All-Star Weekend: Kyrie Irving Transcript

Kyrie Iriving, 22 year old All-Star for the Cleveland Cavs, will compete in his third 3 point contest tomorrow night. He talked about his team at his press conference today.

KYRIE IRVING: This is great. We’re learning from each other. Learning how to be great teammates. Learning how to be a leader with LeBron. Coming into my own.

Q. Is it different now going to work?
KYRIE IRVING: It’s a lot different. Not a lot of pressure on myself as I was doing last year. Coming to the basketball game and just playing it. Realizing I’m living my dream every day I wake up. We have some great players on our team that I have the chance to play with and I’m taking full advantage of it. Having fun.

Q. How has that fan support changed? Can you feel it from the year before to the season?
KYRIE IRVING: Absolutely. We go into some away places and sometimes it feels like a home game. Seeing a lot of Cleveland jerseys, a lot of Cleveland fans. I’m just thankful we have them around the world. But every time we play, we have to put our on our best performance. Everybody is watching. You want to be on that type of stage and enjoy playing the game.

Q. What’s the difference between the Cavs in the beginning of the season to now?
KYRIE IRVING: I think the biggest difference is just the trust factor in the simple fact that we’ve been around each other longer than we were when we first came to the team. Practices were great in the beginning of the season. The energy was high, but we still didn’t know one another. We just spent a lot of time with one another and being in the same locker room and going through the ups and downs and dealing with the scrutiny, and everyone taking shots at us and what we’re not doing and what we need to improve on brought us closer together. We knew what we had to improve on. That was on the defensive end. Went out and got some guys that are helping us out the. We’re a better team. We’re playing together and it starts with our defense.

Q. What’s it like to play with LeBron? And what kind of adjustment needs to be made by everyone as players?
KYRIE IRVING: It’s truly a luxury to be playing with a tremendous talent like him. He makes you better. He demands it out of you every single night. That’s what you want, playing at the highest level and kind of everybody watching you and what you do. That level right there as a basketball player is where you kind of make your mark and where you’re tested at. So everyone is coming at us every single night. You want to be one of those premiere teams in the league where you’re getting everyone’s best shot.

Q. Coming from this area, how important is it for you to play in an All-Star Game in New York City?

KYRIE IRVING: It’s great. It’s great. Great opportunity to put on a show for the fans. I remember watching the All-Star Game when Kobe, this was his first one, and he was playing against MJ. MJ won the MVP. I remember watching that game. Now that I’m actually going to get a chance to step on the floor and play with tremendous talents in this league, it’s truly a blessing.

Michelson Struggles Again, Misses Cut at the Farmers Insurance Open

Phil Mickelson won’t be around for the weekend of a PGA Tour event. He missed the cut again, joining Tiger Woods on the sideline Friday by failing to make the 36-hole cut at the Farmers Insurance Open. Mickelson shot even-par 72 on Torrey Pines’ North course to complete 36 holes at 2-over 146 to miss the projected cut by three strokes. He spoke following the round on Friday:

Q. The fans here are disappointed that they won’t see their hometown guy on the weekend. I know you’re disappointed about not playing the weekend as well. Even par round 72 on the North Course, it seems like you couldn’t get the steam going. How would you rate that round?
PHIL MICKELSON: It’s very frustrating for me right now. I felt really ready to start the year and these first few weeks have been very poor. I feel like I’m hitting the ball tee to green quite well, really well, but my putting is beyond pathetic and if I can’t get back to the levels of 2013, I’m not sure what I’m going to do, because this is very frustrating.

Q. Is it a technical thing, a mental thing that you’re dealing with on the greens right now or a combination of both?
PHIL MICKELSON: I’m not sure. My grip pressure is light, I feel the stroke is okay, it’s just I’m having a hard time getting the ball in the hole.

Q. You’re going to be away for the next couple of weeks, we’re going to he see you at the Honda Classic. Will you work a lot on your game or are you going to decompress with your family and get ready that way?
PHIL MICKELSON: Well I need some work, so I’ll have to find time to get, see if I can get this fixed. But right now I feel like it’s really isolated just to on the greens. I feel like the other areas are okay, but my putting is — you can’t compete when you putt like that.

Q. Do you have answers or are you — at all?
PHIL MICKELSON: Well, if I had answers I would be out there putting better, I would think.

Q. You said you felt good coming in. How disappointing is it?
PHIL MICKELSON: I tell you, I thought tee to green I played really well. About as well as I have in a long time. But you can’t compete out here putting the way I did. It was one of the worst putting performances and the first few weeks really have been the same way and you simply can’t compete at this level putting like that.

Q. Were you going back and forth with the putter grip?
PHIL MICKELSON: Just the last couple holes I did that, after I struggled for so many. But I don’t think that the claw’s the long-term solution, although I think it’s a good way to putt, but it’s not ultimately where I want to be. But I’m not sure what I’m going to do. It’s very frustrating to putt like that and feel like I’m — to hit the ball the way I did and then to putt like that, it’s frustrating.

Q. For a guy who is known over the years to be a very, very good putter, what, is it the fact that you get up there and think to yourself, I can’t do it anymore or I’m miss-hitting it, what goes wrong?
PHIL MICKELSON: I look up and the ball’s not going in the hole. I don’t know how else to say it. That’s got to change. So, I know I spent a lot of time in the off season with ball striking, with driving, with a lot of the areas that I’m doing well right now, primarily because I thought my putting was fine, I had putted phenomenal the last, all of 2013 and even the last few months of 2014. I felt that that wasn’t going to be an issue. But it is.

Q. Do you think it’s more — there was a stretch where you weren’t putting well last year, what happened there?
PHIL MICKELSON: Just going back to the way I always putted with kind of a closed face and extend to the target, just basic stuff that — I don’t know. It just seemed, it’s just not, putting’s never really been a problem for me. It’s, although I’ve had hot and cold stretches, it’s never been something I worried about. But last week and this week, that’s, it’s been not good.

Q. Do you think it’s more physical and mechanical or mental?
PHIL MICKELSON: It’s probably a little bit of both. It’s probably a little bit of fundamentals are off and then it creeps into confidence and it starts not you start not seeing ball go in, you start seeing it miss and so it will probably take a little bit of both to get it back on track.

I don’t know, but honestly I haven’t played well since the course has been redesigned. I’ve not won it, I’ve been very rarely in contention, it’s been a struggle for me since 2002 when it was redone. But I love playing this tournament, I love the golf course, in the sense that I grew up here and every time I come out here, it brings back great memories of me of walking outside the ropes with my dad and playing high school matches and all the memories that have been formed for me over the years of playing here. But since it’s been redone, I played it terribly and it’s been a challenge for me to get in contention here.

Q. How would you assess your mental attitude?

PHIL MICKELSON: A little bit — I’m down. I’m frustrated, I’m down, because I see other parts of my game do very well, but putting as bad as I have, it starts to creep in to some of the other areas too.

