Strong Meets Media Before Spring Game

Here are some excerpts on head coach Charlie Strong’s press conference on Thursday afternoon

(On what is happening with the football program): “If you look at what’s been going on in our football program right now, we’re right in the middle of spring ball. There is a lot that is going to be written about our program. I said it earlier; a lot of things are going to be said about our program. When you look at it, two years ago we were picked to finish last. Last season, we were picked to finish last. For some reason this season, they picked us very high within our league. We still have a long ways to go. We’re nowhere near where we should be. We have a lot of work to do. If you look at this football team right now, we have nine seniors. So, leadership is going to be an issue. Where the leadership is going to come from? You look at (Will) Stein, you look at (Alex) Kupper, you look at Daniel Brown, you look at (Adrian) Bushell, you look at those guys. There are guys within our program, but there are nine seniors in this program.”

(On the season schedule): “We have a schedule that is going to be very demanding for us. With us moving the Kentucky game to Sunday, we have three weeks where they are going to be short weeks for us. We go play on a Sunday and then we come back and play Missouri State on that Saturday. Then, we come off and play South Florida and then we have a short week and have to come back and play Cincinnati on a Friday. Then, we go play UConn and we get four or five days and we have to go play Rutgers. What’s so important and why you need those days is all about preparation and our coaches getting prepared to go play. I know the TV is a big deal, but you have to understand the demands of our schedule and our coaches understand that. We go on the road. We play our last game here at home (North Carolina) and then we go on the road for a month. Then you end up playing two non-BCS games. You go to FIU and you go to Southern Miss – two non-BCS teams. Then, you get into your schedule with the BIG EAST. It is a demanding schedule. It is a schedule that has been placed there. We have to go play it and we have to get prepared to go play it. But, just to understand those three short weeks that we have to go get ready for. This is a football team that is just going through spring ball and we are beginning to find that identity within this program. So, we’re still searching for our identity because, like I said, leadership is going to be an issue. But, we still have to understand where we come from. It is a credit to our coaches and it’s a credit to our players to come so far in two years and, now all of a sudden, being picked to either win this league or be placed second in this league. It is a tremendous job that they have done. But still though, we are nowhere near where we should be. Then, just being an overall team – that is what you try to build in the spring practice with the fundamentals and technique. You want to become a football team and that is beginning to happen.”

(On the offense): “Offensively, we are balanced. We are run and pass. We are very balanced on offense. We want to go run the play action with the boots and we want to stretch the field in our passing game. We want to attack the open zones and get the ball in the hands of our playmakers.”

(On the defense): “On defense, we are very aggressive and very multiple. We will attack. We’re going to play man coverage and we’re going to blitz. That is just a part of us and that’s what’s going to happen. Now we have to find the guys that are going to go cover them, but we’re going to blitz.”

(On the kicking game and special teams): “Then in the kicking game, we have to be very aggressive. We have to find us a kicker. (Chris) Philpott was in our program, but he’s out now. We have to find us a kicker. We have to find guys that can go down the field and get off of blocks. Then we have to go and be able to block people in the return game.”

(On the three phases of the game): “Our special teams, the offense and the defense – it is all three phases that are very critical within the game. We know this; we have to work hard and make sure that when we decide to go play that all three phases are working together and playing together.”

(On the quarterbacks): “We have us an outstanding quarterback in Teddy Bridgewater. He is still young and he is still growing. Then, you have an adequate backup in Will Stein. Then, you have two players out there in the quarterback position that can take this football team and go lead it. Now just looking at us in spring practice, we are able to go out in spring practice and keep the flow of practice going and the tempo going because our quarterbacks are able to generate the offense.”

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