Feb. 16, 2012
SAN DIEGO -
Head Football Coach Rocky Long
"Spring practice is getting ready to start next Tuesday. In the big scheme of things, it's awful early but we can do that because of the good weather we have here. The other reason for doing that is that it gives us a longer period of time after spring practice is over to go into off-season workouts and if we get somebody hurt during spring practice, there is enough time for them to get healed up and ready to go by camp in August. We'll have quite a few guys out of spring practice this year who will not be able to practice because of injuries. That kind of shows you the number of injuries last season that guys were playing with. There are five guys on offense who won't practice this spring. There are eight guys on defense who won't practice this spring. All but one has played a lot of football here. What that will allow us to do is give a lot of young guys a lot of reps and they will hopefully develop so we have a good football team next year."
On being worried about any positions going into this season:
"I'm not worried. We have to get better on the offensive line because we're going to have a lot of young guys playing. We have to get better on the defensive line because we'll have a lot of young guys playing. I'm excited about the competition that there is going to be at quarterback. I'm excited to watch that. There are only a couple of guys who are going to miss spring practice that it's going to hurt (them). Most of them have played enough football that it's probably good that they're going to get healed up and be good by August."
On freshmen who have enrolled and can practice:
"We've had three true freshmen already enrolled. Linebacker Ryan Jack won't practice in the spring. That's why we greyshirted him, because he hurt his knee. He's five months post a knee injury and it's supposedly a seven to nine month recovery time so he's not going (to practice). Micah Seau will practice this spring and Matt Morin will practice this spring. Those are the three true freshmen who enrolled in January."
On the six guys to fill the quarterback position:
"They're all going to be quarterbacks. Any switching of position from quarterback is down the line quite a ways. The quarterbacks we've recruited here lately are really good athletes who could play someplace else if they can't make it at quarterback. I don't want to give anybody the impression that those kids didn't come here to be a quarterback, every one of them came here to be a quarterback."
On the offensive line:
"We have three starters coming back, two who started (the whole season) and one who started in one game. You're counting on two guys who haven't started before and haven't played before. We moved Bryce Quigley from tight end to offensive tackle. He's played a lot of football, but he hasn't played offensive tackle. I don't know if you count him as an experienced guy or not. He probably doesn't count as an experienced guy. Our two most veteran offensive linemen are not practicing this spring. (Nik) Embernate and Alec Johnson are not going to practice this spring. That gives those young guys a chance to get a lot of reps in and improve this spring."
On spring ball being enough time to integrate USC transfer and wideout Brice Butler:
"I don't think any of those veteran guys who transferred in will have any problem. Those guys who have been in college for four years, practicing at this level for four years, Ryan Katz and Brice Butler won't have any problem picking up the system. The true freshmen will be lost. The difference between high school and college then college and professional is amazing in what they have to learn. Those true freshmen who are going to be here are going to be lost. Half the time, they won't even be lined up right."
On the wide receiver group:
"I think our wide receiver group is potentially the best group that we have because the guys that played last year are back and we have some freshmen who we redshirted who are very talented. We also have a transfer who is going to be out there competing. Going into the spring if you just look at the depth chart, we have 10 wide receivers and five tight ends going into spring ball. We have a total of 10 offensive linemen who are going to practice this spring. The receivers outnumber the offensive linemen and there's only going to be three receivers out there when there are five offensive linemen. That's our deepest position and if you look at the talent level, it's probably our best position on offense. (It's ironic that it) may have been our worst position last year on offense."
On if having many wide receivers helps the quarterbacks in spring ball:
It helps to have that many wide receivers, because we have so many arms throwing. The wide receivers won't wear themselves out and every quarterback gets the chance to prove that he can do it because there are enough guys to throw to. `Does that make you a better football team next year?' No, because in August you have to get down to two quarterbacks who throw to first and second-string wide receivers so they get their timing down. It's good though that there's so many wide receivers for spring ball so the quarterbacks can get a chance to prove they can play."