Q. Do you anticipate it being a quick fix?

PHIL MICKELSON: No, I don’t think it will be a quick fix, just because you putt bad for a few weeks, it’s going to take a little bit of good rounds, it will take some not only fundamental change, but it will take some good low rounds and some hot putting streaks to get confidence back, too.

Q. That being said, I think you said you’re going to be on vacation with your kids for a couple weeks and you’re going into Honda, what would your expectations be then?
PHIL MICKELSON: I don’t know.

Indy Car Racing: Herta and Chaves Discuss the Upcoming Season

It’s a new year and a new driver for Bryan Herta and his racing team. Par for the course; Herta Autosport has a habit of making huge changes every year. Alex Tagliani drove a Lotus powerplant for Herta in the team’s first season in 2012. A year later, Tagliani entered with a Honda engine. Jack Hawksworth drove last year. This year, Herta will have Gabby Chaves behind the wheel. Herta and Chaves spoke yesterday at an Indy Car press conference.

THE MODERATOR: Welcome, everyone, to today’s IndyCar conference call. Yesterday morning Bryan Herta Autosport announced that 2014 Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires champion Gabby Chaves will pilot its No. 98 Honda for the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series season.
We’re pleased to be joined today by Bryan Herta and his new driver Gabby Chaves.
Bryan, give us a little insight on how this agreement came about and what sort of impression you have of Gabby and your experience with him thus far.

BRYAN HERTA: I mean, obviously the impression was good. It really started with some conversations a few months back and evolved to agreeing to go do a test at Sebring in December to get to know each other. I’d say that went really well on and off the track. Gabby was highly recommended. Obviously his credentials in Indy Lights speak for themselves.
For us, we’ve seen from recent past that the guys who have been coming out of Indy Lights into IndyCar have been doing a great job. We had a good experience with Jack Hawksworth coming out of Indy Lights. Gabby was obviously right from day one a very competitive driver. It was just a case of how can we put a deal together.
We worked very hard to get everything together and we’re pleased to go racing together this season.
THE MODERATOR: You mentioned last year you ran another Indy Lights graduate Jack Hawksworth. As a former driver, is it becoming more and more important for you to support the up-and-coming talent in the series?
BRYAN HERTA: I think it’s important for the series. As a team owner, I have to take a narrower view. Frankly, it just comes down to getting the very best guy in our car that we can get.
I’m very pleased with where we ended up this year. I believe Gabby is going to do some great things this year in the car and I believe he’s a guy that we want to try and hang on to and keep on the team for several years to come.
I think we can build together and we can grow together.
THE MODERATOR: As I mentioned earlier, Gabby Chaves is the 2014 Indy Lights champion which he won with four victories.
Gabby, congratulations to you. I know you were working hard to secure a ride for the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series season. How much of a relief is it for you to have that deal come together with a team like Bryan Herta Autosport?

GABBY CHAVES: The relief is only temporary because as soon as the deal is done you have to get your head down and start focusing on what’s next.
As soon as the deal was announced, I was very happy. It’s been a long journey to get to where I am. We’ve had a lot of sacrifice, a lot of hard times. This is only just the first victory we can get out of it.
Now it’s time to get back to work and really looking forward to enjoying a great season.
THE MODERATOR: Gabby, I know you haven’t been on track all too much, but from the experience you’ve had so far, how much of what you learned in the Mazda Road to Indy ladder system have you been able to apply and what adjustments have you had to make?
GABBY CHAVES: Oh, everything that I’ve learned so far in the last three years in the Mazda Road to Indy and the last two years in Indy Lights I’ve been able to apply to the IndyCar Series. Especially when it comes down to the first race on the ovals, the whole oval schedule that we have, I think that’s where it’s going to make a bigger difference.
I’m really happy. I think the ladder series is how it should be and it’s preparing the drivers, as Bryan said, not only Jack Hawksworth showing some amazing speed, but Carlos Muñoz having demonstrated the quality of drivers that we’re feeding into IndyCar is very high.

Q. Bryan, not only have you signed Gabby but you made an engineering addition with John Dick coming onboard. What do you hope to achieve with him and how do you think he and Gabby will have the chance to work together?
BRYAN HERTA: John was with us at the Sebring test. He and Gabby worked together there. I’ve known him for many years. I never worked physically with John when I was driving. He’s a guy I have a lot of respect for.
When we were looking for that right combination for Gabby, we had kind of an opportunity signing the driver first and making sure that we’re building a group of people around him that fits.
Gabby had a good experience working with John. Frankly for me, we wanted to pair a lot of experience around Gabby, and John certainly fits the bill for that. He’s been around a long time. He’s been in IndyCar for a long time. His experience will definitely be a great benefit to Gabby as he’s learning this year.

Q. Gabby, you’re going to be a rookie in a year where aero kits are coming into the season. What do you make of the opportunity to help develop the car with something that is going to be new for everybody throughout the year?
GABBY CHAVES: Yeah, I think it’s a great opportunity. I mean, not only for that, but for myself as a driver to really develop and enhance my skills at developing the car.
I think it’s going to be a great challenge. Like I said before, it’s going to be harder than ever before. Like I said, I’m just ready for the challenge and I’m excited to get going.

Q. Gabby, you’ve been part of a class of upcoming drivers that have had flashes of brilliance along the way. Reviewing your history with Star Pro Mazda, a couple that come to mind is Sage Karam and Zac Veatch. How does it feel to come up with a full season Verizon IndyCar Series ride before Sage and Zac?
GABBY CHAVES: I mean, I don’t ever try to take anything away from anyone. But I guess before Zac, you’d like to see Sage have a ride as well. He’s a deserving champion, as I am. But essentially we want to have all these guys get a ride, not only Zac, not only Sage, we want to have all the young drivers that are eventually going to be the future stars of the sport get a ride.
It’s a difficult question to answer. Mainly I like to be happy for what I have accomplished. I have a great team behind me working very hard to make this happen as well as working with Bryan’s team.
I think we’re just happy that we made it happen on our side.

Q. How did you enjoy driving in the Rolex 24?
GABBY CHAVES: I mean, it’s a great experience. It was my second year driving for the same team. It’s always a great experience. It’s something very different that I’m not used to driver changes, long three-hour stints. It is a very unique experience that definitely broadens I guess my professional career.

Q. After coming from Indy Lights, are you looking forward to competing again in 20-plus car fields?
GABBY CHAVES: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, it’s definitely a big challenge stepping up. Obviously every time you step up, drivers just get better and better. It’s going to be a big challenge.
I think with Indy Lights, you can’t take too much into consideration the car count, even though it is slow and it’s growing thankfully, because when you look at how guys like Jack Hawksworth impressed everyone, and everybody thought he would be a nobody last season, he impressed everyone, as well as Carlos Muñoz in his rookie Indy 500 and his rookie year. You can’t look too much into the car count when you have to look at the quality of the drivers.

