, I don’t think we got off the field when we should have, in particular on third downs. That’s why it’s preseason. You work to get better and work to gel together and fix all the mistakes that you possibly can before the season starts.

Q: I know the rules are the rules and you have to play within the confines of them, but how much of an adjustment has it been, especially for the DBs, to kind of change up what you’ve been doing all these years, especially someone in your case whose been in the league for so long. How hard has that been to adjust to get within the parameters of the rules?
A: Once you understand that right now there is a very, very fine line as to what they will allow and what they won’t allow, you just have to work it. You’re going to get the call from time to time, but that’s when you’re going to understand and know how far you can push it. For the most part, you just have to go out there and play technique and just trust the guy beside you.

Q: Does the technique change though?
A: Yeah, the technique does change at the point where maybe you can’t be as physical or can’t even feel the receivers as much. I think it’s already an offensive league. I guess now they want to see more points scored than ever. I guess you just have to go out there and make the best of it. You can’t let it offset your game, especially throughout the course of a season.

Q: You knew obviously that the rule changes were coming, but with that said, have you studied more? What have you done to adjust for that?
A: For me personally, I haven’t done anything at all to make the adjustment. I feel like they’re going to call what they’re going to call and whatever I get away with, I’ll get away it. I’m not going to let it alter my game at all. If they happen to make the call, we live, we line up and play again.

Q: How do you guys get by without Price [Amukamara] if he’s going to miss any time?
A: I’m not even sure what’s going on with Prince, so I can’t really go in on that too deep. But we have guys that are willing to step in and handle the game if Prince can’t go or handle whatever role there is for them to play at the moment. Hopefully he’ll be back with us in no time. Prince is doing a phenomenal job here in camp and throughout the course of this preseason, so hopefully it’s minor. I really don’t know what’s going on.

Q: You guys are probably better prepared though to replace a starter in the secondary than you have been in previous years.
A: Absolutely, I think the depth we have at the cornerback position is awesome and guys are competing each and every day, fighting for those spots. May the best man win. I’m looking forward to the times, looking forward to seeing who will step up next and be that dominant guy.

OT Justin Pugh

Q: How was frustrating was it watching Saturday night’s performance?
A: Definitely frustrating. From a personal standpoint, I didn’t play as well as I should’ve played. I had some plays that I should’ve made, on a sack I shouldn’t have had is inexcusable. Definitely learning from that is going to be huge. I am happy that it happened now, obviously so that I can learn from it and just take technique things I need to work on. As a unit, we have to run the ball better to start the game like that. We have to give the running backs a chance; I definitely put that on us as an offensive line.

Q: Was that tough on that sack? It was almost like you were picked in a way. Like someone was in front of you.
A: Yeah, I saw it coming. Eli made the right call, I should’ve come down, I should’ve blocked him. Honestly, I thought he was going to work out and contain. So I kind of hedged my bet and obviously made the wrong decision. That hurts and you never want to see your quarterback down. So learn from it and get better. I am excited for this week because very similar defense, very similar, obviously Chuck Pagano, Rex Ryan coming from Baltimore. I am excited to get out there, I can’t wait until practice today.

Q: Everyone has said they didn’t play well. Was that your sense?
A: I feel like we may have let one play affect the next play. It was 10 guys getting the play right and maybe one guy having a misstep. As for yourself, you have to make sure that is not you and everyone takes that mentality and we have all 11 guys on the same page. There were a couple where if we just had another foot, or just stayed on that block a second longer. That’s the mentality we are going to have to start here in practice and we have been getting better at it. Unfortunately we took that step backwards.

Q: Is there a big difference between the checks and calls you made last year and this year? I know the verbiage is different, but is the way that you do it a lot different?
A: In the run game, it is a lot different. I think in pass protection we have to make sure we get up there, get on the ball, and give Eli time to look at the defense and make the corrections we need to make. It’s not too much different, it’s just all of us getting on the same page and making the calls.

Q: When you look at the offense the past two games, the first team offense has not really been smooth. Are you saying you are close or are you saying you need to really pick it up?
A: I think in the first two games, there were some points in the games that were like, ‘hey, if we can just be on the same page, we are going to be alright.’ We saw how close we were and I think this past week, to step back, we really have to make sure we get back to where we were and beyond those first two games. Make sure we are putting together drives, getting first downs. Our mentality is just getting that first first down out of the way and then things kind of relax and you calm down. I think this is a big week for us, and the first unit can learn a thing or two from the second and third teams who went out there and they played great, so hats off to them.

