Provably Fair Finally Brings Legitimacy to Online Casinos

One of the pleasures of opening a new table in blackjack is seeing the cards get spread before the start of play. The dealer takes his deck of cards (assuming single deck action), spreads them out, and lets everyone take a peek while the dealer verifies the deck has all 52 cards. Honest and open play works for both sides, and spreading the deck shows the player that the casino isn’t in the business of cheating him. That’s one of the many benefits of live blackjack.

Online casinos historically have not had this ability to “show off their honesty”. A player must trust the casino to play fair. When the player wins, this isn’t a problem. But when he loses, that’s not the case. The blackjack player who went broke playing online will inevitably complain about an unfair game; the decks were cooked, he might say, or the decks were missing a few 10s and aces, giving the house an enormous advantage over the player.

Until recently, there was little an online casino could do to verify that its game were on the up and up. The deck shuffling is done by an algorithm, not a dealer handling the cards. The advent of bitcoin casinos, however, have also brought about a way that online casinos can prove they are dealing an honest game. This method, an algorithm that can be analyzed and verified for fairness, is called “Provably Fair”.

Provably Fair is a system that doesn’t allow either the casino or the player to cheat in the game. The method uses cryptographic hash functions that methodically transform data into strings. These strings are a series of unbreakable alphanumeric characters, meaning the data inside the strings can’t be cracked. The string is a fingerprint of a shuffled deck. Since the player can’t crack the string, the casino can safely let the player look at the string before the game begins. When the game is over, the player is given the ‘secret’ to the string, allowing him to very verify that the shuffled deck he was shown prior to the game is the same shuffled deck that was used in the game.

James Hampleton of Nitrogen Sports, rated as one of the top bitcoin sportsbooks in the world today, uses Provably Fair in its online casino and encourages its players to both understand and demand Provably Fair standards.

“Verifying that a hand is Provably Fair requires that players understand hashing and can run shuffling algorithms,”
Hampleton told CoinTelegraph.com. “In order for it to really take off as a standard, it requires support from the people who are not only capable of this, but are passionate about it.”

“This is the future of betting online,” added Hampleton. “Players should be demanding more transparency from their casinos, and Provably Fair technology not only allows this, but mandates it.”

College Football: Wisconsin’s Head Coach Paul Chryst’s Pre-Camp Press Conference Transcript

Paul Chryst has returned home. The former backup quarterback for the Badgers was hired as Wisconsin’s coach after former coach Gary Anderson bolted to Oregon St. after Wisconsin lost to Ohio St. in the Big 10 Championship game. Chryst has quite a task in front of him. The Badgers open the season on September 5 as 10.5 point underdogs to Alabama. Chryst spoke about the team yesterday:

COACH CHRYST: Thank you and during these press conferences. I’ve been told a number of times by Brian to say that we’re excited, but I really am excited to get this thing going.

Certainly tomorrow starts it and proud of the way the kids worked this summer, and I’ve enjoyed continuing to get to know this team. As I think about our team right now, much like probably every team in America, you’ve got different tiers or categories of guys, and right now I think we’ve got a group of players that have played a lot of football and started and won a lot of games.

I think of Mike Caputo and Darius Hillary, Sojourn’s coming back, and you’ve got Schoberts and Vince that have played a lot of football there. Offensively Tyler has played a lot of football and Joel has played a lot of games and won, and Alex has been a part of that. Then you’ve got another group that even a guy like Corey that’s played a lot of football but Corey’s entering into a new role.

So we’ve got some of these older guys that have been around the program, and it’s Rob Wheelwright and Reggie Love, and they, for whatever reason, maybe haven’t contributed, whether it’s depth or they weren’t ready yet, but that is the group I think if they can jump in and elevate their game. At tight end you lose Sam Arneson, so now it’s Austin’s turn. Fu’s played a role, but his role’s going to change. Defensively Arthur Goldberg, Leon Jacobs, there is a group of guys like that that they’ve either entered into a new role or their role’s going to expand, and I think that can push your team to another level.

Then you’ve got a group of young guys that I’m anxious to find out who they are and what they can do and what their role could be, and that to me is the fun part of fall camp is finding out your team. We know the guys in the past. The one thing I’ve always been impressed with particularly here with the group of guys that there are guys that will get better, have gotten better this summer, and I’m anxious to see who those guys are.

We’ve got a chance with a bunch of players coming together and form the team that we’re going to be. Training camp is kind of the last phase before the season gets going, and we couldn’t be more excited to start practice tomorrow.

Q. Can you talk about the decision to move T.J. to outside linebacker and D’Cota back to safety? Do you see any other position changes that could happen from the spring to now?
COACH CHRYST: I don’t foresee any changes right now where we’re coming in and saying this is going to happen. T.J.’s a guy that I think he’s I don’t know totally who he is. He got hurt in the spring, so he’s limited. But I think he’s a football player and just in trying to maybe give him the best spot. And I don’t know if it’s a final move yet for him, but it’s a game of chance while he’s recovering to get a feel for that position, and I think he’s a guy that can add value to our team and maybe on the defensive side of the ball might be the best way for it.

Then D’Cota, same thing. Didn’t play in the spring, but kind of looking at where we’re at as a team, I think every position move it’s got to be right for the individual and best for your team, and I think those ones seem like they are, and I’m anxious to find out. I know they’re both excited about it.

I would think through the course of camp there will be one or two. I don’t know what they are. But I think it’s our job to make sure we’re using each player that’s good for him, that’s got to be right for the player but also what’s best for this team.

Q. Can you take us through the process of Kellen Jones ending up here, and how much of that helped in terms of depth on the inside?
COACH CHRYST: Yeah, I’m hoping we’re excited to have Kellen here, and as we went through, I remember it was in July, and Tim Tibesar had been involved with Kellen before he went to Clemson, and so Tim kind of knew about him. I had a chance to speak with Dabo and find out about Kellen. Then it was just seeing we had him up for a visit and wanted the guys around him. I think like all transfer situations that it’s really important that it’s right for the individual, and he’s got a limited window and can be right for our team, and wanted our team, as many guys that could be around him. They liked felt good with him and Kellen felt good.

So I’m excited, just like you said, that he does give us a chance to have some depth and maybe if nothing else maybe keeps from freshmen having to play maybe a day earlier than he should. So, like a lot of these guys you want to find out who they are and what they are. But guys are excited and we’re certainly excited to have them, so it’s about a three or four week process.

Q. Is Tanner McEvoy still going to be playing a hybrid role between safety and receiver or is he leaning the one way or the other now?
COACH CHRYST: He’s going to do both. I think one thing, he had a lot of spring at the safety position, and that was certainly a place where he had some comfort in, and we’re going to start him in the spring or in the fall here at camp more at the receiver spot. Let him get a feel for that, get comfortable, and yet our plan is to use him both ways.

Q. Joel comes into this camp with a lot more certainty about where he stands. How much of a difference can that make for a guy that has dealt with a lot of uncertainty going into the last two camps?
COACH CHRYST: I can’t speak for Joel on that, but I think he’s earned that right and I’m excited with what he’s done this summer. I think that Joel’s in a really good spot. I like that he has an edge to him. I think he’s got some tangible areas that he knows he can work on to get better, and I think he’s confident going in and anxious to get to work.

He was the first guy that I first player I saw this morning. I would think that it would be good for him, but I think he’s earned everything that he’s gotten to this point. And Joel’s like all of our seniors, you know, they need to have their best year for us to be as good a team as we can. I think to this point he’s done everything we’ve asked him to do, and now we’ve got fall camp and he’s still got more opportunities to get better, but I like where he’s at certainly.

Q. You’ve always talked about the importance of adding state kids whether it’s a walk on or scholarship. You have a couple kids who appear to be transferring, one Ramczyk from Stevens Point and (Indiscernible) from Whitewater. Are those examples of kids that maybe if you didn’t get a look early you’ve asked them to walk on before, or how did that process get started with those two guys?
COACH CHRYST: Both those two specifically, and I think all of those when you’re talking about transfers, they’re going to reach out to us first. Wouldn’t want to be going and trying to scour the rosters and see who would come. They reached out and we knew enough about them that if that was what was best for them academically to come to school here, we certainly wanted them to be on this team.

So we’re excited about those two players, but different though than the high school kid where you actively recruited them, I think here you respond to something more than going out and recruiting it.

Q. You said of the offense over the years how things have been built on the offensive line. How confident are you in what you have considering you only have two starters back from a year ago?
COACH CHRYST: That to me is one of those areas that when it first opened up, Ray Ball, Walker Williams have been in the program for a number of years. Ray has played I think a little bit more than Walker. Can they elevate? And a lot of it is being consistent. I think they’ve shown both care a ton. I mean, I love that part of it. They work and then there is going to be a group of young guys that need to step in.

Right now today I couldn’t tell you who the starting five are. That was one of the things I think that spring ball we were able to identify the pool of who the offensive linemen could be, but we didn’t solidify who the starting five were, and that’s going to be one of the things that we’ve got to solidify in fall camp.

Q. (No Audio)?
COACH CHRYST: Every place I’ve been, not that I’ve been to a thousand or anything, but we’ve had walk ons that have contributed, and yet I don’t know if it’s because I’ve been here longest or know this place, the history of this place better than any school. It sure seems like it’s special and unique with the walk on program. All it is is we know that there’s guys that we’re not a hundred percent right in the whole recruiting process. There are guys that get overlooked.

I think it is a place though where guys come and see that they are treated fairly, they will be given opportunity, and I think that helps us. So I think any time you’ve got a good program, that those when you’ve got it going and we had the depth at positions, that’s when the program was healthy, the next guys step in.

You look back and say, boy, that whole roster was playing after college, and I think the same thing with the walk on program. You go and you look and you can name the walk ons that have been contributors, that have been significant starters, and been All Stars, All Americans here. So I think there is something truly special here with the walk on program because it’s been proven.

Q. It looks like Moorman is not listed on the camp roster, and I saw the picture of him with the boot and the scooter. Do you know how long he’s going to be out? Is it likely he’s headed for red shirt because of the injury?
COACH CHRYST: Most likely he’s going to be out three to four weeks, so he can come and he can be here and get treatment and all that. There are a number of guys that were in the spring not a number, but Hemer, Aidan McNamara, that aren’t completely healthy or cleared for practice, so we want to go with the 105 that you get to bring to camp. We want to make sure they’re all healthy bodies.

Q. Could you compare, I know they’re different people, different times, but could you compare the process by which Kellen came here and the process by which Russell came here? Were there parallels that really mattered to this team and to you when they came through?
COACH CHRYST: Yeah, I think the parallels are trying to, in a short period of time, trying to make sure that it’s the right fit both individually for Kellen and Russell at the time and for our team. So I think those are parallels. I think that’s what helped.

I think in going back that was one of the things that I know impacted Russell’s decision, and our players accepting Russell, was the visit and interaction they had before it was a done deal. So I think we tried to I thought that was a good thing that we could take away from that.

Certainly the individual and the storyline is different, right. But I think there were some parallels that you try to draw on, and that was, to me, most importantly, making sure that there was opportunity. Because it wouldn’t have done Kellen any good if there wasn’t opportunity, and at the same time, making sure that our guys on the current roster felt like Kellen was a good fit.

