Aug. 7, 2007
Head Coach Bobby Bowden
“We did something today different than we have done before – that is divide our squad in half – taking half of them out in the morning; mostly ones and twos and practice them – and we’ll come back this afternoon with the threes and fours – the freshmen – and go through the same practice. How long we will do that, I don’t know. That’s what we are doing that and that’s why it’s a little bit different. That’s why you don’t see a lot of kids out here.”
Why divide practice that way?
“We feel like you can give them a little bit more attention. Usually you bring them all in at one time – and we will have to do that eventually – the freshmen get kind of left out. We thought this way you could get more coaching in with the ones and twos and then bring the freshmen out and spend more time with them; give them more attention. That’s the idea behind it. I don’t know how long can do it because it does make you mighty thin. We had some boys – the heat got to them today and were not able to finish practice. That means you were light at a couple of positions.
Is dividing the team also a motivating decision?
“If it happens that way it just happens that way. We didn’t plan it that way.”
On the team motto – Bad To The Bone
“Bad to the bone – self explanatory.”
On the continued maturation of the quarterbacks
“How can you tell? First day out there in shorts. I just saw them do a lot of things. I would think it’s an entirely normal first practice. It’s mighty hot.”
On the status of Dumaka Atkins
“Dumaka can’t go right now. I don’t know how long it will be. (John) Frady is the same way. (Matt) Hardrick is dismissed from the squad for violating team rules. Jae Thaxton has not been cleared and I don’t know if he’ll be cleared because of his concussions.”
On the members of the freshmen class being cleared
“I think we are pretty much – we might have some not physically cleared – checking their hearts and checking things like that. I think the academic part – we know where we stand.”
The advantage of dividing the practices
“The plus side is that they get more individual attention. Instead of their coaching and there be five guys on the line – there is two guys on the line. We they go in and these others come out they get more individual attention. I think the whole thing is individual attention. We won’t continue to do it because we don’t have enough guys.”
What are the most pressing positions still to be decided?
“I think tight end and fullback are kind of thin. We only had two (tight ends) out there today and the heat got both of them. All of a sudden you don’t have any tight ends. Fullbacks – we don’t have any fullbacks – that’s the way football is now-a-days anyway. You start playing three wide outs and the tight end comes out of the game – or the fullback comes out of the game. I guess it’s kind of normal.”
Junior Quarterback Drew Weatherford
“We have come along way but there is definitely a next step that we have to take. I think we took a step in the spring, we took another step over the summer. There is still another level we need to get to when it comes to just mental toughness and every aspect of the game. I can definitely see a difference now when it comes to our conditioning over the summer. We had to run 26 110’s – we finished running 16 and everybody made they’re times and that’s never happened since I’ve been here. We will really be able to test out strength when we get the pads on and everybody is pushing each other around. So far, so good.”
On competing against Xavier Lee
“We both make each other better. I am looking forward to the competition and I sure he is a well.”
Junior Running Back Antone Smith
“The summer was pretty tough for us. We had to come out here and work hard every day. Once we got up to 26 110’s and in recent years we really didn’t do that – we got up to 14 or 16 — which was kind of killing us. Now we are running 26 without a problem. For me it was the conditioning part to get ready for the sun. I’m tired a little bit but overall I feel pretty good.”
What do you need to do for the team to be successful?
“I’m trying to be the total package – blocking, running the ball and catching out of the backfield. That all just comes as my job of being g a running back.”
Sophomore Rover Myron Rolle
“We made progress. We only had two groups out here so it was a lot of work and a lot of reps that we were able to get. I think we are just going up. Tomorrow we should build upon what we did today.”
On being a Thorpe Award candidate
“The Thorpe Award is something that I always wanted to win. If it happens this year; if it happens next year – that’s not important. What’s important is that I play to my abilities and don’t really let the pressure get to me. It was one of my goals coming into college. I wanted to do as much as I could and be the best defensive back in the country. If you strive for the highest then if you miss you are going to get pretty close. I want to keep my goals in focus but also keep this team a priority and our team goals – to put them first.”
Sophomore linebacker Marcus Ball
On if he feels confident in his knee after last season’s surgery:
“I am not concerned about that. I feel stronger than I did before. The testing shows that. I have been working hard at it, extra hard this summer. I am just happy to be out here and be back as a part of the team.”
On the strength of the linebackers despite the losses to the NFL draft
“Watch out! If (this group) comes as a surprise, then so be it. This is