Q: You can sense that people on the outside are really wondering and upset. There is a new offense; they watched the last couple of games.
A: Of course, you are having three and outs, one yard runs where you want to have those three or four yards runs, then that builds. So I can definitely see what the frustration is, I see what we see on film. There are corrections that need to be made and when we make those corrections. we are going to be alright. I’ve got faith in these guys in this room and I know the type of mentality that we have. Everyone is going to come to work and I know this is going to be a good week for us and we are going to expect to play well on Friday.

Q: Are you looking at this as the last real opportunity to establish something before the regular season?
A: No, I think we have two games to go. I am going in with the mentality that we have to play well in both of these games. We have to play well this week and I never want to get ahead of myself. I just want to really go out there and, as an offensive unit, play well, put together drives, and have that good feeling in our stomach.

Q: Were you guys especially vanilla considering that you play Indianapolis in the regular season? Was there an effort to really not show anything?
A: I have no idea. That is something you have to talk to coach about. What is great about it is we get to play Indianapolis again. I am excited to go out there and play those guys again because I definitely have something to prove to Indianapolis. We are going to get a second crack at it.

Q: Do you sense that Weston Richburg has been working and working to wait for that moment?
A: He definitely has been working hard and I think the way we are is the best five guys are going to go out there. I don’t think it is a set five right now that you can say, “hey, these are the five guys that we are going to have.” If you are not playing well enough and someone behind you is playing better, they should get the opportunity to play. That is going to bring out the best in everybody and Weston Richburg has to keep working hard. Last year, it was kind of the same way, I talked to Chris Snee about it for a while. He was given the opportunity to play when he was young and I was given the opportunity to play right away. I necessarily didn’t deserve it. David Diehl went down and I had to play. With that mentality, you have to go out there and earn it. They gave you that spot for a reason. I was a first round pick, Weston Richburg was a second round pick. When you go out there you have to earn that right to be out there and playing. Obviously getting in the position because of where I was at and the injuries, but at the end of the day, the best five guys are going to be out there playing, it doesn’t matter

OL Weston Richburg

Q: Is there any difference in left guard and right guard in this offense that you’ve seen?
A: Left hand down on the left side and right hand down on the right side. You run the same plays on both sides. One play you’re on one side if you’re the left guard, same play you’re on the back side. So you just have to be aware if you’re on the front side or the back side.

Q: Do you feel more natural, if someone wakes you up in the middle of the night and says play the guard, with which hand you’re putting down?
A: I’m right-handed, but that has nothing to do with getting in a stance I’m comfortable in. Either way.

Q: How would you grade your progression so far? Is it what you expected after just three pro preseason games?
A: I’m my own toughest critic. I’m tough on myself. I’m happy with how I’ve done at guard. I just want to get better. I’m not going to be complacent. I’m always going to get better. I made some mistakes this last week at guard that I need to fix. I want to get better sooner as well.

Q: What does it say to your confidence and ability that you’ve already injected yourself into the competition for a starting spot? Sometimes rookies have to sit out almost a year like being redshirted.
A: That was my goal: to come in and compete. If you go to a team and don’t want to compete for a starting role, I think you’re cheating yourself. I want to be here, I want to be a player. I don’t want to be a guy that’s not playing. I want to contribute, be reliable, and be a guy that people can count on.

Q: I remember coach Pat Flaherty joking back in the spring that of course he would put you at guard because he didn’t want guys standing next to him. Did you know even then that you would be in the mix for the three spots?
A: Coming in to compete for a job, I wasn’t thinking of it as this is to keep me from standing on the sidelines at practice. When I go in, I’m going to try to get better and compete for that spot.

Q: How would you say your snaps have been divvied up between the three spots?
A: Honestly, there’s really no method to the madness at all. I played right guard, played left, played center, sat out a couple of series and went back in at center. I don’t think there’s any specific percentages each position is getting right now.

Q: You never had a problem lining up or in the huddle…
A: Nope.

Q: I may be presumptuous; it sounded like Coach was hinting there could be a change in the starting line this week. Have you gotten that indication and is it cool with you that you have one spot you can concentrate on as opposed [to both]?
A: I haven’t. I don’t have any indication whatsoever. Like I said, I’m going in playing where they want me to play. When I’m at that position, focus on that position fully, and don’t think about anything else. Like I said, whatever happens, happens. Wherever they put me, I’m happy to be there. Once the season comes, if they do single me in that spot, I’ll put 100% effort into making that spot.