Q. By those who are paid to make such predictions, there are a lot of people who would like your team to win the West and be in the Big Ten Championship game. But nobody seems to be picking anybody but Ohio State to win the conference. Are you a favorite or an underdog or does it matter to you going into the season?
COACH CHRYST: Doesn’t matter a bit. Our goal, my intentions is to every day work to make sure we become the best team we can be. That’s why you play the games and you earn the right for whatever you get. That’s the exciting part is working with these guys and maximizing their individual abilities, and our team trying to maximize who we are and who we’ve become as a team. All the other stuff doesn’t really mean anything.

Q. The flip side of that is a lot of the powers in the east this year with Ohio State and Michigan State, no big secret there. Do you see this year maybe as an opportunity, a special opportunity that you could capitalize on because those teams are not on your schedule?
COACH CHRYST: Personally you focus, I focus just on what matters most, and that is who is on our schedule this year. And I feel and told the kids this and told our staff this, there is not a team on the schedule that we couldn’t beat, and there is not a team on the schedule that we couldn’t lose to. That is the great challenge and opportunities every week you get to play the game.

All the other things are probably things that you guys got to pay attention to. But right now you want to maximize every opportunity you get, and we’ve got 12, and we hope to earn the right to play more.

Q. What did you see from T.J. Edwards in the spring? What was your comfort level with him stepping in there?
COACH CHRYST: I thought T.J. finished the spring, was gaining confidence. I think it carried over. That was one that I know Ross and guys in the weight room talked about. We got to be with him more. So I think he certainly wasn’t perfect in the spring, but I think he did some things where it got him some confidence and he took that confidence and put it into his summer preparation.

So I’m excited to see him tomorrow really going forward because I think that’s a lot of it’s what we’ve got to do as coaches is how do you give a kid confidence, and then that confidence builds him up a little bit. It makes him see something that is maybe more attainable. They become better and that’s how you keep trying to grow.

So I think T.J.’s kind of in that group where he put the work in, he had opportunity, took advantage of it, that gave him some confidence, and he needs to keep building on that.

Q. There was a little bit of a debate while you were in Chicago about whether your program’s an iPhone or a flip phone. Was that a teaching moment, and if so, what was the lesson for your players?
COACH CHRYST: Brian just taught about that that today, absolutely teaching. The point that I thought was accurate that Brian made was that there is a whole context about how you can take part of what you say, and that certainly isn’t what in talking to Corey, you know, he was not trying to be disrespectful in anyway, but it’s a good illustration of what you say and it’s not always going to be the whole context.

Just what you said in the question was there is a statement in that, and it’s not, I don’t think, what Corey meant totally, but they’re all teachable moments.

Q. This group of kids, especially the upperclassmen, have been through a lot of coaching change, position coaches, coordinators, head coaches. How has this group handled them?
COACH CHRYST: I hesitate only because I don’t know, as you get to know them, you only know what you see right now. I think your question of the position coaches, it’s more than just a head coach change. I think the amount of time you spend with your position coach, the amount of time you spend in the weight room, there are a lot of changes. And I think that there was some relief at some positions because some of those older kids who were affected mostly by the change had some familiarity with myself, Rudy, Settle, Ross was around.

It’s a little bit, but I don’t know if that’s a real thing, and none of them would have scripted going through the change that they did. I think that I’ve appreciated the way they’ve allowed us back in. I think that looking back I feel fortunate to have gone through this as a player, myself, and with the last team that I joined. And yet each individual I think the first thing when there is change is how does this affect me? Some it’s a good thing, and some they’re nervous because they liked what they had, and think you’ve got to just acknowledge it and be straight with them all and I think that’s maybe helped in the transition.

But there is a transition. They still don’t know what fall camp is going to be like. They think they know. There are rumors going around. We’ll try to address it with them, but I think they’re getting the idea it’s a great time of the year. The most fun they’ll ever have.

Q. You’ve got, including yourself, some coaches who played here. You’ve got some grad assistants, several of them who have played here. Specifically about the grad assistants, I’m curious, I’m sure you didn’t just add them because of their ties to the program. But in addition to what you think they can add because of what’s between their ears, what can your ties to the program help as an intangible giving to this program?
COACH CHRYST: I think with that group specifically they’ve been in these players’ shoes. Good coaching is helping your players, helping them grow. I think they’ve got enough separation from when they played that they kind of have a clear perspective on it. I’m excited for our players to get to know them and get started. I think Ethan probably played and Antonio played the closest with some of these guys. But even there is some separation.

But all, I think, can bring a unique perspective. I think even just last week we were talking about some of the things just as a staff, and when they spoke I think a lot of our coaches, I was really interested to hear what Billy said, what Ethan said. Because you think as a coach maybe one thing, but is it real? Is it taken that way by the players or what is their perspective?

So I feel really fortunate to have that group of guys and I think last year the same guys said the same things, and I thought it applied. Here it’s probably another couple of layers that it gives you. But you value their opinion wherever you’re at, but I think it’s got a little bit more here because I think they can talk about so many more of the layers that our guys deal with, and it’s good for us. Maybe they don’t even share it with the players all of it, but they do share it with the coaches. I feel really fortunate to have that group of guys. Had to work for that one.

Q. How much of a head start does it give your defense when you’re able to retain a guy like David Aranda and keep the same system on that side of the ball?
COACH CHRYST: Certainly I think there is a comfort level for a lot of the guys. Yet one of the qualities that I appreciate about Dave is that he’s going to try to read and tear it to this group, and there have been changes on defense. So there is still going to be some new learning for guys, and some of it is because guys are in different roles. Some of it is because there is a new person in that.

But I think it’s helped. Especially we’ve got some of our older players; we’ve got some guys on the defensive side of the ball that I’m glad that Vince and Schobert aren’t going through as much new learning. They can focus on getting better and not just learning the playbook.

Q. On the other side of the ball, talk about sometimes the quarterback being an extension of the coaches. Is it the same what is it that coach Rudolph brings to the table that best aligns with your line of thinking and coaching?
COACH CHRYST: Certainly Joe and I are a lot of us we shared a lot of years together and I think believe in a lot of the same core principals approach. Yet I think that we complement each other. So I’ve always enjoyed working with Joe and getting his perspective. I’m excited for this group, individually for the offensive line, but I think for this team to get a feel for. And Joe’s got tremendous passion for the game and for this place.

But I think that on some of the big core stuff, you know, we see it eye to eye, and then if he challenges me in a way that I appreciate, and I think I give him enough headaches that he deals with me.

Q. How do you like where Corey is physically coming into camp given the increased role he’s going to play? And what is the ideal workload for him during camp?
COACH CHRYST: I like the work that he’s done this summer. We talked about this. He’s smart enough to take note of what the guys ahead of him are doing, and that’s a great gift that players can give to each other. He was smart enough to see it, but James and Melvin helped to show him the way.

The load, it’s all projection right now. He doesn’t know. I don’t know because he hasn’t been in that. But I think that he knows what’s coming and that he’s embracing it and he’s excited about that role.

But I couldn’t tell you right now if he’s a guy that you’ve got to say this is X number of carries a game or half or whatever it is, and that’s where we’ve just got to he may have an idea, but he doesn’t know. So I think we’ve just got things you work through.

Notre Dame Football: Coach Brian Kelly’s Press Conference Transcript

18 returning starters, a soft schedule, and top five ranking has Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly ready to get the college football season underway. Here is the transcript from Kelly’s pre-season press conference:

COACH BRIAN KELLY: Sounds like a normal team meeting. How many times do I have to tell you about your parking passes? I mean, it’s a normal day. Good morning, good afternoon. We begin with our press conference talking about team 127, the 127th football team here at the University of Notre Dame. And the significance of that is we think we have a collection of individually talented football players.

But this year is going to be about what kind of team we have and putting that team together. That’s really been the work since our last game is getting this team together and playing as one. I think that most people have looked at this collection of individuals and said, they’ve got a lot of strengths. But we look at it, I look at it as how do we get our players to hold each other to high standards and that’s really what we’ve been working on. We’ve been working on leadership. We’ve seen some leaders emerge.

So a lot of the inside workings have been, for me, putting this team together with a collection of some very talented players and then some inherent strengths. I think I would begin by saying we return a lot of players that have had a real experience, played a lot of games. So if you’re looking at some of the things moving into 2015 where I would immediately bullet point as being positives leading into this season, is that we’ve got a number of guys with a lot of experience.

On the offensive side of the ball, I think we start there, then we look towards play makers. We at the wide receiver position, we’ve got a number of play makers. Guys that can make plays down the field, guys that can make plays in the red zone, and it is our job to make sure that we get those guys opportunities to make plays for us.

I think another strength that we have is our offensive line. I think one of the things that is apparent to us as we look at our football team is that we’re a much more physical group than we were last year. It is, again, an experienced group. Nick Martin, Ronnie Stanley, Steve Elmer, Mike McGlinchey got an opportunity to start against USC and LSU, so we got an opportunity to play against great competition. Those are very, very important pieces in putting together an offensive line.

We think we have some young, talented players that will get a chance to compete, but I think the strength there is experience, size and we now can really say that strength physically that we can match up with anybody.

I think another strength of our offense is our running back situation, and I know many could argue with the depth of it, but we have an established running back in Tarean Folston. He’s experienced. He’s handled the ball in many different circumstances and situations. He’s going to be called on this year to carry a larger load for us as a featured back, but what we like about him is we know what we have there, and he is an established, national caliber running back, and that is a strength for any football team going into the season. We know what he can do coming out of the back field and catch the football. He’s excellent now. He struggled at times, but later in the year he showed himself to be very strong in our protection.

So really having a back that we can count on is a strength. We moved C.J. Prosise there who we think has a home run kind of ability at that position where now he’ll get an opportunity to get a lot of carries at that position as well. Then we’re going to have to see where we go from there. We’ve got some young guys that are talented at the running back position, but I think that’s a strength at that position.

We have a dual threat quarterback, and any time you have a quarterback in Malik Zaire that you feel confident that he could get the ball to your wide receivers as well as balance out the numbers in the running game as somebody that could run the football, it’s a great equalizer in college football today. So having somebody that is committed and established at that position as a dual threat quarterback is definitely a strength within the offense.

I think finally we have some depth at the tight end position. I think we have four tight ends. Five that can help us in certain situations that will allow us multiple formation looks utilizing multiple tight ends. And I think any time that you can get into some formation looks utilizing tight ends that can do more than just one thing.

We have some pass catchers in that group. We have some guys that can play in line. We’ve got some guys that can even work out of the back field in an H back position. So the versatility at that position, I think, we feel really good about that.

So from an offensive standpoint that’s the strengths. Certainly what we have to be able to do is take care of the football. We were careless with the football last year, and that certainly was an area where it came back to hurt us. So taking care of the football, not being careless with the football is absolutely crucial. If we do that, we think we have the chance to be very, very good on offense.

Defensively, quite like on the offensive side of the ball, we have a number of guys who played a lot of football for us. The second year into Coach VanGorder’s nomenclature way of communicating the defensive structure. Certainly everybody is much more comfortable with what they’re doing, what their assignments, what their task is, and we probably have some of the best leaders that we’ve had here at Notre Dame, starting with Joe Schmidt.