Q. Bryan, do you have plans to be adding any more drivers this season? Seems a lot of teams have a strategy to have many drivers because that allows to have more testing time with the aerodynamic kits.
BRYAN HERTA: Well, we are going to run a second car at the Speedway this year, which will be a first for us, running two cars. I think as long as that goes well, we want to make sure we keep the focus on Gabby and his program this year, that we’re doing everything we need to do for him.
But we do want to grow the program. We would like to be a two-car team sooner than later. I think we’re open to the idea of doing more races later in the year as we work towards hopefully a full two-car program next year.

Q. How is the change with finding out about Brazil in such a sudden fashion, how has that affected your plans going forward?
BRYAN HERTA: It really hasn’t affected us too much. If anything, frankly, it helps us a little bit from the planning standpoint just because you’d like to have your deals done a little earlier than January, but this is the timing we had to deal with. We got everything done. We’ve got a little more time to get prepared, do a little more testing prior to the first race at St. Pete.
Logistically it’s great for us. Competitively obviously we’re racers and we want to do as many races as we can. But we understand the reasons for the change.

Q. Being a car owner, I assume it’s always better to maybe have the same set schedule in terms of numbers of races. If they were to add another race, where would you most likely like to have it? Long Beach, Detroit?
BRYAN HERTA: I mean, if it were up to me, I’d love to see us go to new markets. As a racer, Road America is such a great track. Love to be there. I always enjoyed racing in Portland. There’s certainly places that we can do a lot of good.
Circuit of America, I was there for the F1 race. Beautiful, beautiful facility. Would love to see us go there as well.

Q. I saw the PR release saying the March 8th date that would make sense going with the PWC, coinciding with that, since so many of the other races have that as a complementary series, that’s not going to happen sadly. What else are you looking forward to this season?
BRYAN HERTA: In terms of other races, adding races, we’re trying to keep our heads down, keep focused on building our team. What I’m excited about is a little bit of a fresh start for us this year, having Gabby in. He’s very enthusiastic. He’s been in the shop almost every single day since we signed the contract, which is great. Really just focus on building our program and continue to evolve and achieve more and more results on the track.

Q. Gabby, Carlos Muñoz has admitted that Juan Pablo Montoya is his role model. Who do you consider to be your racing role model?
GABBY CHAVES: That’s a difficult question. I mean, I’ve had various role models throughout different stages of my life, even before I was racing. I loved watching racing. Especially at those times, when I was eight, nine, ten years old, I would get up every morning at 4 or 5 in the morning to watch the Formula One races where Juan Pablo Montoya was racing. I followed his career closely. As I started building my career, you started almost picking role models for who you wanted to be almost at that time.
As I started racing in Europe, I would take a few guys there that I’d like to follow kind of their footsteps. Then I came back to the States. I really enjoyed my time here and realized this is where I want to be. I started out in the Pro Mazda Series, then two seasons in Indy Lights.
At that time it’s almost like you’re getting so close to the guys, the IndyCar guys, that you almost want to pick a role model, but you don’t want to get too involved with that admiration because sooner or later if you achieve your goals, you’re going to have to go head-to-head against them.

Q. As a rookie this year, you’re about to embark on some new races, courses. What race or track are you looking most forward to in this 2015 season?
GABBY CHAVES: I guess I could break it down into two categories. I really look forward every year to racing at Long Beach. It’s one of my favorite street courses. So that’s definitely my favorite there. I really want to experience that in an IndyCar.
Then also you can never leave behind or forget about the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It’s incredible. To experience that first in Indy Lights, getting close to 200 miles an hour, then to make a jump to being over 240 miles an hour, to me that’s what I’m looking most forward to this year.

Q. Bryan, with the cancellation in Brazil, is there any indication from IndyCar that they’re going to try to speed up the delivery of aero kits to the teams?
BRYAN HERTA: Frankly, even though it happened suddenly, I think IndyCar has done a really good job internally of communicating with the teams what they’re doing, what they’re trying to do. Obviously it’s all a little bit fluid still in a lot of areas.
But I don’t believe that aero kits are going to become available any sooner, frankly because everybody’s production is based on that March 1st date, and I don’t think there’s an ability to make any additional parts sooner.

Q. Have you been able to see any sketches of Honda’s kit compared to Chevy’s as far as the differences in how the cars are going to look?
BRYAN HERTA: I’ve seen some sketches, but we haven’t seen any of the actual production parts. I haven’t seen any drawings of the Chevy aero kit. I only saw the spy photos of Penske’s car when they ran at Circuit of the Americas. I am sure they have evolved a lot since then.
It’s a real point of entry. I think we’re all very curious and looking forward to seeing the cars turn up at Barber for spring training and see what we got.

Q. Gabby, could you comment on the importance of the scholarship prize that you were awarded with your championship last year with Indy Lights, and also the just the preparation that your years in the Road to Indy has provided you to make this step up to the IndyCar Series.
GABBY CHAVES: I think the scholarship prize, it almost makes the deal happen sometimes. I mean, I think it’s great that they’re giving the champion sort of a head start into their IndyCar career. Without the scholarship, it would have been very hard to make a deal happen anywhere. So I’m very happy. I’m very grateful that that program exists.
I think it’s not only in Indy Lights but the whole Mazda Road to Indy is coming along very strong. Ever since my first year in Pro Mazda in 2012, you know, just started building on that, getting myself familiarized with the tracks, with the people, the whole atmosphere. Everything is different.
So just to be able to work from those years of experience just makes my transition to IndyCar that much easier.

Q. As the reigning Indy Lights champion, talk about your optimism of the direction of the Indy Lights Series. And Bryan, do you plan to be involved again at any point?
GABBY CHAVES: I’m very happy with what’s happening right now with Indy Lights and the new car. I think that’s something that the series needed, and definitely is attracting a lot of attention, even new teams from overseas, new drivers, drivers that have competed in Formula One before, now coming over to Indy Lights. I think that’s great for the series. I think it’s great for IndyCar as well because it’s going to expand that feeder system. I’m very pleased that’s going in a positive direction.
BRYAN HERTA: From a team standpoint, I think we’re very open to coming back. We started our team in the Indy Lights Series. We wouldn’t even exist without it as a team. I believe in the importance of it, what it does for the development of drivers. I really think that the new car is a huge plus for the series.
From our standpoint, we feel like we needed to take a step back from it so we could really focus on making a step forward in the IndyCar program this year. But I would love to see us come back into Indy Lights again at some point in the future.

