Offensive coordinator Mike Sanford talks about the offense heading into fall camp.
On the Quarterbacks:
When we started out, there was a big change in Teddy Bridgewater from the begining of spring practice to the end of spring ball. Teddy was overwhelmed by a new system and terminology. Just being in college, he was mentally and emotionally still in high school, but physically, he was still already in college. It was a little overwhelming still. The speed of the game was an adjustment for him. As spring went on, he got better and better. I really liked what I saw from him this spring. I love his attitude. He is a hardworking guy. He cares about all the mental things you need to know at quarterback. He wants to understand what everyone does. He progressed as spring went on.
Will Stein has been in the program. He has played before. He played last year and started some in 2009. He has some seasoning to him. He is very confident. In his mind, he believes he is the best and no one is going to beat him out. It creates an interesting scenario. I think because of the experience factor, Stein was ahead of Teddy coming out of spring ball. Teddy has had a good off-season. He has gotten bigger and stronger, and by just watching him around here, he is a different guy. I know one thing, we are going to play them both. How that works, I don’t know. What the recipe for that is, I don’t know, but both guys will play. We will see how training camp goes, and how the season goes, and then go from there. We are gonna play the guy the most that gives us the best chance to win.
On the Challenge of Getting Two Quarterbacks Ready
It’s interesting. Last year we had a battle between Justin Burke and Adam Froman. We had Froman become our starter coming out of camp. However, we made a decision that Froman was going to be the starter, but during the season we played Burke in games. That played off, because Froman went down and Burke went in, and we didn’t miss a beat because he played in games. Burke went in and won the Syracuse game. In college football today, you can’t just get one guy ready, you ideally need to have three guys ready, but definitely need two. We want to have both ready to play. We feel both have strong characteristics as players and a lot of strengths. We want to utilize them, and only way to do that is to play them.
On Who is Going to Be Involved in the Decision
I would say its going to be one of those evolving decisions. It won’t be one guy. Coach Strong is the head coach and will be heavily involved. Quarterbacks coach Shawn Watson and myself will also be involved. All of us are going to be involved in that decision at some point. It will develop in training camp, and as the season goes on as far as how it works itself out. We just have to wait and see how it works itself out. We want to have flexibility to have both develop.
On Splitting Repititions
I think in training camp we are going to try and give them equal reps as we can. I think it’s open competition with us going into training camp. That’s how I feel right now.
On how much Information was thrown at the Quarterbacks in the Spring
I think just the way we handled things this spring practice was good. We didn’t throw everything at them at once. We brought them along slowly and not give them too many things. We developed them, and Teddy, so he didn’t overload. We do want to go slow because we want to build confidence and because we have to have two guys ready to play.
On Teddy Bridgewater Gaining Weight and Strength
We have a good off-season program. Our entire team is back in summer school so he has been working out and eating well. He is just growing up. He is a young guy. When your metabolism is high, you just don’t gain weight. But with him lifting and being involved in the training program and just eating, it been a positive thing for him in his development.
On the Running Backs
Jeremy Wright is recovering from an off-season injury in the spring . He isn’t completely recovered. He will be full speed this summer. Victor Anderson is the oldest and most epereinced guy. We feel he had a very good spring. I’m excited to have the two of them. At running back, you have to have two or three players. Basically, those two are a really good compliment to one another. Bilal was a big loss, but we do feel good about those two guys. We expect good things. We are going to be young in the offensive line, but we expect really good things from both players. Vic has been banged up his sophomore and junior years. He made it through spring practice. Ideally, we want to see him stay healthy. He runs hard. I think with a guy like him, there is sometimes when you can run over people, but sometimes you need to try and make them miss.
On the Offensive Line
We have some positions up in the air. Mario Benavides is at center. Alex Kupper will play one of the positions, we don’t know which one yet. Ryan Kessling will play at right tackle, and probably Jake Smith at a guard, but we are looking for the fifth guy.
On Wide Receivers
Josh Bellamy had a good spring. Andrell Smith, who played a lot last year, missed all spring with a back injury. We expect him to be healthy. Michaelee Harris came here from Miami and was highly thought of, but missed the year with an injury, and then the entire spring with an injury, but will be back in the fall. Those are the top three. Josh Chichester, who was a hybrid for us, will play tight end. That doesn’t mean he will always be lined up tight, but he will be there. We also expect Stephon Ball and Nate Nord to be big contributors for us at the tight end spot.
True Freshman Who Might See Action
A wide receiver from Louisville, Devante Parker, will have a chance to contribute. Eli Rogers, who isn’t here yet, but will be here in July, would likely get a chance. All of our guys are pretty much here, but Eli is a guy who can contribute. There is a chance, not in a starting role, but some of our offensive lineman might have a chance to contribute. John Miller and Ryan Mack are two guys who can contribute.
On Question Marks on Offense
I think in general, there are question marks when you look at our offense. We don’t have an experienced and established quarterback. We lost a lot on the offensive line. We are basically going to have four new guys on the offensive line. We don’t believe in excuses. We have high expectations for our players and this offense. We aren’t going to take a step backward and lower our expectations. We want to be the best we can be, and be better than we were last year.