Joe Schmidt, his ability to communicate, recall is absolutely off the charts. So having a leader like a Joe Schmidt, certainly a captain last year in Sheldon Day back, and Matthias Farley, another veteran player for us who seems to be always in the right place at the right time, but also a very, very good leader for us.

Jarrett Grace returns, KeiVarae Russell comes back as another outstanding football player, but another very vocal leader who is not afraid to communicate. So, where at times last year we struggled with communication, this year we feel so good about the ability to get the task done defensively because of great communicators in Joe Schmidt and Matthias Farley, Sheldon Day, KeiVarae Russell, just to name a few, and there are others.

But to have that right away coming out of the gate is a definite strength for our defense. Certainly returning KeiVarae with Cole Luke we feel like we have two turners that can compete at the highest level, and I think we all know about Jaylon Smith is one of the most versatile and athletic linebackers in the country. We now feel like he’s in a position where we can get him to do everything, but not complicate it so much that he can’t go play the game and play fast and be the kind of player that he wants to be. So we’re really excited about Jaylon and what he’s been able to do. He’s physically in the best shape. He’s stronger. So getting a chance to really put him in a position to ascend again this year is going to be exciting.

I think Max Redfield, everybody has great off seasons, right? Who doesn’t have a great off season? But Max Redfield and his maturity and the way he’s really come into his own has been really something to see. In just the last few days we’ve had some leadership development, and he’s really taken that step that we were looking for. So having somebody that is an outstanding athlete now bring the other part with him is going to be a great strength for us as well on the back end of our defense.

Depth at the defensive line is always a great thing to have, and we think we have that. I mentioned Sheldon Day, Isaac Rochell, Jarron Jones, certainly Romeo Okwara on the outside. Trumbetti, Cage, Hill, all these guys got an opportunity to play significant snaps last year. So to have that kind of depth on the defensive line is very, very important for us, and we think that that itself is going to lend itself to great continuity on the defensive side.

So if I could wrap it all together, what do you like about your football team? I think we have a number of players that have played a lot of snaps. I love the emergence of the leadership on this team. We have plenty of talent. It is now our job and our players’ job to get that collective talent to play as one, to play as a team. Just as everybody else in the country is on the same goal, it’s to get this team to play together and hold themselves to high standards. If they do that it should be a very, very exciting year.

Couple of roster notes. We have some movement on the roster that I’ll update you on. Just a couple of surgical updates, and I don’t want to steal your thunder, Eric, but just to give some updates.

Nicky Baratti, he’s come back nicely. No instability since his surgery, no restrictions.

Connor is now three to five months post op. He’s had a great June and July, and he’s full go for fall camp.

Jonathan Bonner, so we expect him to really be able to make some great strides coming into camp for us after the injury.

Jarrett Grace just continues to regain all of the power, and he’s going to be a guy that makes an impact for us right away against Texas. So good to see him come back.

Jarron Jones is eight months post op, and he’ll be practicing with us feel really good about where he is moving forward.

James Onwualu had a January surgery on his wrist. He’s recovered well from that. He’ll be splinted for practice, but no limitations as you know.

Joe Schmidt is fully recovered from surgery. Nine months post op, he’s had an excellent summer. He’s plus 400 on the bench, so physically, physically very strong.

Drue Tranquill, eight months post op, no restrictions, some of the notes here: He’s attacked rehab like no other player that we’ve had here in quite some time. He’s ready to go.

We also had a couple guys that couldn’t make it back from some injuries. Mike Heuerman, Mike had two hernia surgeries, and those two hernia surgeries really put him back, in particular not really able to fully weight train, exert any force against the ground, and as you know, this is a ground based sport. A lot of it is the ability to pull weight off the ground, and with a second hernia injury, Mike just wasn’t able to physically do some of the things necessary to continue to play. So he was granted a medical hardship.

And Michael Deeb was granted a medical hardship. He had elbow ligament reconstruction with nerve involvement, and that nerve injury caused his retirement from being able to play.

We also have a transfer. Kolin Hill has decided to transfer. He’s going to go back to Texas, and he has been granted his release to pursue schools in Texas. So those are some of the additions and deletions other than the news you already know, which is Greg Bryant. There was a press release on that.

Special teams, I want to finish up with special teams. Last year we led the FCS in blocked kicks, the most we’ve had since 2006. We had a total of five over the previous four years. We had our best punt returning season since 2009, but we’ve got to break in a new punter and new kicker this year, so that requires us to really look at our preseason through a different lens in a sense that I don’t want to use Texas as the first time that we do some things live. Although you’re very hesitant to go live in special teams, we’ll have to do that in camp and really put our special teams under the microscope in preseason camp and really get a good look at our kickers and punters and really put them in a position where they feel comfortable as much as they can going into their first game.

So that’s going to be very important for us in our preseason in making sure that we get both of those guys the kind of work necessary that they feel comfortable going into the opener, because they’re going to be so important to us.

I think we’ve got a dynamic opportunity with some return guys that we’ll take a look at. Will Fuller started to return for us last year. We’re going to continue to look at him. We’ll continue to evaluate our return game. We started to use C.J. Prosise back there too. So there are a number of guys we’ll continue to look at, but we think we’ve got some weapons in that end of the game as well.

So with that, you know, our team knows where they are. They read the clippings. They know that preseason that a lot of teams are getting accolades. They know that they are. They also know it’s not going to help them beat Texas. Certainly it’s going to be a long road, a difficult road to get to where we want to go. It’s better to be ranked than not be ranked. If you’re not ranked, it makes the road a lot more difficult, so we’re happy to be ranked.

But it certainly doesn’t influence anything that we do on a day to day basis. So the most important thing for our guys is, as I mentioned to you at the very outset, holding each other accountable both on and off the field. Getting the task done. Attention to detail. If they do that, we think we’ve got some really, really good football players. With that, we’ll open it up to questions.

Q. Ishaq Williams, can you clarify what his situation is as you begin?
COACH KELLY: Yes, he is still ongoing, his situation with the NCAA. That process is ongoing. So I don’t have anything specific to report other than I know that process is still ongoing, and he will not practice until we get further information. Look, and there are two that are out there, right? It’s KeiVarae and Ishaq. They’re separate and different and distinctly different cases. So KeiVarae will practice, Ishaq will not, because the cases are different and both of them are going through the process right now.

Q. I know that you might be a little bit hamstrung on what you’re allowed to say about Ishaq’s situation, but do you have a timetable for it, and then if there is even if it’s the worst case scenario and he can’t play in games, will he eventually be allowed to practice?
COACH KELLY: Well, I think once we get clarification from the NCAA with a ruling, then it will make that decision very easy, because he’s in his last season of competition. So I know Ishaq in talking to him has the thought and the goal to play in the NFL, and if we can accommodate him after a decision has been made, whether it’s pro or con, if it’s pro, and we hope it is, he plays. If it’s con, we’ll have to evaluate whether it helps him to practice and work out for that next level, and those are decisions that we’ll have to make once we hear something from the NCAA.

Q. Do you have any idea of a timeframe?
COACH KELLY: I don’t. I think I have a general understanding that this is not going to be a long process for us.

Q. When you mentioned Kolin Hill in the transfer, I think there is a natural inclination by some of us to kind of connect dots to other people in his position that have transferred. You as a coach, do you do that? Do you say, wow, I’ve lost some edge pass rushers, this is concerning? How do you frame that or is every situation a little different?
COACH KELLY: One is from Berrien Springs, Michigan, and one is from Texas. Different circumstances. They are totally different. They just happen to play the same position.

Q. As far as your young quarterbacks behind Malik, how quickly do you want to figure out who your number two is, and what are your impressions of Brandon Wimbush and DeShone from what you heard over the summer, and what you were able to see in OTA?
COACH KELLY: Good question. It’s very important for us having not been able to really solidify the number two position in the spring, for us to have that as a priority, if you will, as well as getting your number one the proper reps. The number two has to get a lot of work, so that is very important to us as we script, as we look at the reps.

So I can tell you that that’s a conversation that’s at the forefront of most of the scripting that goes on in the staff offensive meeting room. So in answering your question, it’s very important. So when do we want that to occur? When it naturally occurs through volume of repetition. So there has to be volume placed to that for both DeShone and Brandon.

Now what have I heard, what have I seen? Over the last couple of days I’ve seen a very mature individual in DeShone Kizer as well as in Brandon Wimbush beyond his years. So I think it will come down to the fact that both of them are capable. We’re going to have to find out who can go out there and be a field general and manage our offense, and that’s really what we’re at next starting today.

Q. When you mentioned the recovery report with Jarrett Grace, with Joe Schmidt, suddenly, as opposed to the last year, you suddenly have a lot of options at middle linebacker. How do you see that playing out? Is Jarrett Grace really a candidate to possibly be a starter? Does any of this affect the way that you might use Jaylon Smith?
COACH KELLY: Well, there are enough reps for all of them, I can guarantee you that. I think very rarely do we ever get put into a position where there’s a Mike linebacker, a Sam linebacker, and a Will linebacker. Somebody’s displaced, somebody’s kicked over. There is the ability to play two at one time. Game plans change from week to week. We play two option teams in Georgia Tech and Navy. There are so many variables in that question relative to if you just look at it from one perspective and say, well, how are you going to get all those Mike linebackers out there? That’s a valid point.

But the reality of it is that with the different offenses that we see each and every week, there is enough reps for all those guys to play meaningful minutes and really impact every game we play.

Q. As far as the late arriving freshmen, the guys who came in in June, is there anybody that jumped out at you in June or jumped out at you with your conversations with Paul Longo or the other players who you say, hmm, this is somebody I want to keep my eye on early here in camp to see if they can help us?
COACH KELLY: Well, I think we would naturally go back to where we’re still building the depth, and that is the cornerback position. So Crawford, Coleman in particular, those two guys have shown some things that will allow us to continue to hope that somebody can compete for us as a freshman. Ashton White. Who am I missing at corner? Those are the three, right? The freshmen. So there is the hope there that those guys can come in and give us some quality reps.

There is probably a better chance on defense, because we’re pretty deep on the offensive side of the ball, except I think the one guy that’s really impressed everybody unanimously in terms of being ready to play is probably (Indiscernible) Jones. Physically he’s capable of playing, size, skillset, he has all those tools. If you just look at numbers that jump off the chart, you’d have to say Boykin. Boykin, I don’t know if I’ve seen the kind of numbers that he’s put up close to a 38.5 inch vertical jump, physically strong, 15 times 225, just really impressive, impressive numbers. And I would say that that goes for, as a freshman class, across the board all of them are physically very, very talented.

Q. How often do you guys reassess that to go along with how you’re recruiting that position, obviously, without getting into the specifics here, how often in the last week have you had discussions about how you recruit that position?
COACH KELLY: Our focus will not be look, the Wimbush Kizer situation is establishing the two. Those two guys are not impacting our recruiting. We know what we have there. We’ll continue to recruit for ’16 and ’17. So those two guys really we have a great understanding of what their skillset is, so I don’t think they impact ’16 and ’17 for us. I think we’ve already made that decision that we want to take a ’16, and we want to take a ’17.