Kansas Basketball Coach Bill Self’s Press Conference

The Kansas Jayhawks, settled comfortably at the top of the Big 12 conference, will begin the second half of their Big 12 season with a two-game lead over West Virginia and Iowa State. The Jayhawks play at Oklahoma St. on Saturday, and a victory in Stillwater should all but secure Kansas’s 11th straight Big 12 regular-season title. Bill Self talked about his team yesterday:

Q. Coach Self, I have a question about Wayne Selden always have the best defender. Is the reason he hasn’t shot particularly well the last few games, is defense taken out of the play? What is your theory on that?
COACH SELF: No, I don’t think that has anything to do with it. I think his mom came to town. He got a new haircut. There is really a lot of important tangibles going on why he shot it well. But hopefully he’s on an uptick. I think he went 8 of 13 from three this past weekend, which, obviously, we’re a different team when Wayne plays like that. He was really, really good. He’s guarding better.
When you worry about the right things, I think you shoot it better. I think sometimes you put pressure on yourself to make shots when things aren’t going well, and he hasn’t done that as much of late because he worried about other things. So he sounded pretty well, but you look at it and he hasn’t shot it well like he’s capable of shooting. For the season, I could be wrong on this, but I think he’s right at 40% from three. If you had told me he would shoot 40%, we’d really be happy. Where he hasn’t shot the ball as well was from two, inside the arc. He needs to do a better job of finishing when he goes to the hole. I think his perimeter shooting has actually been pretty good.

Q. How much more dangerous is a team like Oklahoma State after being able to go on the road at a hostile place like that and find a way to get a victory?
COACH SELF: I think it’s easier to prepare for the next game when you’re in good spirits over the last game. So, if you play on Wednesday or Tuesday, by Saturday you would think that kids would have a chance to recover, whether it’s a draining game and you win or whether it’s an emotional loss, whatever, especially in league play where there’s definitely ups and downs.
To me, I think the two-day turnaround is more important for mental preparation having won on Saturday if you play on Monday. Losing on Saturday sometimes I think is more draining, and you don’t get as much done on Sunday which makes your preparation not as good for Monday. But they’ll be ready to play regardless if they had won or not last night. But if I was their coach, I would definitely feel better about guys being enthused and excited for practice and excited for scouting report and things like that after an emotional win like that. It was a great win last night they had.

Q. Brannen’s numbers from the three in league play are almost unheard of. Is it too early to talk about him as far as how good a shooter he is? And also your team in general is really looking good from beyond the arc.
COACH SELF: I think we’ve got a good shooting team. We haven’t shot it well consistently, but in league play, once we got into league play we shot it a little better. But regardless if Brannen’s stats are 40% or 50% or 60%, the guy can really shoot the ball. I mean, he’s probably as good a shooter as we’ve had since I’ve been here. Maybe from a percentage standpoint, you could say Rush, maybe Tyrel. I think Brady led the league in three-point shooting one year. But to me, Brannen makes real shots. He jumps up and just shoots the ball, and shoots it with confidence. I think he doesn’t take as many shots, but I think he’s probably as good a shooter as we’ve had since we’ve been here.

Q. Do you think you guys need to shoot more threes or are you okay– what have you guys done?
COACH SELF: I think game situations determine how many threes you shoot. Sometimes teams take away things, sometimes they don’t, sometimes they want to trap the post and take away their bigs and that could open up some things. Sometimes there are a lot of offensive rebounds, which create more three-point opportunities or transition which creates more three. I think a lot of it depends on the game. But historically, 30% of our shots historically have been threes. I think we’re close to being right on that again this year.

Q. Cliff has ten points and three rebounds in the last three games combined, and minutes are down. Is this just sort of the freshman wall? He’s played more than the other freshmen. Kind of a different situation for him compared to them, but is it that or something else?
COACH SELF: No, I don’t think so. I don’t think he’s hit a wall by any stretch, but he hasn’t scored the ball as much lately. But if you look at how he scored in other games it’s off of penetration. It’s not off of catching the ball in the post and making post moves or scoring over people as much as it is drop offs and offensive rebounds and transitions. So I think Cliff’s doing fine. We can say his minutes are down, maybe down two minutes a game or three minutes a game or whatnot. But we’ve had some guys step up.
I thought Landen played really well the last game, obviously, against Iowa State. And he didn’t even play against K-State. So that’s kind of how we’re doing it. I know it’s not really seeming like it’s fair to kids, but we’ve got a rotation of 8. And if those 8 are playing well, we may not get to 9 and 10. If we’ve got a rotation of 8 and they’re not playing well, or foul problems creep in, which is what happened against Iowa State. And we put Landen in, and he performs as well or better than some of the guys that were playing the minutes before, so we run with him. But that’s how we kind of evolved. So I wouldn’t read into that very much.

Q. Getting back to the three-point shooting, it is around 30% of your shots usually from three. Do you have a system and then it just goes to that number? Orthopedic have you thought okay, that’s a good percentage of shots?
COACH SELF: No, no, we haven’t done anything to talk about that. It’s just the way we play, and it’s just what it is. It’s the way we play this year it seems like to me it would be more. Maybe a percentage or two points more. But usually we play inside out and that’s how I want to play. Even if we don’t shoot inside, at least play behind, throwing it inside, and we haven’t done that near as much this year. But theoretically, I think that’s a pretty good percentage for us. Maybe some schools are 40% or 35 or 25 or whatnot.
But based on our history and the success that we’ve had with our shot selection over the years, I think 30% is a pretty good number for us.

Q. Each year, how big of a goal is it for you to win the conference as opposed to being a byproduct of winning a lot of basketball games?
COACH SELF: Well, I think it’s a goal every year to win your league. I think that’s the goal of everybody that plays in a league is to win the league. So we’ve put a lot of emphasis on winning the league. We don’t talk about it a ton. We huddle up and say Big 12 champs at the end of each practice. That is sometimes the extent of our talk about it.
But it’s too early to be looking at the league race and say, oh, we’ve got to do this and this or we’re in pretty good shape. All we’ve got to do is just go play well in Stillwater, so that’s how I look at it. The Iowa State game, we never once mentioned the league race to our guys. We talked about getting a chance to play a really good Iowa State team. So it’s something that is important to our players. I mean, if you’re a team of guys, I mean, do you want to be the team that didn’t do it? Do you want to be the one that, obviously, wasn’t able to do what all of the players that came before you were able to do? So there is some pride there, and we’re able to sell that throughout a season.
But once you get into it, we don’t put extra emphasis on it or anything like that. I don’t have to, because it is important to the kids. They already know it.

Q. Iowa State didn’t close the way you wanted it to, and TCU with a little pressure at the end. Is that something teams are doing to you or something you guys are having trouble with yourselves?
COACH SELF: Well, I think that at certain times we’ve looked really good against pressure and certain times we haven’t. I think in the– in both of those particular games, I think the other team did a good job of getting after us, but I also think we did a pitiful job of handling them getting after us. You know, we’ve got a team that with Frank or whatnot, when he’s playing 35 minutes does such a good job in late-game situations and go get open on your own. Sometimes he doesn’t have the same energy level to get open on his own, and he’s really important that he does.
But I think we’ll handle it better moving forward. We’ve worked on it a lot yesterday. A lot. That was our whole emphasis during practice yesterday. So a lot of it is the other teams. When other teams pressure you, you’re going to turn it over, and when you play cautious and almost play not to screw up or play to run the shot clock out, I think sometimes you screw up more because when you really get down to it, it becomes a game where if you manage the clock right, it’s impossible for the other team to come back.
So sometimes you start thinking like that and, okay, we’re not going to take that shot. Let’s be a little conservative here. I think that’s when you struggle the most. There are certainly some things we can do to improve and tighten up, no question.

