April 6, 2011
Scott Kotick, Seminoles.com
How did the scrimmage go today?
EJ Manuel: It felt good, the weather was perfect, it just felt like a great day. Obviously it wasn’t perfect and we still made some mistakes, but I felt really in control of our offense. I think I managed the day pretty well considering what we had to deal with, with our defense, and I think we executed against those guys very well.
Coach Fisher said you moved on very well from one play to the next. Do you feel you’re grasping everything well?
EJ Manuel: Definitely, and I think that’s something you have to learn and grow from. When I was a freshman, I used to get so frustrated because I was used to doing well all the time. At this level, you’re going to make a mistake, because the defense is going to get the upper hand on you sometimes. In the game that’s going to happen, so being able to bounce back is everything, and I think we did that today.
How did the offensive line do?
EJ Manuel: I think they did great. I know a lot of guys are injured right now, so they have some guys in there that are inexperienced, but I think this is a great time for them to gain that experience. If they have to play in the summertime and in the fall when the season starts, I think they’ll step in and do a good job for us.
Is adjusting to a new center difficult for you? Is there an adjustment period?
EJ Manuel: I don’t think so, it’s just a matter of getting a couple of practice snaps before practice starts. Once you have it there, you should be good to go. You just have to hang in there, and wait for him to snap the ball to your hands. It’s as simple as that.
How did the defense look?
EJ Manuel: I think they looked great, they flew around really good and disguised coverages very well. That’s not something that surprised me with those guys, I know they’re going to go out there and compete. That’s one thing I pride both myself and my team on, but especially our defense. We tried to match that today, and I think we did that.
Have you seen growth from them since last fall?
EJ Manuel: Definitely from the fall. Those guys are out there talking, and I think that’s something they didn’t do a lot of last year. They’re out there communicating and talking, and that plays a part in a quarterback’s mind because now you know that the defense knows what they’re doing. It just goes a long way for those guys.
How nice was it to finally be on the field scrimmaging for the first time?
EJ Manuel: It was great to get out there and actually just play, and not just practice, which is an enduring kind of thing. Obviously we have to execute and not just go through the motions, but the scrimmage is like the next level to a game. It was fun, that’s the main thing I can say about today.
Anyone make plays out there for you today? Wide receivers, tight ends?
EJ Manuel: Bert (Reed) made some huge plays, Rodney Smith made some great plays, Jarred (Scooter) Haggins made some great plays, and I think those guys did a great job blocking downfield. That’s something that those guys didn’t do very well last year, but I think that’s something they’re going to be able to do this year on the perimeter. If we can stretch the field that way against the defense, that will go a long way for our offense.
Could you tell that the defensive ends were playing well against the patchwork offensive line?
EJ Manuel: Those guys are top grade defensive ends, and I think they’re going to do that even against the other lineman in our conference. I think the defensive tackles did a good job, Everett Dawkins and Amp McCloud, those guys did a great job as far as getting pressure. A lot of our offensive lineman are hurt right now, and when they come back in the summertime, I think they’ll hold their own. But they’re a great defense, they’re going to get to you sometimes, and you’re going to get to them sometimes.
Could you tell that there was any rust? This is the first live action you’ve seen in a long time.
EJ Manuel: To be honest, I think everyone was on point today. I didn’t really see a lot of rust from our team today as far as offense and defense. I think everything went like it should have. We made plays against those guys, they made plays against us, so it was pretty even.