Q. Follow up on KeiVarae. Is there any concern that he won’t be ruled eligible?
COACH KELLY: The information that I’ve gotten back from Jack Swarbrick and our athletic administration is that we’ve submitted everything. We feel confident in the information that we have submitted to the NCAA, and we feel very strong about his eligibility. We certainly were guided through this process in terms of what he needed to do. He went out and did that, but it’s now out of our hands. But we feel strong about we feel strongly about checking the boxes and doing the things that we were required to do along the way.

Q. When spring ended there were competition at the quarterback. Now Malik has the position. What have you seen, and how has he changed? Have you seen him develop as a leader? Is he more confident? Does the fact that there is no competition this year, does that make it easier because you can give him so much more time and reps?
COACH KELLY: Well, couple of answers here. One, he has such a thirst for the game and wanting to know so much that we actually have to slow him down a little bit. He was in the elite 11. He wanted to expose himself to more coaches and as much information. He’s somebody that loves the game and wants to be around the game all the time. Sometimes you worry about him in that sense, that he’s got too much information. But I think he’s done a good job of making sure that the important stuff is important. There are a lot of philosophies out there. So in answering your question, I think what it’s done for him is it’s motivating even more to go out there and be the best quarterback that he can be. He has such a he’s so driven and loves to play the game so much that we at times have to pull him back a little bit.

As a leader, he has some natural innate ability to stand in front of the group. What we’re working on is clarity in message. Tendency to get a little emotional in the way he talks, and you guys have interviewed him. He goes off on tangents a little bit, so we have to reel him in a little bit, and he’ll do that a little bit in front of the group, and that’s fine because he’s comfortable in front of the group.

So we like where he is. He’s developing and he’s on track to do the things necessary to be the kind of leader that you need to be at Notre Dame at the quarterback position.

Q. Having a quarterback that seems to be better at the read option, and talk about the offensive line, do you expect it to be one of your better running teams since you’ve been here?
COACH KELLY: Well, I think we definitely have two of the elements that required that are required. One is a veteran experienced offensive line that’s physical at the point of attack and a quarterback that can certainly even out the numbers. So without knowing what happens, we may, first five games, get teams that are putting eight, nine guys on the line of scrimmage, and I’ve got a talented wide receiver core and you’re telling us to throw the football to him. I don’t want to put myself in that position because we’re going to throw the football. This really shows itself to be a group that should be able to control the line of scrimmage running the football.

Q. It’s been a while since Notre Dame had a coach going on its sixth season here.
COACH KELLY: Is there a long story to this?

Q. I was going to ask you, going into this and having the experience, how do you think this helps you? What have you learned at Notre Dame that you think can help you? Maybe something you didn’t know in year two or year three?
COACH KELLY: Without being glib or wisecracking, for all those coaches that were here less than six years, they all wrote books, right? They had many stories to tell. I’m on my sixth year. I could write several books of what I’ve learned, and what I continue to learn every day. So we’ve made incredible progress, in so many areas that are centered around our student athletes, and it’s not just me. It’s the support from Jack and the university to continue to move our program forward. It’s a competitive business out there. With us wanting excellence both in the classroom and on the football field it requires you to look inward every single day as to what you need to do to achieve both of those goals, and that’s maybe where we’re rolling up our sleeves every day is that we’re looking at both of those every single day, not just one. Not just building new facilities and new locker rooms. We’re looking at both. So learned a lot. I think we made great progress in enhancing the experience for our student athlete while keeping the ultimate goal here in mind, and that is excellence in the classroom and on the football field.

Q. You mentioned leadership with Max Redfield, could you give us examples over the last couple days of what you’ve seen from him specifically that makes you feel like maturity wise he’s taken a step?
COACH KELLY: Well, I think different people get to that level for different reasons. Max has gotten to that level through some real life experience, and I think Max has realized how important football is to him. Academics is very important to him. It’s always been important to him. I think he’s seeing how important football is to him as well. That also he has a gift. That gift is he’s a great communicator, if given the chance. We gave him a chance the last couple of days to lead and get in front of his peers, and it was well received.

So sometimes you’ve just got to give somebody that chance. And when he was given that chance, he really took hold. That builds an incredible amount of confidence in somebody that, well, if I can do this in front of my entire team, I can certainly do it for the safety and the two corners in communicating.

So I think some real life experiences where he got his head around, I could be great at this game of football, and then putting him in a situation where he could go out and really lead.

Q. Situations like that where there’s Max or Malik, are you also watching everybody to see how the players are responding?
COACH KELLY: Absolutely. Absolutely. Yeah, we’re looking at body language. Who is sitting up in their chair. Who is focused. But more importantly, we’re looking at the guy next to him because, like right now, Angelo’s not paying attention. Right there. He’s not paying attention to anything. I’d want you to hit him right in the head because I’m saying some great stuff right now and he’s not paying attention. I want him locked in.

So part of it is that peer accountability, and I’m certainly using an analogy here, but that’s what we’re looking for more than anything else is that those guys that are not in those designated, singular leadership roles will hold others. If they’re not doing it the right way, you don’t have to have a C. You don’t even have to be regarded as a potential leader, but you can hold that guy who is not doing it the right way, you can hold him accountable.

Q. On an injury front, Jarron Jones, is he a no restriction guy?
COACH KELLY: He’s a no restriction guy.

Q. So he’ll have a full camp of activity?
COACH KELLY: Now we’re going to be smart. Anybody that has that kind of injury at his size we’re going to be smart with. But he’s a full go guy. But Rob Hunt and I will have conversations. Keith Gilmore, and we’ll be smart with him. We’re not going to grind him outcoming off of that surgery. But if he’s walking in right now, he has no restrictions off of that surgery.

Q. Big picture of you set a distinction between the components on the team and actually having a team and you have to put that together. So it’s probably not a fair question to ask if you feel like this is your best team on August 5th or 6th on a day like today? But do you feel this is the best group of components?
COACH KELLY: This is the deepest group of components. I think every year you’d say well, I’d like to have Michael Floyd or I’d like to have Martin or I’d like to have this guy. But I think a collection of depth within the overall football team, yes. However that doesn’t get it done for you. It’s how this group comes together. How they overcome adversity. How they stay together, hold each other accountable, that will be the mix.

Q. On a leadership issue, do you feel like for the first time in a while your best players are also your best leaders?
COACH KELLY: Well

Q. Not to take anything away from Zack Martin.
COACH KELLY: I was going to say. I think what we have, and I’m not trying to evade the specific question, we’ve developed better leadership. Part of that is on me. I think I’ve done a better job of developing the leadership on this football team, because our guys want to lead. We just need to do a better job of helping them, and I think it’s the best we’ve had.

Q. C.J. learning the new position, what’s he still have to pick up necessarily and what could he have picked up over the summer not working with the ball?
COACH KELLY: Well, I think he worked with the ball; it’s just we weren’t there. He better have. I really think it’s the nuances of the position. He’s got a lot of experience. He knows how to run with the football. We saw him run against LSU with the ball underneath his arm. We’ve run him before. Obviously, we didn’t run him north and south. We ran him east and west.

So becoming more comfortable running north and south and being patient. The biggest thing with running backs is their patience and letting the offensive line work in unison and work up to that next level. I mean, that is the most difficult thing. So patience as a running back, and then what you see, trust it.

So early indications, and this is why we stuck with C.J., was that he saw something and he stayed committed to it. If we put him in there and it was just something different every time, we probably or I probably wouldn’t have had as much public confidence in his ability to do the job. But when he sees something, he takes it, and he’s committed to what he sees.

Now, he’s not right all the time, so to answer your question, I think it’s just more of that what you see, trust it, go with it, and just continue to be patient with what’s happening in front of you.

Q. You mentioned earlier that being able to go to more multiple tight end sets, how important is that when you have a quarterback like Malik who runs the read option as well as he does?
COACH KELLY: Just more versatility. Look, defenses don’t like two tight ends on the field. It messes up their situational substitution pattern. They just don’t like it. You ask any defensive coach in America. They see two tight ends on the field, it cuts their call sheet down. So it’s just more versatility to our offense when you can start to use two and maybe three tight end sets with some open sides to the formations too, because I can split out Durham Smythe and still have maybe two tight ends or three tight ends. I can split out Alize Jones and still have two tight ends or maybe three tight ends.

So it just gives us more versatility. Then on the next play I can be in a power set formation and going. You know, you better not be in nickel. You’ve got to go out and cover Jones or you’ve got to go out and cover Smythe with a linebacker. So versatility is what it gives you.

Q. It’s obvious the ceiling is pretty high, or you think the ceiling is very high for your team this year?
COACH KELLY: Have I said that?

Q. No, but I mean, I think in talking about the team in general, you guys feel good about going into the season.
COACH KELLY: Yeah, but I think I made it clear we’ve got to come together as a team.

Q. Sure, no doubt about it. My question to you, and I know as coaches you’re just worried about having a good practice tomorrow
COACH KELLY: I’m more worried about the buses (laughing).

Q. But do you discourage playoff national title talk among the team? Is that counter productive to what you want to do on a daily basis? Do the coaches dangle that carrot out there for the players?
COACH KELLY: Well, they know what the mission is. Everybody knows the mission, and that is we don’t play fair conference championship. So they’re smart kids. They know what the mission is. They know how difficult it is to complete the mission. And the only way to complete that mission is to stay focused and stay on task and stay incredibly disciplined day to day or they can’t accomplish that.

They know what they want to accomplish, but they also know, because it is driven home every single day, there is no way they get there if they’re thinking in those global terms.

Q. So you don’t necessarily encourage that line of thinking? I mean, you won’t have coaches saying, hey, you need to do this for us to be a playoff level team?
COACH KELLY: Well, we talk in terms of championships, absolutely. For us to be a championship football team there has to be an a tension to detail. For us to be a championship football team you have to hold each other accountable. For us to be a championship football team, we talk in those terms every single day. So however that is couched, that is out there. But do I get up there and talk about being on the cover of “Sports Illustrated”? No. Do I get there and talk about, hey, I want to get to the playoffs? No. They know what the mission is. They know when they come to Notre Dame what the mission is. We talk about how do we get there. That’s where we spend most of our time.

Q. Right after the Music City Bowl I asked you a question about a two quarterback system and then you worked with that in the spring. The situation has changed obviously. Does that kind of ease some of your trepidation of a two quarterback system? I don’t think you’ve ever been really comfortable with that. I mean, with two quarterbacks is the playbook too broad? Does it ease some of your trepidation that you can hone in and focus in with one guy?
COACH KELLY: Well, it’s certainly there is no doubt that it allows you to be more focused on the skills of your quarterback and then how it filters out to everybody on that offense, right? So you really can focus in on what he does. So by having Malik, we know exactly what we want to do and we don’t have to think about we’ve got to do this with the other quarterback. We’ve got to make sure we get this installed because we’ve got this other quarterback can do this. That makes it so much easier to really focus on that one quarterback and what his skillset is for sure.

Q. The motto apparently for you guys is culture over scheme this year, and you kind of touched upon team 127 and team first. Who comes up with those phrases? Why is that phrase important to this team?
COACH KELLY: Well, I think the culture being what I just talked about. It’s not X’s and O’s. It’s not individuals. It’s not anything about singular. It’s team 127. It’s the culture of this program which means you hold each other accountable, there is an attention to detail. The mission is more important than keeping your guys happy. It’s really about that, and that goes to culture and that mindset.