Q. Some of your defensive numbers have been a little better in conference play?
COACH SELF: Been a lot better.

Q. Field goal percentage defense, is there a key to that? How do you explain that?
COACH SELF: I don’t know if there was a key. I thought all along we had potential to be a very good defensive team. I don’t know if we’re very good yet, but I think we’re heading in that direction to be pretty good. But we played a hard schedule. I tell you what, folks, you shouldn’t even look at your overall season stats. Just look at your conference stats when everybody’s playing the same people because your overall season stats, you could beat one team, 120-40, and your scoring margin and rebound margin and all that stuff is not real. All teams benefit from it. We benefited from it. Other people benefited from it.
But the bottom line is I really think once you get into conference and you’re halfway through league play, you can tell who you are more through conference stats than you can through season stats. Our season-long stats haven’t been very impressive at all in my opinion. But our conference stats, and I don’t study it daily, but our conference stats from an offensive standpoint efficiency, obviously from a defensive efficiency have been much, much better. The two things we haven’t done well in league play at all is shoot free throws and rebound the ball.
We definitely I thought were rebounding the ball and shooting free throws better out of conference, and I can’t blame that free-throw shooting on competition. Usually nobody guards you when you shoot them, so you can’t really blame it on that. But we’ve got to get where we can make free throws consistently.

Q. Have you guys done a better job protecting the rim than maybe you thought you would?
COACH SELF: No, not better than I thought we would. I still don’t think we’re near as good as what I thought we would be protecting the rim. I watched the Oklahoma State game again today. I’ve watched it two or three times, but I’m amazed how many times they got all the way to the rim. I thought Iowa State and K-State we probably did a better job of not letting them get all the way to the rim. But maybe we’ve done a better job in the last three or four games, but I still think that’s a big area that we can improve in.

Q. On the defensive side of things, do you have an idea of field goal percentage or numbers want to be at like benchmarks?
COACH SELF: Not really. I think if we can hold opponents under 38 I’d be really happy. Historically, if you do that against good competition, you’d be really happy. A lot of people think under 40. But some of the best teams field goal percentage is 41 or 42, but they create enough havoc and get more steals and do some other things that kind of offset a high field goal percentage. So it’s all in your philosophy.
But in my world, if we could average 7, 7-and-a-half steals a game and hold opponents to the 38, 39 range and then be plus five or six on the backboard, I would say well, we’re starting to gain on some things. We’re still in some possessions and limiting other people’s possessions, which is probably pretty good.

Q. It’s within an hour drive ask still home country for you. Is it always going to be special to go back there?
COACH SELF: Yeah, I love Stillwater and I love OSU. We spent 11 years of our life there, but it’s not like it used to be. When I was at Oral Roberts and just left to go to Oral Roberts and we played there every other year we’d play home at home with them, that was kind of a unique deal for me, because I was so young and didn’t know. We’re going to go. We’re going to take our team and we’re going to go show everybody over there, all our friends what we can do, and we ended up getting beaten 39-42, I think.
Tulsa we didn’t play. Illinois we didn’t play. It was emotional for me going back there, our first game back here. It was a big Monday, if I’m not mistaken, and they had a final four team. They were great. And we weren’t quite as good, and I think I called three timeouts before the 16-minute mark because things weren’t going really well.
But it’s not anything different for me anymore. It’s just like going to Ames or just like going to Norman, except you have a chance to see people after the game. I won’t see any friends before the game. For the most part, at least that is the way it usually works. I certainly won’t try to have lunch with anybody or anything like that, and then after the game I get a chance to kind of reconnect with some folks. But it’s always good to see familiar faces. The place is important to me. Lot of people there helped raise me and that kind of stuff so appreciative. But over 30 years it kind of dwindles, the emotion that you have when you go back.

Q. The players are very happy for Wayne, had a good game a couple games ago. The game against Kansas State there was a lot of support. Do you see that with this team?
COACH SELF: There are a lot of intangibles going into having a good team. One of them that goes into it that I think can be so misused and you take for granted is I think they actually like each other. There are a lot of teams that you act like they like each other, but deep down they don’t like each other. Yeah, yeah, I’m happy for him, yeah, right, but what about mine. He’s taken my minutes. Yeah, I’m really happy for him, but he’s taken my minutes. That is the mindset with some teams, but I don’t see that with this team.
I think they’re genuinely happy with each other. They like each other. They want each other to be successful. When you have two players that are as respected as Perry and Wayne, I think our players genuinely care when they do well, especially when a guy maybe has been laboring a little bit.
We talk about Perry, he spoils us because he’s so consistent in so many ways, but he made a couple of tough plays against Iowa State that were huge. I mean, the charge he takes and making the basket and going down on his shoulder hard and getting up and being back in transition to stop them on one possession and things like that. Those are things that kind of go unheard of, but those are things that make coaches most proud.
The players get it. They understand when guys are performing well, and guys need something good to happen. Certainly Perry went through a little rut, and Wayne’s gone through a little rut, and hopefully they’re back out of it now.

Q. The other assist to turn over ratio for Devonte right now–
COACH SELF: What is he 32-3?

Q. 22-3?
COACH SELF: Yeah, I gave him too much credit. Yeah, that’s pretty good. It’s not as good as 20-1. He was 20-1 at one time. He’s done a nice job. If you look at it, Wayne’s made shots in league play. Kelly’s made shots or excuse me, Brannen’s made shots in league play. Devonte and Kelly, though they were making shots earlier, they haven’t really made shots in league play. We can kind of like this and that.
But one thing that’s been consistent for the most part is that we’ve taken better care of the ball, even though we’ve had 16 the other night, I still feel like we did a better job of taking care of the ball till late, and Devonte’s been a big reason why.

Q. You watch a game like Oklahoma-West Virginia, not that you’re necessarily rooting for somebody, but you understand if West Virginia loses, you’re going to be two games up on that. How do you watch a game like that? Are you coaching in your head?
COACH SELF: No not coaching in my head, but I do have favorites. There are some teams to me that I don’t necessarily care for them more than the other team, but there are certain situations we may pull for a team more than others. But you know, it’s so early and you want something to happen.
My thinking is a lot of times when you wish for something to happen early in conference play, it turns out to be totally irrelevant late, and it may end up biting you. So we just watch. We just watch.
It’s certainly nice to have a two-game lead halfway through it, but to me we’ve still got to play West Virginia twice, and that two-game lead could go to zero if we don’t take care of business. So we just try to watch, not get too hung up or emotional in what’s going on, and then just focus in on what we need to do.

