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April 16, 2012General Statement
The first thing is we had good weather. The weather last two years has been pretty miserable, so it was a great day. The sun was out; we had the kid's clinic beforehand. We had a lot of young people here and our players had a chance to work them. That's a great lesson for our players; to just get around young people and see the type of impact they have on people.
As far as the game, you generally limit what you do on offense and defense in these games. Our players drafted the teams, which was pretty neat. It was the first year we have ever done that. We divided the coaches and the coaches drafted the seniors and then the seniors drafted the rest of the team without the coaches' help. They had to put together a roster, you know get a quarterback, get a kicker and get an offensive and defensive line, so I think it was good for them to feel that side of football. I thought they did a good job. I thought our players worked extremely hard out here. I thought they played hard and they had fun. We saw some people make some plays, with people in the stands and coaches off the field. I thought it was an exclamation point of spring practice for us.
On the two-point conversation attempt on the last play
We didn't plan that. Somebody told me "good job doing that", but I didn't have anything to do with it. But it really worked out great with both teams into it at the end like they were and having it come down to a two-point play was pretty neat.
On the defense
I'm not concerned. We held certain players out on defense. We limited what they could do. Also, we scored the game a little bit differently in the first quarter and a half or so, we gave points to the defense for things like turnovers and sacks. Our defense has had a tremendous spring. Obviously, one day does not make the entire spring. There was days during the spring where they dominated our offense and there was days the offense had the better hand. I think when you're on a good football team, there is good give-and-take like that. But today, I think what you saw were guys made plays. You saw quarterbacks make throws into tight coverage and on days like that, the defense has to keep playing. On the Maroon team, they did keep playing and they had to play one more play and they did it.
On Ryan Radcliff
I thought he was good. I still have to look at the film. I was the "commissioner" today, so I was trying to make sure that the ball was spotted in the right place and all those types of things, so I didn't really watch him every play and critique him, but I know he played pretty solid. I know he moved his team. I think they had a good run game and they had a good mix of run and pass. I think Jerry Harris played very well for them and Zurlon Tipton played very well for that side. Ryan was very productive and very efficient today.
On the rest of the quarterbacks
I thought A.J. had a great drive and made a great throw and hit some other good plays when he was in there. He didn't play a whole bunch because Ryan was on his team. I thought Alex Niznak was superb. He made some really tight throws into coverage and continues to impress everybody. Cody Kater got in there a little bit too and he's still feeling his way around. He's not nearly as advanced as those other guys are with understanding the total package yet. So he's playing a little slower than those other guys, but he'll come around. He had some days in the last week of spring where you could really see his ability come out and I think we won't see the best of him until the fall when he's competing to push those other guys for their jobs.
On the growth of Alex Niznak
Unbelievable. It's like he's a different guy. Last year, we played in this game and he probably couldn't have told you which receiver was which on a formation. He was swimming. And now you see where he's at today. He's got a lot better command of everything and he plays with a lot of confidence.
On the running backs
Zurlon ran extremely hard. Anthony Garland had a couple of nice runs in there. We moved Tyler Lombardo. We did that some in the spring in some short yardage and red-zone situations. We handed him the ball and he ran extremely hard. I also thought our fullbacks blocked extremely well today too.
On Titus Davis
The best way that I can describe it is that in the fall he was a great athlete out there making catches. He's become a very, very talented wide receiver now. Mose Rison has done a great job with him. He's just much better at understanding splits, understanding releases, how to stem routes, how to get in and out of his breaks and really set people up in his routes. He's had a good spring. It's been really neat to watch him and Jahleel Addae and Lorenzo White compete every day and make each other better.
On the suspensions
They violated team rules and we'll make no further comment at this point about them.
On Jerry Harris
That's how he's played this spring. What you saw today is how he's been all spring. We've really challenged Jerry. He's been very inconsistent since we've been here. As you saw today, he's really talented and last year, he was the starter at the beginning of the season and he played very inconsistently and had some drops. To be quite honest with you, that's how Titus Davis, Courtney Williams and Jason Wilson got on the field last year because Jerry was kind of inconsistent and then those guys took off. We've really challenged Jerry that he has to play more consistently. When he has an opportunity to make a play, he has to catch the ball and he has to play with more confidence. And he's done that. If he can do those things, he's just as talented as anybody we have.
On the seven-game home schedule
Definitely excited. We've had five home games in each of our first two years and now we have seven. We have marquee teams like Michigan State and Navy, nationally prominent programs, that are coming to our stadium here. It's going to be great for our community, our fans and our alumni. I know our team is very excited to host those people. We also know what type of challenges come with those games. It's going to be a tremendous challenge to beat those football teams. Spring practice is just the next step for us to continue to build this program. We have to finish strong academically with exams and then have a great summer with our strength and conditioning program as we get ready for August.
On the "Team Mac" t-shirt that he was wearing
It's for Logan MacGregor. He is a young man that lives in our community here. He's 12 years old and he started his chemotherapy yesterday at the Mayo Clinic. Myself and some of our players have had a chance to interact with him and his family. There just unbelievable people and we draw strength from watching people go through that type of adversity and the way they handle it. He's an outstanding young man and he's a big Chippewa fan. Some of the players have these t-shirts too and we just wanted to wear them today. We're praying for him and his family and we wish him all the best.
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