So I want to establish because we knew, like you guys know, we know we’ve got a collection of good players. That’s not going to win. But culture will win. If everybody’s bought into that culture, if everybody’s bought into team because some guys are going to have to give up some carries and some guys are going to have to give up some accolades for this team to get to the playoffs, and that’s why we push that messaging.

Q. Coaches have been in a business, whatever line of coaching, where they tend to say it’s harder to get guys to buy into team than it was 10 years ago, 20 years ago. Is that accurate as far as you can see?
COACH KELLY: I just think that maybe coaches aren’t as demanding about those things. Look, every player comes to us with great accolades. They’re being told they’re the very best that there’s ever been. They’ve got parents that love them. They love them too much. They can’t do anything wrong, right? So it’s incumbent upon us to make sure they’re doing it the right way every single day. It’s a little bit harder for them to tell their peer that they’re not doing it the right way, so that’s a little bit harder. But they want that. I think coaches have to demand it from them.

Q. Malik has a relatively small body of work on game days, albeit an impressive one. What do you see as the areas he most needed to improve over the next month? In terms of his overall improvement, how much can be done in practice, and how much does he need game experience now?
COACH KELLY: Well, technically, he has some work to do. He went out and spent some time with Trent Dilfer. Trent and I have been able to communicate a great deal on some of the things that he’s doing in stride frequency. He gets the ball lost behind him a little bit. It’s overstrides a little bit. So if you want to get technical on things, he has some technical things he’s got to clean up a little bit. Just technical things about being really clear on how we’re doing things.

As I mentioned, and I think Eric asked the question about Malik or maybe not, he has a lot of thoughts going on. And sometimes a little bit too much going on. We really sometimes have to just get him focused on this simple phrase. Do it this way all the time. There is no other way to do it. Don’t vary from this, and he’s getting better at that. Not because he doesn’t want to do it, he just has so much going on sometimes we just have to get him focused on just want you to do it this way, no other way, every single time. He has a little bit of some things that we work on technically and then just staying on track, and he’s making that progress.

Q. You were able to be aggressive with him running the ball in the bowl game, but you had another quarterback that was seasoned. Are you going to be able to do that all the time this year with no experience behind him?
COACH KELLY: I think so, yeah. I think the game will dictate certainly those situations. But he’ll be involved in our running game. I don’t want to put a number on it, but certainly one of our strengths is his ability to run the football. Big, strong, physical kid, so I’m very confident that he’ll be able to neutralize the things that we’re looking for that defenses tend to do to negate a running game. He’ll put them in a very difficult position.

Q. Does your depth at running back at all make you consider what you do with Prosise in the return game in terms of maybe not wanting to put him back there as much?
COACH KELLY: No, we’ll protect him a little bit more in special teams other than the return game. He was on a lot of running teams. But we’ll have to be careful with him on some of our running teams and special teams.

Q. Lastly, what are your impressions of the last time you what kind of player was KeiVarae Russell the last time you saw him here? I’m not sure how much of him you’ve seen this summer, but any impressions on him?
COACH KELLY: He was an emerging player for us, an emerging player, gaining confidence every single day, to the point where he was somebody that I think was playing his best football at the end of the year and had a great spring for us.

So, again, from what Coach Longo has turned over to us, high expectations for him to come in and continue to build on that.

Q. You mentioned the intangibles, going to make a lot of difference whether that good talent turns into a championship. And you mentioned, it’s going to be important for these guys to hold each other to a higher standard. It seems like anytime the summer is quiet, that’s usually what’s going on. It’s three and a half months, but was the summer what you hoped it would be?
COACH KELLY: It was. It was. It was one where our guys, I probably would have liked them to do a little better in the classroom, but overall they made good decisions. They were active in the community. They were attentive to all of the workouts. But I thought it was a very good summer from that decision making standpoint other than maybe a couple of guys in the classroom.

But, yes, I would definitely say from that standpoint good decisions were made.

Q. You mentioned the returning veterans and the leaders and the freshmen that were coming in. Anybody so far in your couple years into training camp and solid meals and weight room, all of a sudden somebody can emerge, a sophomore, junior walks by and you go, wow? Couple of names maybe that have given you that excitement?
COACH KELLY: I think one guy that’s transformed himself really in just a very short period of time is Tristen Hoge. Physically, I didn’t think he was able to compete at the highest level when he came in as a mid year enrolle and rightly so. He should be in high school. But he is over 300 pounds, physically so much stronger. We’re going to have to find some second team reps for him somewhere to see where he matches up with Bivin and McGovern, and see where he is, because he’s physically impressive what he’s done in a very short period of time. I’d say that’s one guy on offense in particular.

Nic Weishar’s made very good progress physically on the offensive side of the ball. When he walks by now he doesn’t look like a basketball player in terms of he filled out. He just looked like this tall guy to me, now he’s physically filled out nicely.

I’d say, from a defensive standpoint, Nick Watkins is probably the guy that’s impressed me the most from the summer. He really looks good physically. I think those are guys that are freshmen, sophomore, red shirt, whatever you call them guys that have really made that jump physically where now you look at him and go oh okay, they’re ready now to go in there and let’s really see what they’ve got.

Q. From a locker room and chemistry standpoint, what has KeiVarae brought? He’s obviously a loud voice and a guy that’s set the tone wherever he goes. What do you think his addition will mean for the defensive room in general?
COACH KELLY: He has a presence. He communicates loudly. I love that. And it’s very positive, extremely positive. He’s not a guy that’s running around screaming at somebody. When he says something, there is a positive note to it, a very positive note to it. That is well received. Now he’s loud, extremely loud. And with that loudness sometimes you would think, well, it’s going to be on the other end of that loud scheme of things. It’s not. It’s extremely positive. He brings a positive energy and really is that positive energy guy that you really need.

Cole is hard working. We need him to be more vocal, Cole Luke. He’s getting there. But KeiVarae right now gives us that energy guy that we need back there.

Q. Just to clarify in terms of (No microphone) as far as you know, is everything going back to last August, I know there were talks of vacating and this and that.
COACH KELLY: I don’t know. I’m not certain if that ends it or if there is another level that covers the entire team. I’m not certain I have not been involved in anything about the eligibility of those two players.

Q. Going back to last year, I know a lot of us like to probably make too much good or bad about a way a team finishes in a bowl game and how that carries over to the next season. But with what you were able to do against LSU the way the regular season ended, how do you feel that can have the carry over effect that sometimes they make it out to be?
COACH KELLY: Oh, it definitely helps. Certainly winning your last game helps everything from a psyche, morale, all those things. Now it’s all about what they do moving forward. That game was over, and it was what they did moving forward. It was the decisions they made, and this is what I told them, it’s the decisions you make after this game will determine whether this game meant anything. If you guys come back after this game and don’t give us all that you have and all of these areas, that game doesn’t mean anything. But it gives you that platform of, look, we can do this if you do these things. And by and large, they have.

Q. Same things might have gone wrong for Greg Bryant this summer?
COACH KELLY: Look, there’s look, every year that I’ve been a football coach we have to counsel our players, every year, whether it’s Greg Bryant or it’s the best players on our team. They have to make good decisions and sometimes they don’t. It doesn’t make him a bad kid. It just means that he needs to continue to grow and continue to learn, and hopefully he’ll take this situation that he’s dealing with and learn from it. But I don’t know that I could speak to what he did wrong specifically other than he needs to continue to make good decisions.

Q. Does he plan on working through this and joining you guys again for next season?
COACH KELLY: We’re still talking. We’re still talking. I’d like to have Greg back if Greg’s committed to getting his degree at Notre Dame. He’s got to be committed. He’s got to be committed. If he’s committed to getting his degree at Notre Dame, committed to utilizing the resources that we have here, I’d love to have Greg Bryant back.

Q. With Greg out of the lineup, does that solidify that C.J. will work exclusively at running back, or has he moved back and forth during the spring?
COACH KELLY: No, he’ll stay there. He’ll stay at the running back position.

Q. You have two other freshmen coming in, competing at the running back position. Is there any thought about maybe giving some audition, whether it’s Amir Carlisle who had played there before or Justin Brent played there as a high school senior, is there anybody else you would be maybe looking at for that position?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, we’re going to move Justin Brent there and give us something. There is a deep pool of talent at the wide receiver position right now. I don’t know. It’s going to be hard to get him a lot of reps at wide receiver. But we’re going to take a look at him at running back, see if he can give us something there. He’s big and strong and physical. Essentially what I told him is if he takes the ball and runs downhill north and south, doesn’t bounce it outside, because I’m sure I’ve got two freshmen who are going to want to bounce it outside every time they touch it. If he takes it and he goes downhill and he plays physical, I’ll find some carries for him and I’ll get him on every special team. If he wants to do that, then I think I can get him some playing time. If not, I think it’s going to be hard for him to get on the field because we have such great depth at the wide receiver position. Will it work? I don’t know. But he is a very gifted athlete. He’s big, he’s strong, so we’ll give it a shot and see if it does anything for us.

Q. Was that decision prompted because of Greg’s ineligibility?
COACH KELLY: Oh, sure, it was definitely prompted because of the lack of depth at the position.

Q. You had a season with Michael Floyd where he caught a hundred passes, and then the next year, nobody caught more than 50, but it was an extremely well rounded core. And Will Fuller broke out with a tremendous sophomore season, nobody else caught more than 40, though you had good balance after. Are you looking for Will to maybe elevate his game to where he is that consistent 80, 90, maybe even a 100 catch guy? Or are you looking more for other receivers to emerge in a maybe better balanced attack to put pressure on defenses?
COACH KELLY: Well, I think Will’s numbers will still be high because of his versatility. As you know, he’s a deep ball threat player but can also catch the short, quick slant and the screen game. So when you talk about volume of catches, they have to have versatility at that position. So any time you accumulate that many catches, you have to have versatility at that position.

Conversely, Corey Robinson is a down the field player, not a great screen guy. Not somebody that is naturally working in and out on screen game. So I think you’re going to see volume there still, but I think you’re going to see Chris Brown, Torii Hunter, Amir Carlisle. I think you’re going to see a lot of catches around them as well. But I don’t know that you’ll see any drop off in a Will Fuller in terms of catches because he has such great versatility in terms of what he can do.

Q. We’ve talked about Jaylon Smith and the versatility that he can provide maybe at linebacker, both on the edge or on the inside there. Is Sheldon Day somebody who can provide something like that too along the defensive line? We all looked at he was given credit for one sack last year, even though he had plenty of quarterback pressures. Could he be somebody that can be effective maybe on the edge as well?
COACH KELLY: I think in our defensive structure he will not always be lining up as a three technique, so he’ll be moved around to maximize his ability certainly. We think he’s a better pass rusher outside than he is inside, so we’ll move him around and give him the chance to impact games. But it will be call determined based upon what the front situation is. But, again, going back to your question, he’s not somebody we want to just lock down inside. We want to be able to move him around.