Q. Iowa State late in the game and West Virginia, they really pressure the ball, Oklahoma State some too. Is that how much Devonte plays?
COACH SELF: He could. He could. The thing about it is Devonte’s going to play his 15 to 25 minutes, depending on how the game goes. And Frank’s going to play his 30 to 35, and Wayne’s going to be locked in and play a certain amount, and Kelly and Brannen too. It may be a little more, but it’s nice to have five starters you can play back there and have confidence with them.
So any of those combination, as long as Frank or Devonte’s on the court at the same time, I think any of those combination can be effective for us depending on who is playing well.

Q. You talked about practicing one way and scoring a different way about making plays. What is that like for the coach?
COACH SELF: It happens all the time. It happens all the time to all programs, but okay, this is how we’re going to play. This is how we’re going to play. This is how we’re going to play. And all of a sudden, foul problems dictate well, that takes away the low post and this and that. Now you tweak it. How do we get the ball to where we want it to go without doing it the way we’ve scripted it so to speak, and that happens all the time with all teams.
That is one thing our team has done a pretty good job of thus far is being able to adjust on the fly. What we did against Iowa State offensively was not anything remotely on film looking at it. That was really right to do. It wasn’t. But the way they defended the post, and how ineffective we were scoring on the post, and we’re just going to be a drive-it team. I thought our guys adjusted pretty well, and actually did a pretty good job with that.
So we probably practiced playing that way 15 minutes. So I think a lot of teams have a lot of things in their package that maybe they don’t plan on using. That was one of those times that we did something we didn’t plan on doing and it worked out okay.

Q. With your bench and the different skills you have like Brannen and Devonte and Cliff, are you a team that can bring guys off the bench and they’ll give you a different style? Does that make sense?
COACH SELF: I would say probably not. I don’t think our style changes based on– like if they’re trapped in the post and giving us problems trapped in the post and maybe our emphasis isn’t getting it to the post as much. So we’re going to try to twist something else up. But I don’t look at it like well, if we’re going to play this way, we have to have him in the game. I don’t look at it like that at all.
I look at it probably more defensively than offensively, and like okay, they’re playing two four men now, who is Cliff going to guard on the perimeter? I would look at it like that. But offensively we’re going to try to do things whatever our goal game plan is, regardless, we may have to tweak it within the game. Certainly it would be nice if we could say, okay, we’re going to go down, throw the ball inside and play behind that. But Iowa State didn’t guard a high post and they doubled the low, and that made it hard to do that.

Q. With yesterday being football signing day, what is it for you when it comes to recruiting a guy, there has to be one thing you see out of that player beyond skills that you’ve got to get out of a guy, and this is the type of player we want in our program. Is there one thing?
COACH SELF: Well, if you’re looking at what we look at when we recruit, I would say there are three things. I don’t know what that would equate to in football, but in basketball it would be how athletic, how explosive, can he shoot, and is he tough?
I would think in football you’d have something a little bit different than that, but in theory, probably something pretty similar. Maybe a receiver, can he catch? I don’t know. But that to me is what it comes down to. Then if you’re unsure on a guy, which we’ve been unsure on many, it comes down to basically is he tough, and will he be a good teammate? If you’re going to be a good teammate, if you believe that and if you’re tough, you’re going to find a way to help your program.
Now it may not be in year one, it may not be in year two, but it could be in year three and year four. That’s why it’s a little different with us, because with the really good players we’re recruiting, we’re projecting them for one or two years. With football, you’re projecting them for four or five years, so sometimes I think in football, at least from my vantage point, Dave knows better than me, intangibles can be more important than trying to evaluate that in football than in basketball. Like on Wiggs, you’re going to take Wiggs no matter what, or Joe you’re going to take him no matter what. But when you’re taking a football player that may need a red-shirt or this or that and you’re trying to project down the road.

Gator Recruiting: University of Florida Football News Conference

COACH McELWAIN: How’s everybody doing, all right? You have a wonderful signing day like everybody else did in the country? It’s a whole lot of fun out there.

But guys, for the first signing class and our first signing class, first and foremost, the momentum that we’ve gained has been fantastic. The doors that we’ve opened in this short period of time back in the places that we need to be successful at when we go out and recruit, go out and recruit, and obviously that’s in the State of Florida first, and bumping into that five?hour radius part as we go up into Georgia is something that we need to make sure that we work on and keep getting better at.

I think we answered some things from all kind of corners of the state, and that’s a good thing; whether it be up in the pan handle, whether it be in this mid?section or whether it’s down in the Miami area, I think our guys worked their tail off getting out there and getting to as many places as we could, and, you know, breaking some doors down. So that’s a real positive.

The other thing is, I can’t go any further without mentioning how this team really embraced this recruiting season. These guys were really positive in everything that they did and that shows great things about the character of the guys we have in our program and the character of guys that we are looking to bring out.

So kind of, as we talk about it from kind of our needs standpoint, obviously, as you took a look early on, we talked about the offensive line position; you know, our goal was to try to hit in that five to six range in there, and I think we were pretty good hitting those numbers. That was something that we felt we needed to do, especially not because of the talent that we have but because of the lack of numbers that we had.

And so I think that was really good and very important for us as we went out and then tried to create some balance in the other spots moving forward.

We still will have a couple that we will hold for some possible late additions as we move forward, and then obviously look for guys in next year’s class as we get into possible early enrollees as we are already looking towards the 2016 class. That was kind of the plan going in. I thought we executed that plan very well, and you know what, there are a lot of positive things for the Gators.

So with that, we’ll take some questions.

Q. How hard was it coming from behind when you get off to such a late start with a coaching change and all?
COACH McELWAIN: Well, we weren’t the only ones in the country, you know, on that situation. It happens every year. The good thing, I guess kind of was a little bit of experience going through it one time already.
I think the key is, is getting out as soon as you can, as many places as you can. Not always do you get to spend a ton of quality time but at the same time, you’ve got to take advantage of the time you had out.

So I know this: Our guys worked overtime getting to as many places as we could, and I think our reception was really good, which helped us moving forward.

Q. Can you talk about the way you closed, not just today, but over the last week and a half?
COACH McELWAIN: Yeah, I thought our momentum?? we felt decent all the way along and felt really good about the kind of kid that we brought in here. We strive not only for guys beyond just the playing ability that were a fit for the University of Florida that fit the character mode; that fit a lot of the things, the leadership modes that we are looking for as we built this class and with that, you know, I think as you take a look at the kids that chose to be Gators, I think that that’s something that really stands out, as well.

Q. Can you just describe how this day was for you? Obviously I know you’re confident and I’m sure your staff felt good about your chances with kids, but I’m sure it was nerve?wracking not having known them for a long time and what was it like to see it play out?
COACH McELWAIN: Well, every year, this is a fun day, and it’s one?? it’s one of reflection; it’s one that you are really excited about the guys who chose to be part of your family. We welcome all of them with open arms, and yet we were able to get a lot of work done and evaluation on the next couple classes coming up, which is a normal workday for us this time of year. So we were able to get some things done that way, which was really good.
What we’ll do is go out and have dinner as a staff and tell a few jokes and laugh a little bit and corroborate some stories that were out there, and then we’ll get back at work in the morning to get ready to go for this spring ball.

