From yesterday's show:
On holding summer camps and the current heat
It's good football weather, man. It's going really well. One of the things about camps is you get so see more of the younger guys. We had two Saturdays where it was predominantly seniors, and then last night we brought in the high school players -- the freshmen, sophomores and juniors. Wednesday, we get to bring in the little guys, the grade schoolers. And then Thursday and Friday we'll bring in the middle schoolers. So, it's really an enjoyable time for us.
On what he looks for when recruiting a quarterback
Well the first thing you always look at is how a young guy competes. I think that's one of the major things you have to be able to do as a quarterback. You also have to understand that there's a lot that goes on with the position. When things go well, you're going to get more credit than you deserve. When things don't go well, you're going to get more blame than you deserve. So you have to be a great competitor.
I like to really challenge them and see where their intelligence is; how they're going to be able to handle the other things outside of just throwing the football -- how you do with the protections, how you do with the running game, how do you do with changing a bad play into a good play. That's very, very important.
If three young players came up to a river and they all picked a rock and one threw it in and it plopped just off of the bank, and the next guy landed halfway across, then the third guy flew the rock all the way across the river -- that's the guy that you want to teach intelligence and competitiveness. That natural arm is something that's real special.
On the recoveries of Will Gardner and Corvin Lamb
They're both doing well. They're both ahead of schedule. Will's out throwing the ball right now, taking full drops. We're just limiting his ability to roll out and move and carry out fakes and things like that when he works out with the running backs.
Corvin's doing everything. He's changing directions, he's running full speed, he's out there with them when they throw, and he's catching the ball. He is wearing a knee brace right now, and that will be a decision between him and the medical staff before the opening game whether he plays with the knee brace on or doesn't.
On what the daily activities are like for the team right now
It's changed, we get to do what you do in the offseason now. So the players have a period of time where they're in the weightroom, and then they're conditioning, working on changing direction and quickness. Then they get to come in and watch video with their coaches for two hours a week. You get two hours of instruction a week. We get to go watch them do their change of direction and movement drills and see what we can teach them in football. And then there's the voluntary part of it where they can go out there on their own and throw the ball. Everything that we can observe and where we can be with them, there's no footballs there and no equipment available, but they do go out and throw on their own. So it's a pretty full day for them.
On the biggest difference between this tenure and his first stint at Louisville
Probably just being in the ACC conference and the competitiveness and the schedule and the teams we get to bring in each year to Papa John's Cardinal Stadium, the venues that our fans get to travel to and watch us play like they did last year. I think that's really exciting for us and it puts us in with a different group of recruits. So the main thing we're trying to do is just to get guys on campus, get them in and see what we have to offer. Any time we can get them on campus, we feel like we have a great chance to get them.
On Pete Nochta and his battle with Lymphoma
Well I got to know Pete a long time ago and I'm friends with his father. I recruited him here, signed him to play at the University of Louisville. He played tight end and did a great job during his career, not only as a football player, but as a student and as a member of the Cardinal community. Pete's a guy who makes friends with everybody he comes in contact with. Great recruiter and he has a big heart. I was able to hire him when I was at Western Kentucky, and then he came back up here as a graduate assistant who coached our tight ends. He did an excellent job and I can't say enough good things about him. Obviously he's going to go through a hard time right now, but he's got a great attitude. I talked to him on the phone last night and he's got a very positive attitude. Pete's a very special young man, and the qualities he possesses will help him beat this.
How much time are you devoting to Auburn right now?
Well what we do is we always look at three games. When we got back after recruiting and got back in the office, we've spent the majority of our time on Auburn, Houston and Clemson. Clemson's easy because they've got the same head coach, the same offense they're going to run, and they've got the same defensive coordinator. Houston's a little different because we're watching Utah State defense, because they hired the defensive coordinator from Utah State, and Ohio State offense. You have to watch that, and then you have to put on video of Houston to get a feel for their personnel. And then Auburn, we're watching Florida defense because of Coach Muschamp, and then Auburn's offense because it's going to be pretty similar, although he is going to throw it more since they have a throwing quarterback now and not a running quarterback. And then we are watching their spring game because it was on TV and we have a copy of that.
Are you expecting to have more of a "Bobby Petrino offense" this season?
Gosh I hope so. It would be nice to go out there and have everyone expect to score every time they go out on the field. But that's what we're striving for, that's what we're working for. We're going to get our players to believe that. We've got some work to do. We're going to be young on the offensive front. We don't know who our quarterback is yet, but eventually we'll get it there.
On what a Bobby Petrino offense is
We believe in multiple personnel groups and multiple formations. We have no problem lining up in the I-formation and running the rock straight downhill. A lot of teams never get to practice that, so there are going to be some games where that's huge for us because their team runs a spread offense, so when do they ever get to practice against that. That's one of the things we work hard on: allowing our defense to see schemes we're going to see, allowing our offense to see schemes we're going to see in practice. We like to mix it around. I've always liked to throw the ball. My mom asked me before every game, "are you going to open with the run or the pass?" And I just say, "what do you want, mom?" There's not one person that doesn't want you to open with a pass, right? I like opening with a pass, too. I believe you have to be exciting. It's great for the fans. We've gotta get some stars for everyone to identify with, because that helps a lot. But eventually, you run the ball to win the game.
How much will the freshmen class contribute this season?
I think we'll wait and see on that. I really like the class. They look good. When they walk in a room, they look like a group of kids that could help us win a national championship. But we've got guys now on our team that have been through it, understand what we have to do, so the freshmen are going to have to learn quickly and prove to themselves that they're ready to compete.
On growing up with a father who coaches football
It's something that I feel very fortunate about. I used to get out of school and be able to run three blocks and be on my dad's practice field. When football wasn't going on, I would be in the gym shooting hoops. It was a great way to grow up and something that I truly valued, and I feel like it was a very special way to share in my father's profession. I knew at a very young age that I was going to be a football coach. But I did spend my summers up in the mountains and the lakes where I could water ski and go fishing. So I got a break while my dad was working.
How does Auburn likely throwing the ball more this year change your defensive gameplan?
Yeah, it's different, there's no question about it. Coach Malzahn is a guy who's been very successful with running quarterbacks, guys who have been able to call running plays for themselves in situations. Jeremy Johnson's a true thrower, he's a pocket passer. He's a good one. He's got a great release and he's very accurate, but he'll be more of a standing target; he's not going to be that scrambling around, moving around guy. That'll allow us to tee off and rush the passer. We've gotta win the battle of the sticks in the early downs. if we can be great on first down and great on 2nd down and put the pressure on him to throw the ball -- we've got some guys who rush the passer pretty well. So hopefully we can get a lead and force them to throw the ball.