Q. You’ve addressed this question many times before about the left tackle. Because you have a left handed quarterback, was there any thought at all of moving Ronnie Stanley to the right side, or is it really irrelevant in this style of offense you’re running?
COACH KELLY: We had a conversation about it, but the kind of things that we’re going to do, I think if we were strictly going to be a dropback team, we gave it some thought. But we’re going to be doing a lot of things with Malik with our play action game and boots and pocket, that it doesn’t put the onus on the right tackle because of what we’re going to be doing in the passing game, moving the launch point.

Q. You had talked early that the offensive line was one of the groups that you initially talked about being a group that you had a lot of confidence going into the season. With a group like that it sort of settled with the exception of left guard you kind of knew who was going to be where. Is there anything you do differently in camp to build around that group or is it just you go along the way you normally do and that group kind of steps up and does its thing?
COACH KELLY: Well, we’re still well, first of all, I would say that some of the big differences are it starts with Nick Martin. It’s a different guy from last year. Fully healed, healthy, over 300 pounds. He was 286 coming into camp last year. Really wasn’t able to squat. Just a different football player. So it will be fun to watch him go out and compete. It’s the left guard position that we need to continue to see and work because that’s Nelson and Bars. Then solidifying the back up position with Mustipher. And then finally what is going to happen at right tackle. Who is going to emerge as that next guy? Hunter Bivin’s been working at the left tackle position. What is going to happen at right tackle? So a lot of the action that I’ve just mentioned is in that next group, other than the left guard. So let that first group gain continuity, experience together, calls together, and then really try to solidify that second unit.

Q. Last year at this time you kind of went into the season as you headed into Rice, your second string defensive line was a lot of young guys that never played, Matuska was a red shirt freshmen, you had a lot of red shirt freshmen. Those guys are now older and they’ve been in the weight room a year. What kind of flexibility, confidence, whatever the case may be, does that give you in your defensive line knowing you have so many more even Isaac Rochell was a sophomore last year.
COACH KELLY: I know.

Q. What’s that do for you guys now that you have that much more experience?
COACH KELLY: I sleep better. I know that. Thinking about all those freshmen that we had to play. Then the guys that we had to lineup at USC, it just gives me a nightmare. Then I come back and think of where we are right now, it’s just a different unit. Being able to play a lot of them. They know what to expect and they know what we want from them, really I know it’s less than a year, but it feels like two years removed from where we were last year at this time.

Q. C.J. had played a lot of special teams last year. I think led the team in special teams tackles. You had Tarean Folston on some of the coverage teams, Daniel, Carlisle. Does the incoming freshmen class you’ve talked about there is strength, but there are a lot of skill guys. Nick Watkins is a year older. Does that group give you some flexibility to maybe get some of your guys that are going to be touching the ball a little bit more on offense a chance to get off of those and still feel like you’re putting a high quality group out there?
COACH KELLY: Yeah, I just looked at our kickoff team and spent some time on the personnel. We’re going to put five seniors on that kickoff team. So even though for a true freshman to get on, other than (Indiscernible), for a true freshman to get on that team, he’s really going to have to do something extraordinary for us, and we’re going to go live in our special teams. So he’ll get a chance.

But Avery Sebastian was an outstanding special teams player at Cal. Nick Ossello who is with us was an all conference ACC player in Lacrosse. There is a big, physical kid that we can plug in right away who is a mature, mature kid. We’re going to use Nick Watkins, Devin Butler, Matthias Farley, Drue Tranquill, those guys right away, Nyles Morgan. I think we’re going to have a mature group, some veteran guys on there that are going to really enhance that group without having to throw a bunch of true freshmen out there and running them down the field. I think we can play veteran players that played last year and are ready to really impact.

Arizona Football: Rich Rodriguez’s Transcript

A softer, kinder Rich Rodriguez is now coaching, he claims. The head football coach at University of Arizona spoke about how he has changed as a football coach at his Pac 12 media days press conference.

COACH RODRIGUEZ: Just a couple brief remarks. Did you all know it was the hundredth anniversary of the Pac-12? Just making sure. It’s exciting.
Let’s see. I’ve got two outstanding players here. David Richards, senior wide receiver, and Will Parks, senior safety. That’s good. Got some good players returning. Got a quarterback coming back, and that’s a good thing. I said this, am I excited to be here? I’d rather be practicing, watching film, golfing or at the lake, but I appreciate you all coming. That’s the truth.
We had a pretty good year last year. Really proud of the way the guys competed. Lost some key players on the offensive line, some key players on defense at safety and up front, but we got some good players coming back, and we’ve got a lot of good skill players, I think.
Our schedule is unique. We have 12 straight games and no open dates. Not happy about that. There’s nothing I can do about it, but that’s going to be a unique challenge.
Pac-12 is really good. That’s true. Pac-12 south is really good. That’s true. And University of Arizona is a great school to go to, get a degree, play football at. Tucson, Arizona, great city. If you haven’t been there, you need to come visit us. With that said, I’ll open it up for questions.

Q. Can you talk about how competitive the Pac-12 South is?
COACH RODRIGUEZ: How competitive it is? Well, the Pac-12 south, I think it’s always been good, but what’s changed is the commitment to football in our league in general and in the Pac-12 south, in particular is unprecedented. I mean, everybody’s putting money into the programs, reinvesting in football, so to speak. I think a lot of the talent that’s been out west that maybe had left the western part of the country going somewhere else is now staying out here because they see that commitment. We’re one of them.
But the other schools in our division and in our league are doing it. So I think the Pac-12 south is probably going to be better this year than it’s ever been. The Pac-12 will be better than it’s ever been, and I think it’s going to stay that way into the future.

Q. Do you feel like the Pac-12 is getting the respect nationally it deserves?
COACH RODRIGUEZ: Yeah, I mean, I think there are always some arguments about which league is the best, which division is the best, and that’s good for debate. I don’t worry about it. Hell, I’m trying to get a first down in a first game. I don’t think when you line up middle of the fourth quarter and it’s hot and you’ve played 200 plays already and the guy’s worried about crossing the line. Wondering I wonder if we’re getting respect as the Pac-12 south? Hell, just try to get the first down and get a stop.
But I think if you look at the non-conference results and you look at the bowl results, I think the conference as a whole stands pretty good.

Q. Did the poll yesterday surprise you?
COACH RODRIGUEZ: Tell me about it. There were several polls.

Q. Pac-12 south came in fourth?
COACH RODRIGUEZ: Fourth? You know, is that where we were picked last year?

Q. I think so, yeah.
COACH RODRIGUEZ: Good, that’s a good sign. Somebody told me, maybe you’ll know. There was some poll, I don’t know, some expert poll that gave us a 2% chance, is that what it was? Hey, it’s like that dumb and dumber. What are the chances of me, a guy like me getting with a girl like you, like one in a hundred? One in a million? More like one in a million. So you’re telling me there is a chance. So 2% is better than one in a million, right?

Q. Do you like the underdog role?
COACH RODRIGUEZ: Yeah, I guess. I’ve been in situations where we’ve been the league favorite to win in situations like last year or this year where nobody would predict you’d win. 2% would be a pretty good T-shirt to make or a hat or something. But if it motivates your guys to run an extra sprint on their own or something, maybe it will be good. But when you’re lined up in the fourth quarter and you’re hot and tired and you’re like, you know, the ESPN media poll picked us to have 2%, I think I’m going to shut her down. I don’t think it makes a difference.

Q. Where has Anu Solomon made the biggest strides from last season?
COACH RODRIGUEZ: Probably in the spring. He was a little bigger, little faster, little stronger. Had a better knowledge of the offense. I thought he did really well last year in his first year as a starter, and I said this quite a bit yesterday. I think the other part of it is we know what his strengths and weaknesses are at crunch time as well.
So I think he’s not a rah-rah guy. He’s a good leader, but he’s a little bit more quiet in that respect. But he’s worked extremely hard in the off-season, and it’s important to him. It’s the up with thing I can assure you about Anu Solomon that football’s important to him and he’s going to be a better player every year.

Q. What are his strengths?
COACH RODRIGUEZ: If I knew, I wouldn’t tell you because maybe you’re friends with the defensive coordinator from UCLA or ASU or something. Oh, he can throw pretty good. He’s a better runner than you think. He’s a strong kid. One of the strengths I think he has, which is kind of a new quality is that when we do have an open guy he usually finds him and hits him. I always use the story Shaun King who played for me at Tulane and we went undefeated that year. He had a phenomenal year. Everybody asked what were his greatest strengths?
In that year he never missed an open touchdown throw. In other words, you call a play and it matched up right and the guy’s going to be open for the touchdown, and the quarterback missed him or he underthrew it or overthrew it, I think Shaun was a hundred percent that year. And Anu is not a hundred percent, but he’s pretty good with that.

Q. Why didn’t you bring Scooby?
COACH RODRIGUEZ: Scooby’s not a senior. Couple reasons. I always brought seniors and there is nothing wrong with bringing underclassmen. But I thought maybe if I didn’t bring him he would want to come here so bad next year that he’d come back for his senior year. Yeah.

Q. Good strategy?
COACH RODRIGUEZ: Yeah, so that’s actually Scooby probably is thanking me as we speak that he can be in the weight room right now and doing a few more curls. He might be getting another tattoo. I think he had a two-star Scooby; he might be putting one on that says “Still two-star Scooby.” We’ll talk about him quite a bit. The legend of Scooby Wright grows, but he’s earned every bit of it.

Q. Can his story be repeated? He can’t do what he did last year ever again?
COACH RODRIGUEZ: Yeah, kind of out of nowhere, unrecruited guy that nobody knew about and wins all the awards. I think Daniel heard kind of a Scooby Wright story. We had probably the best practice field in the country. Can I get some recruiting in here? We’ve got the best practice field in the country. Big billboard with all our First Team All-Americans on the picture there. It’s not like anywhere else in the country.
Anyway, before spring ball, Scooby who doesn’t say a lot anyway, kind of had this look saying, Coach, you’re not going to put my picture up on that wall?
I said, yeah, you’re First Team All-American. Ka’Deem Carey’s up on there, you deserve that. And Scooby said, can you wait until I’m done playing here? Because he knows if you put his picture up on the wall and he misses a tackle at practice or does something wrong we’re going to tease him relentlessly like Mr. All-American right there, Scooby Wright, missed his tackle. So I granted his wishes. But what I should have said is if you promise to play two more years at Arizona, then I won’t put your picture up on the wall. But Scooby could care a less about that stuff.

Q. So you’re not putting it up per his wishes until he leaves?
COACH RODRIGUEZ: That’s right. Unless he threatens –unless he leaves after his junior year, then I’m going to put it up before the season’s over. But he may not tell me until then. He’s pretty smart.

Q. Do you think the days of defensive players winning the Heisman are over?
COACH RODRIGUEZ: Oh, yes, it’s going to be hard. I think with the way offenses can score and put up numbers today just kind of the glamour that they’ll get on that side of the ball, it would be extremely hard, no matter what numbers you put up.
I was kind of tickled that Scooby and some of the defensive guys got some recognition last year. He had great numbers because he’s a great player, but I don’t see a defensive guy get it. You have to be really, really dominant to win that trophy. But I think does a defensive player deserve it sometimes? Probably, but I don’t think it’s going to happen.