Q. And then also, you talked about building the infrastructure here and improving a lot of things. Many recruits talked about that they were shown the indoor practice facility plans. There was a photo where you guys had like 13 Tahoes parked outside the stadium. Did you sense an excitement of the new direction of where things are headed and how much do you think that played into how well you guys closed with kids?
COACH McELWAIN: Well, I mean, one of the things you do constantly is you have to evolve and obviously bringing some of the things that we have done previous places when it comes to the recruiting weekend itself, and as we build our player personnel department and get our pieces in there, things will continue to get better and we’ll keep tweaking and keep working and making sure that that experience is really good for people, too.

Q. How critical was it closing with two players like Martez Ivey and Cece Jefferson in particular?
COACH McELWAIN: Well, Tez, as you know, that’s one of those that was a huge position and need for us and I think that really gave us some great momentum.
You know, we are still waiting on the fax, on the other mention. And as you guys saw, I didn’t think there was a fax machine outside under those tents, so I’m not sure. You know, can’t say anything until that fax gets in.

Q. You’ve recruited in the SEC before as an assistant. What was the view as a head coach and just the competitiveness of recruiting in the league?
COACH McELWAIN: Well, I mean, this is a top league in the country in all areas in all respects and each staff has great recruiters on it and good coaches that go about it however they choose to go about it.
You know, it’s fun to be back in the competition. You know, been sitting here in the State of Florida, I’m not sure there’s a school in the country that doesn’t come to this state to recruit.
That speaks volumes for the high school coaches, the type of players that are in this state, and you know, that’s something that we need to get back and really focus on as University of Florida is getting ourselves and making sure that we make it hard for those guys to leave the state.

Q. Obviously this is stuff you and your staff are probably oblivious to, but the gloom and doom out there in the media??
COACH McELWAIN: Gloom and doom?

Q. As far as the rankings, two or three weeks ago, you were ranked 99 or 102
COACH McELWAIN: Who were we ahead of? (Laughter).

Q. I think Fresno.
COACH McELWAIN: Is that about it, right? (Laughter).

Q. You guys are oblivious, but did you have to encounter that with players as far as negativity at all?
COACH McELWAIN: No. You know, you get negative recruited against from other people and that’s just other schools techniques. That’s not something that we adhere to. We go ahead and let them do that because they are probably not real secure about sometimes what they have at their programs.
In our case, we have a lot of great things to sell, and there really wasn’t?? we knew it was going to be late because we were getting in late on a lot of guys. We had to go back and re?evaluate a lot of players to fit the criteria that we felt were going to be successful Gators and I feel really good about those guys that ended up coming.

Q. Is there any concern that you were not able to get a quarterback in this class?
COACH McELWAIN: No. You know, I feel really good about our quarterbacks. Obviously it’s a position that you recruit every year. You don’t settle. You go out and try to get what there is. There may be some that are still out there as this kind of goes forward. You know, we’ll answer that, like I said, with some of those spots, if needed, moving forward.

Q. You said there are a lot of coaches in your situation; not a whole lot of coaches had to go against their predecessor in recruiting. How difficult an obstacle was Will Muschamp to overcome?
COACH McELWAIN: Like I’ve said, the guy is a great ball coach and he had obviously some insights that I’m sure they were able to use and yet it’s never about anybody else. It’s about what we have and who we are and we are very secure in that and know we are going to move forward and be successful in what we are trying to accomplish.
So, you know, that’s part of the game. Never really thought about it to be honest.

Q. Do you think if you were not recruiting against him, you might have had an even better class?
COACH McELWAIN: Well, a hypothetical question, right. What do you think, I just fell off the turnip truck yesterday? My first press conference ever? Come on. (Laughter).

Q. First recruiting press conference here.
COACH McELWAIN: That was good right there. I’ll remember that one.

Q. How much did the existing recruiting structure with Drew Hughes and that staff really help you get the class together so quickly?
COACH McELWAIN: I thought Drew did a really good job. He’s a guy that was able to hold it together. We were able to add Kevin Barbay, we are still in the process of adding some more people that have a lot of experience in those areas that are going to help us move forward in the player personnel department and that’s part of the infrastructure change that we are getting ready to make. It evolves over time.
But obviously Drew had a real handle on what was going on and knew where a lot of the players were.

Q. How did your experience getting a transitional recruiting class help you this go around?
COACH McELWAIN: It did. It helped a lot. Any time you have experience doing that, I think there’s no doubt it helps. But each place is different. Every place has its different set of circumstances and things you need to deal with. But as I go back, I’ve got to tell you, the players are the ones, and the guys here really have accepted this and jumped on board.

Q. You said a few questions ago that you had to sell your program and not worry about Muschamp and the coaches that are no longer here. But did that at all affect the way you sold it; this is Florida and this is me and our staff and what our plan is?
COACH McELWAIN: There’s so much positive here. There’s never a need to?? you just?? I don’t know why you ever have to go in and bad mouth something, you know. It’s just not how I was brought up. So we’ve got a lot of positive things to sell here and that’s what we do.

Q. Talk about the efforts of Tyler Jordan and helping sell this class.
COACH McELWAIN: I’ve got to tell you, Tyler, Kalif, Bay?Bay (ph), those young guys that were the first to kind of jump in, and of course Kalif and Bay?Bay are on campus, as well. Those guys were fantastic; they jumped right in.
And Tyler, in particular, he was real positive on his visit that he made up here and did a good job of kind of staying in touch I think with these guys in this class. But that’s really what it’s all about. They were recruiting teammates.

Q. When you turn on the tape and look at Tyler, what do you see?
COACH McELWAIN: You know, here is a guy that I think, the way he bends?? he can bend. He’s got great feet and snap, and you know, he’s also a guy, obviously, high intelligence and football IQ. His days are bright, bright, looking forward.

Q. Mike Summers from last year’s coaching staff, how integralwas he in landing the gold target of offensive linemen, especially Ivey?
COACH McELWAIN: Well, he had developed?? he had been recruiting the area, obviously. He has built relationships with a lot of the offensive linemen. Just nature of the position. So Mike did an outstanding job, as all our coaches did, getting involved and pitching in where needed.

Q. You mentioned having prior relationships that you went right back to when you got in here. Did you have a sense one way or the other whether or not that was going to be easy or difficult and how was it?
COACH McELWAIN: Well, easy difficult, it’s recruiting. Each recruits different. There’s a different set of circumstances involved in every single kid??

Q. Not necessarily a kid but the relationships you have with some of the people.
COACH McELWAIN: And the coaches, being able to see them again and see the smiles on their face and how excited they were to see us in here, it’s been fantastic. I look forward to seeing those guys when they come up and come to clinics and come watch us practice. It will be a lot of fun.

Q. Could you talk a little about Andrew Ivie and what you see in terms of him coming in?
COACH McELWAIN: As you know, I kind of like multi?sport guys. Here is a guy that obviously his record as a wrist letter and what he does, the discipline it takes; he’s very, very strong obviously, and there again comes from pretty good blood lines, his brother, right, playing fret give for us.