Q. What about a running back? It’s happened once in the last 15 years. And you’re a guy that’s produced it here.
COACH RODRIGUEZ: Yeah, we’ve had a bunch of thousand yard rushers. I think a running back can. But frankly, this is a team sport, but the most important position in football is quarterback. Let’s make no bones about it. I don’t think you can win big without quality play at that position at any level, pro, college, high school.
So that being said, that means a quarterback has the most pressure on him. He’s going to get the most spotlight. I know my sons. I tell him that all the time. He’s a pretty confident fella, so he can handle it.

Q. During games, where will things be different for Scooby Wright?
COACH RODRIGUEZ: I think people said, well, there will be more. I think by the end of last year we moved him around quite a bit. People knew where the number 33 was. I think it will be more so this year. But Scooby’s worked hard. In the spring and looking at him I think he’s better now than he was a year ago, and he’d probably tell you the same thing when you get a chance to talk to him. But I don’t –because he’s a year older in the system. But I don’t know. We’ll try to do some special things because he’s a better athlete than what people maybe have projected. But he’s worked hard on his craft. That’s the thing I love about Scooby. We call it OKG. He’s our kind of guy. He still has the same chip on his shoulder as he did the day we recruited him.

Q. What have you seen from Will Parks in the secondary?
COACH RODRIGUEZ: Yeah, Will’s been a good player for us and what we’ve considered a starter the last couple years. The difference now is that the three seniors we had at safety played a lot of football. They were kind of the leaders back there. Now Will’s got to take that role on, and I think he’s embraced it. He’s a good athlete and good football player. I think he’s going to take it upon himself to be the leader of that group and when we need somebody to step up and make a play or keep things calm back there, he can do that.

Q. You’ve been in the conference now a couple years. What is the biggest challenge recruiting against some of these coaches?
COACH RODRIGUEZ: I think the biggest challenge for us, and we’ve got a great place and great location, we’ve just got to get them to come to campus. I’ve said this many times, if we get them on campus, our rate of getting them is over 60%. It’s just convincing them, hey, take a side trip, go to Vegas and take a right. If you’re coming from LA, coming from the east and going to Vegas take a left and you’re in Tucson, Arizona. Once we’ve got them on campus, we get a lot of them. So just getting them to visit. You don’t pass through Tucson. That’s unfortunate because we’ve got a great place.

Q. Where are your biggest concerns for you with this team?
COACH RODRIGUEZ: It starts with the guys up front on our O-line, both tackles on defense at the safety position. You’re losing three guys out of your secondaries that have been multi-year starters. So you can put some talent in there, but the experience part of it is going to be new. That is the same with the quarterback. When we had the quarterback the first two years and Matt Scott, B.J. Denker, they didn’t have much experience but they were older guys.
So it’s going to be easier for them to handle that situation. When you put a younger guy replacing an experienced guy, it makes you a little more nervous. I think our guys can handle it.

Q. How is Freddie doing for you?
COACH RODRIGUEZ: Freddie will be the first guy off the bus. He can do like Incredible Hulk commercials. If he hit that pinata one time, I think those things hang up –by the way. I don’t know why we bash our own pinata. We should be hitting ASU’s or somebody’s.
But Freddie will be the guy that it would be one swing and it would be obliterated. He’s a mountain of a man who loves football. I’m excited for him. He’s been sitting out a year, so I’m hoping he can perform well over there, and I think he will.

Q. Is it refreshing to have a starting quarterback returning?
COACH RODRIGUEZ: Refreshing? I think a nice cold beer or a Bacardi and Coke, or maybe even a nice iced tea sweetened is refreshing. What was the question again?

Q. Starting quarterback.
COACH RODRIGUEZ: Oh, starting quarterback back, yeah. It’s like I tell our players, having a starter return is good if he played well when he started, which Anu did, and if he’s better. I thought Anu played well for the most part and I think he’s better. So that part makes you excited. And the fact that every year there are more guys in the program that understand how we do things.
So the only guys that need to learn are the freshmen, the newcomers. We have more guys returning that have been in a program in any time I’ve been there.

Q. The quarterback play, the level of quarterback play in the Pac-12 is so high, how difficult is it to play against all of them?
COACH RODRIGUEZ: That’s a good point. I mentioned it earlier. I don’t know if you can play well particularly offensively if that guy doesn’t play well at quarterback. We had a bunch of return last year. There are a whole bunch of good quarterbacks in the west and they’re staying out here now. I think some coaches don’t like the influx of 7-on-7 football in the summer and guys playing year round. I think it’s fun. I think it’s helped improve the quality of play at quarterback, and in our league especially.

Q. Is it geographical? You said there are more quarterbacks out west. Is there anything you can attribute that to?
COACH RODRIGUEZ: Yeah, there are a lot of people. You ever get on the 405? Hell, I don’t have to do it every day, but there are a lot of folks. I remember when I lived in West Virginia and you’d fly over the state you’d see more deer stands than you would homes. You fly over LA and just over the 405 or 101 and the amount of people that live here is enormous. So every time I fly over and look at it, I say there’s got to be a quarterback somewhere amongst these many thousands of cars and houses, and there is. There are some guys out here.

Q. Is the eighth official going to have any affect?
COACH RODRIGUEZ: We’ve all gone to it. I don’t pay much attention. There is one more guy to yell at that won’t listen to you. I quit yelling at officials anyway because one, they’re usually right, and two, they can’t hear you anyway because of the crowd noise, so it’s pointless to do that. I thought it probably appeases the fans if you think it’s a bad call and the coach is yelling at them, but I don’t do that too much anymore. The 8th official will probably help manage the game a little bit. I don’t think some coaches are concerned it will make it overofficiated. There is one more set of eyes that can maybe call a penalty or something. I think it will be managed well, and I think the officials in our league are a pretty good group that will work hard and have a great season.

Q. What have you gotten established with your program and what still remains?
COACH RODRIGUEZ: I think culture is probably not the right word. Maybe the atmosphere that we have, atmosphere and attitude that we have in the program has taken hold and gotten better every year. I thought it was great. I’ve said this a bunch of times. I was fortunate that the transition when we got here three and a half years ago was really good, because the seniors bought in from day one, and they were coachable and really tried hard. It’s been really good every year. But as we go now into the fourth season, I don’t see myself having to lecture or tell the guys as much how we practice, how we work out, how we approach things on and off the field. I think they get that.
Again, the only people that have to learn are the incoming, the new guys. That doesn’t mean upperclassmen don’t make mistakes. That’s going to happen with 120 teenagers. But I think as far as how we want to approach things and having a hard edge and playing hard all the time and being coachable is pretty much established now.

Q. Todd Graham at ASU talks about winning a National Championship. That’s almost a theme. Do you talk to your team about that?
COACH RODRIGUEZ: Not much. Every coach has their own philosophy. I don’t talk about –at the beginning of the year we don’t talk a lot about goals. We’ll talk about winning the Pac-12 south, and then winning the Pac-12, and if we do that we should probably be in a playoff and then go from there. Then that will be easily the last talk I talk about it until the end of the year when you have something on the line. Because like I said, if you’re in the middle of the fourth quarter and you’ve played 200-something plays as a team and it’s a tight game and you’re tired and sore and lined up against somebody, you’re not going to think well, coach said in August that we’re going to win a National Championship, that’s not going to make a difference. You’re like, how do I whip this guy’s ass on this play or how do I keep him from whipping mine. So I’m more of a, I guess, in-the-moment-process kind of guy. That doesn’t mean other philosophies are wrong or bad, it’s just ours is different.

Q. What about the National Championship Game? Does that add any level of motivation?
COACH RODRIGUEZ: No. It could be in Mexico City or, hopefully it’s nowhere cold. I don’t like to live in the cold anywhere. There are a couple of places I coached. We had two seasons, winter and August. So I wouldn’t want to be anywhere cold. No, motivation, you can ask the players, but I don’t think that makes a difference. But it’s a great city to have it in. I think Tucson would be better. Can we convince them to come down south? We have a better atmosphere.

Q. What’s the secret to beating Oregon?
COACH RODRIGUEZ: Well, you’ve got to play really well, have a little luck. Hope they make a couple mistakes. When we played Oregon and we beat them the two times, we played really well. But in the second game last year, early in the game, early season we played well but we didn’t play perfect and they made a couple of mistakes. But our kids believe what Oregon does and they do a great job, they’re well-coached, they’ve got great players, but that’s the same world we’re in. Somebody going fast and all that, we live in that world too. So that’s not anything different or our guys have to adjust to a championship game. We just played really bad and they played well. You’ve got to have good players play well. It’s pretty simple.

Q. Coach, there is supposed to be a decision coming down today about the Ed O’Bannon case, they’re going to ban $5,000 year trust funds?
COACH RODRIGUEZ: Trust funds? We now have trust fund babies in college athletics.
We’ll do what everybody else can do. I think the one rule they passed last year, we have unlimited meals, free meals. I think that was long overdo and was great for student-athletes. The cost of attendance varies. Some schools may have $1,500, some schools may have $5,000. Even though it’s the same sized town, that’s kind of unique. But I’ve also heard rumors that cost of attendance is being paid for years at certain schools, it just wasn’t legal. You know what I’m saying? But I don’t think it’s a big deal.
I’ll say this: The life of a college student-athlete on scholarship has never been better, with everything they can do for them now. I think that’s a good thing. But paying them, they’ve got a paid league, and that’s called the NFL. If our guys are good enough they can do a three-year internship, getting everything paid for. Don’t you think doctors and lawyers are like that? Shoot, I just do three years of schooling and I can go ahead and be a doctor or lawyer? Our guys don’t have it that bad.

Q. In your equation, year four wins big?
COACH RODRIGUEZ: You know what? Somebody else –I should have never said that. I said that one time. Bobby Bowden told me this a long time, and I’ve been coaching quite a while, he said there are four stages –let me tell you there, rich. Let me tell you. There are four stages when you become a coach. And at the time I was a young head coach at Glenville State 20 years ago. He said you lose big, then you lose close, then you win close, and then you win big.
So I’ve repeated it many times. But that was usually when I was in year one, two, or three. Now I’m in year four. What I told you before wasn’t the truth. That was a lie.
No, it usually felt that way. We won kind of close the first year, and won kind of close the second year, and then won kind of close last year. So we’re probably, if that trend is the same, if we want to win, we’re going to have to win close this year.
The one thing I did tell the team in August last year was we’re probably going to be in a bunch of close games. We’re going to have to play hard every snap to the last minute and then look up and see what happens. We were in a bunch of close games last year, and we won more than we lost. So I hope and think that’s going to be the case again this year.

Q. When you survey the roster, could this be the best team you’ve had at Arizona?
COACH RODRIGUEZ: I don’t know. I’ll be able to give you an honest answer on Thanksgiving weekend, which we have open by the way, which is kind of strange. We have 12 straight no open dates. Yeah, you probably haven’t heard that. We play 12 straight games with no open dates. Every other year there’s a short calendar year, right? There’s only 13 weeks to play your games in. So somebody in our league is going to get –two years ago it was Cal. So, okay, I understand that. But then if you’re going alphabetically, who is next? A, B, C, oh, we went backwards. So that is going to be a unique challenge.
Yeah, and they chose to play Hawaii. See, they want to go out there to Hawaii. That’s a pretty nice place. They get the luau and get some pineapples and stuff like that. But we didn’t choose 12 in a row. But as I said, I’m not going to complain about it after today (laughing), unless we’re not winning, and then I’m going to complain about it quite a bit.
No, we’ll have to make a few adjustments because we’ve used that open week as a good week to get some of the younger players ready and to get a good four-day rest period. We can’t do that now, so we’re going to have to, as a coach, coaches, we’ve got to have a plan in August and the beginning of the season to make sure we’re ready for that.