Q. With Fowler headed to the NFL Draft, how important was reloading in terms of pass rushers?
COACH McELWAIN: You know, it’s interesting, you get a great player like that, like Dante, and a great Gator, a guy who did a lot for this program and this university. I look at it as, you don’t necessarily replace that guy but the pieces around him have to elevate their game, right, around that spot, as well, until somebody gets into that role.
We have got a lot of players here that I’m looking forward to seeing in spring, but there again, I don’t think you ever replace a first round draft choice necessarily. You may in time because obviously through experience, guys are going to continue to get better. But in that case, I sure would like to see him comeback for another year, right.

Q. How do you feel about the pass rushers you were able to sign?
COACH McELWAIN: We got some real long?? I think you guys are going to like some of these guys. Maybe under the radar a little bit and yet from an evaluation standpoint, we felt they were great players and guys that had a chance to really develop into being forces.

Q. Where do you see McGriff fitting in?
COACH McELWAIN: The guy is an athlete, needs a ball in his hands. There’s a lot of different spots, and the way you play different personnel groupings, he’s a guy that works in and now all of a sudden, what is he, what spot is he at. And to add to the confusion, you know, for the defenses; any time you get an athlete of that calibre, there’s a lot of different places he can play, and you can see by his film the different spots and what a weapon he is when he has the ball in his hands.
For us, getting a versatile guy, now all of a sudden, really expands what you can do on offense.

Q. How do you envision Jordan Cronkrite and Jordan Scarlett’s roles in this new offense?
COACH McELWAIN: Well, I mean, obviously the guys are good running backs, right. And you know, any research you’ve done, real big on just a guy carrying it 40 times. I believe you need to have a one?, two?, and three?punch when you’re going in there.
I really like the way these guys interacted and understood how they can help each other and push each other through competition to be better.

Q. And there’s a report about, you possibly adding another punter. Can you confirm that?
COACH McELWAIN: I must have missed that Tweet (Laughter).

Q. You talked about Dante Fowler. How do you see Cece Jefferson’s game, comparing to him?
COACH McELWAIN: That’s one, again, we haven’t answered it up here earlier. We haven’t had that?? yeah.

Q. When Robertson left, fans felt like it might hurt you guys. Can you talk about the job you were able to do specifically in that area with the number of guys you signed?
COACH McELWAIN: Well, obviously Randy is a guy that everybody knows and has been down in that area for a long time. And yet, as we took all the coaches down different positions, I felt that we did a great job down there. It’s one that’s in an area, when Florida was really rolling, they were getting guys from, and they were getting the right kind of guys from there, and that’s an area that we’re going to continue to go back to.

Q. How big was Jordan??
COACH McELWAIN: That was huge. And Jordan was a guy that we targeted when we first got here, and that was one of the first places we went down because we felt that’s the type of back that would really fit here at the University of Florida, and as all these guys, I’m just really excited that they chose to be part of our family.

Q. What kind of commits seem pretty intriguing?? Williamson, seem to have a lot of success on the offensive side of the ball. Will they both play secondary?
COACH McELWAIN: Yeah, you know, one of the things when you look, some of the things that are fatal flaws on the defensive side of the ball are guys that cannot play the ball in the air. Obviously these guys ability to play on the offensive side, go up and get the ball, got great size and length; I’m really excited they chose to be Gators.

Q. Just saw that Gerald Willis is going to Miami. Can you touch on that?
COACH McELWAIN: That’s good (laughing). Way to go.

Q. Any update on where you’re at with wide receiver coach and did that impact any of the wide receivers you were recruiting not having one?
COACH McELWAIN: No, I don’t think so. We got our playmaker that we were looking for when we were able to get it down there in Florida?? or down into Miami, so that was really exciting. And we’ll have one here real shortly.

Q. A lot of the recruiting gurus say that there’s a lot more flipping and de commitments now than there used to be and the verbal commitments don’t mean as much, have you found that to be true?
COACH McELWAIN: There’s the best one. Now think about this. This is new. You’ve got a silent verbal. (Laughter) just think about those names, okay. Hey, Coach, you have a silent verbal. I believe that’s an oxymoron, is it not? Yeah, okay, good.
Some of the lingo that goes on?? I don’t think any more, I think you guys call them commitments, I think maybe reservations is probably the way to put it, right. It always goes down to signing day. It doesn’t matter. It’s been doing that forever.
Now, obviously, there’s a lot more attention paid to it because just the social media that we’re on today. So it has been a lifelong deal. It just happens to be maybe a little more pizzazz today than it was years ago.

Q. The bat signal??
COACH McELWAIN: The bat signal? That’s pretty cool isn’t it. Every now and then I have something up my sleeve (laughing). Thanks.

Bovada, the Worst Sportsbook in the World, Tries Another Stunt

Dealing dual lines to its loyal customers apparently isn’t generating enough revenue for Bovada. They are now squeezing clients on their entertainment props. A thread at Two Plus Two gives the sad details.

“I bet over 1.5 how may times would katy perry be mentioned in the first half on Bovada and laid -150,” the poster Jon Locke said. “After she was clearly mentioned on two occasions I assumed that I won. Then when I checked my results I saw that I lost and they posted Book Manager’s decision is final. After numerous e-mails they stated it was a loss because her name was only mentioned one time. (my friend who had the same side of the bet texted me after both mentions, which is how I know that I clearly won). I’m assuming quite a few people had the over on this as I think it was a rather bad line.”

The exact wording of the prop was:
“SPECIAL (NE @ SEA) – How many times will Katy Perry be mentioned in the 1st Half?”

Jon Locke says the first instance was coming back from commercial break at the 13:57 mark in second quarter, and the second instance was coming back from commercial break at 2:16 mark in second quarter.

He continues. “After back and forth e-mails they stated…’If you’ll be able to prove that Katy Perry’s name was mentioned two times in the first half during the live broadcast, your wager will be settled as a push. The risked amount will be credited on your Bovada account.’

“I replied with videos of both instances referenced above as well as screen shots with the closed captioning on clearly stating Katy Perry on T.V. They responded….’Settlement for your wager is final as stated on your wager details. In case we received proof that Katy Perry’s name was mentioned twice, your wager will be settled as ‘Push’ and your risked amount will be credited.'”

Locke complained that he could get nowhere with Bovada’s customer service. “Despite asking for evidence, they have completely ignored what I sent them in and refuse to acknowledge or reference it in any correspondence.”

It all ended well, however. After clarifying that the Over/Under number for Katy Perry mentions was two, Bovada finally acknowledged a push.

“After about 13 e-mails and countless others from my friend they changed it to a push for both of us. I was surprised they didn’t send a e-mail as well saying sorry we made a mistake heres your money back but at least they changed it to the correct score. I have no idea if they did this for everyone (hopefully so) but at least they did for us.”

However, he added: “Its also the last entertainment prop I ever make at Bovada.”