Q. The past quarterbacks you’ve coached.
COACH RODRIGUEZ: Pat White, Denard Robinson, Woody Dantzler at Clemson.

Q. How have you sort of evolved as a coach?
COACH RODRIGUEZ: I’m softer on them now. Rod Smith, my quarterback coach does a great job, but when I think back about Shaun, and coaching Patrick White and Woody Dantzler and all them, I think I was meaner back then. I must have mellowed with age at times. Honestly, if you ask Anu, when he screws up majorly and I don’t say something, he’s probably like, what the heck’s going on? It’s like reverse psychology or something. So, no, I love coaching with those guys. I’ve got great respect, because I can’t throw the ball from here to that screen. Everywhere I’ve been, I’ve been very fortunate to have really good quarterbacks. I’ve been able to recruit really good quarterbacks. Anu is, I’ll say it again, you look back on it what he had last year was a great season for a first-year starter as a freshman, and I think he’ll be better this year. He’s going to get pushed. I know it sounds like coach speak, why do you have other guys in case he doesn’t? But Jerrard Randall has worked his tail off.
Dawkins I think is going to be a really good player. So if Anu is not doing what he’s supposed to be doing, we’ll put somebody else in. But I think Anu’s going to be okay.

Q. Is there a playbook in your mind for what you can give the quarterbacks after each year?
COACH RODRIGUEZ: That’s a fair question. It’s not so much –yeah, it all starts with what he can handle. I always say our quarterback has to be like a point guard that can shoot the three and he’s leading the fast break every time. It’s either 4 on 3, five on 4, two on one, whatever he can handle mentally, he, himself, is probably what we’ll add offensively. I do think we can add more, and we wanted to do that anyway. But sometimes as coaches we try to think we’re the smartest guys in the room and we do too much.
I always tell our guys, it’s checkers not chess. You don’t have to think six moves ahead. You only have to think two moves ahead and you’ll be okay. So we have to sit back and like hold on a second. We watch a lot of film and all that.
I’ve said this before, he doesn’t call the plays. We call the plays, but he has to make a decision on the play. He said why don’t you let your quarterback call the plays? And I said I’ve got a pretty big mortgage payment, I don’t want to let a kid that watches SpongeBob SquarePants on Saturday mornings calling the plays. Are you kidding me? Not that it’s SpongeBob SquarePants, but he doesn’t have the time to watch the film that I do. So we’ll call the plays. He’s got to make a decision on 80% of them, and I think he’s been pretty good at it.

Q. How early do you start watching film on opponents?
COACH RODRIGUEZ: Yeah, I haven’t watched. I watched Josh Rosen in high school; he’s a great player. And I saw Jerry play a little bit. They’ve got pieces on him. In the summer we’ve watched our summer scouting. Our staff watches all our league opponents and first three opponents, but we don’t break them down extensively until the week we play them.

Q. You joked about being picked fourth in the south.
COACH RODRIGUEZ: I wasn’t joking. I was serious.

Q. You were ranked in the national coaches poll.
COACH RODRIGUEZ: That’s really important too.

Q. The point is that obviously Utah was fifth.
COACH RODRIGUEZ: Your point is it’s a good league and good division, and it is. You worry about respect. No, you talk about respect for your league, and you want that. If nothing else, in recruiting. That is the only part you get frustrated at is there is this perception if I want to go in the NFL I need to go in the SEC. Didn’t the Pac-12 have more first rounders picked than the SEC? And there are great players and great coaches and great teams in the SEC, don’t get me wrong.
But the SEC is in a better –or the Pac-12 is in a better spot than it’s ever been, but so are the other leagues. I don’t think recruiting-wise we have to take a back seat to anybody, and that’s what we tell our guys. I think they can see it when they visit camp and visit Tucson, Arizona and see our facility. They’ll say, okay, this is big time. That’s fun to talk about.

Q. On those two last losses, did those factor into the season?
COACH RODRIGUEZ: Did you see the movie Lion King? There is a point in the movie where the monkey hits the lion over the head. He said, what did do you that for? And the monkey says it, doesn’t matter. It’s in the past.

Q. I’ve never heard that.
COACH RODRIGUEZ: You’ve never heard that? What was your question again? Oh, the last two losses. I was in a good mood. Now I’m pissed.

Q. Does that factor into your off-season motivation?
COACH RODRIGUEZ: Yeah, I was miserable for a month. Usually during the season you have a 24 hour rule. If you lose, you move on. But if it’s a bowl game you have like seven months or something, so I was pissed for a month and a half. Then we got over it a little bit. Everybody said I guess they made light of it because I said what did you tell Anu after the game and I didn’t talk to him for a month and a half. That wasn’t true. I did send him a text message, and I did talk to him after the game because I love Anu.
But then we went recruiting so we didn’t have time to have a little Kumbaya. But we didn’t play well. That was a disappointing part. We played awful in the championship game, which is disappointing and didn’t play well in the bowl game until the end. But I’m still proud our guys were able to get there.
But is it extra motivation? I would like to think whether you win or lose at the end of the year, the next year you’re motivated to be better. I was really pleased with our off-season. What our guys did in the weight room, what they did in spring ball and so far in the summer, I think they’ve really worked hard. I think our guys, if you ask them, they’ll take pride in the way we work.

Q. You have 14 upperclassmen, do you see the state playing a central role in the University of Arizona’s success?
COACH RODRIGUEZ: Absolutely. We can’t have great success unless we recruit really well in state. And I think we’re recruiting well. We get frustrated sometimes when some of the top players in the state look to go outside and don’t give us a visit. Now if they choose another school outside, that’s fine. But at least come to our campus and give us a shot, give us a look, even as frustrated as we get sometimes, I’m going to keep recruiting them and make them tell us no. It’s not like if we don’t get them, it’s not like we’re going to forfeit. There are players everywhere. We’ll get them for whatever we’ve got. But the state of Arizona is our first recruiting base. And we’ve got some really good players every year. And we’ve got some walk ons. I think this year we’ve got 35 new players, and it might be the best group of walk ons that I’ve ever recruited. Or when I say recruited, ever had coming in. We’ll wait to see how that turns out.
I can say in walk-ons you’re not going to win a National Championship with just walk-ons. But for us, we can’t win it without some. So you’ll see some guys on the roster that wind up playing from the state of Arizona that maybe didn’t start with a scholarship but wound up getting one like Jared Tevis.

Q. Along those lines last year you said recruiting impact-wise you thought it would pay off more than 16 or 15. Are you finding it easier?
COACH RODRIGUEZ: I hadn’t thought much about it. I think there were like two weeks ago we were –I don’t know. We were sitting like six or seven commitments and people were like, gosh, they won the Pac-12 south and they’ve got everything going on. Why don’t they have more? And I kind of thought, yeah, but at the same time we want to go approach this a little slower. Next thing you know we get seven or eight in one week. I think that’s helped. I think more than anything else they see the commitment to the program from the facilities standpoint, from a competitive standpoint, and they like what they see.

Q. How’s the in-state rivalry compared to a backyard brawl at Ohio State?
COACH RODRIGUEZ: It’s pretty intense. I’ve been asked a couple times, Pitt-West Virginia, Pitt’s still a four-letter word. That was pretty intense. Ohio State, Michigan, that was pretty good. This one’s in state. Like Ohio State-Michigan, I remember when I get there, because I don’t like to talk a whole lot about the Ann Arbor days.
But I remember when I got there they were like oh, Ohio State-Michigan you won’t believe some of the things you’ll see when you go down there. The rivalry’s so intense and all this kind of stuff. Then we pull into Columbus on the bus, and there are two elderly women probably in their 80s, and they wait for us to get off the bus. Hey, Coach Rod. And they give us the middle finger. So some of the folks are like, see, I told you how intense it was. I said, hell, when we were at West Virginia those same old ladies were mooning us. No, it’s all good.
I think ours, because it’s in state and in the same division and same conference, it adds to it. Because we’ve got great respect for them doesn’t mean we like them. But we’ve got great respect for them.

Q. What are you looking for from David Richards this year?
COACH RODRIGUEZ: I think David is poised to have a big year. He was good last year. He was banged up early in his career. David has worked his tail off each year to get better and better. We’ve played him mostly on the outside at receiver. But he can play tight end, which we’ve got tight ends now so we don’t have to. But he can play at every position at wide out for us. I think he’s going to have a big year.

Q. Because of his size, could he become a security blanket?
COACH RODRIGUEZ: Yeah, a security blanket sounds a little too intimate. I don’t know about that. But, yeah, I think Anu at times we don’t want him to look at one particular guy. We just want to throw him to the most open guy. But David’s size and his strength, and for us to move him around to different positions is going to help. But the good thing, and I think David will tell you too, there are five or six other guys at receiver that have a lot of experience so he doesn’t have to be thee guy. But I hope he wants to be.

Q. Talking about receiving coach, what’s it mean to have the flexibility as you’re touching upon there with all the guys?
COACH RODRIGUEZ: Yeah, Samajie Grant, Nate Phillips, Cayleb Jones, David Richards, Tyrell Johnson, who am I missing? Trey Griffey, a really good player. Trey’s a really good player. We have five or six guys that can play. Not only do they have experience, they can play now all four receiver positions. So we’ve got a little flexibility. Hopefully we can keep them healthy.

Q. Coach, talk about (No microphone)?
COACH RODRIGUEZ: They did. The fighting Larry Cokers. They’re good. They play them in the Dome, they had 30-something seniors. They’re a well-coached team and an athletic team. We’ll have great respect for them. We’ll have to play well.

Q. When you start transitioning camp in the first game –
COACH RODRIGUEZ: After two weeks. The first two weeks is all about us. Then after two weeks we start to get into our game plan.

Q. Is there a name on the defense or offense that they talked about, like another Scooby Wright?
COACH RODRIGUEZ: Scooby Wright. Oh, another Scooby?

Q. The next Scooby Wright?
COACH RODRIGUEZ: Oh, we’ve got a lot of two stars. Too many. I’m going to leave out somebody. But Will Parks, he’s a pretty good player and not a lot of people talk about him. I see his name’s up on the screen, so you’ll want to talk to Will. And David Richards is another one. His name will come up in a minute. There he is, David Richards.

Washington St. Football: Mike Leach Transcript

Mike Leach never disappoints in his press conferences. He discusses giving dating advice, his books, hunting rattlesnakes, and even some football in his time at the Pac 12 media days.

Leach: All right. First I want to introduce back there, Joe Dahl, offensive lineman, and then over here is Jeremiah Allison. He’s a linebacker.

Given the fact that typically regardless of what I say in opening remarks, you guys go ahead and ask what you want anyway. We’ll get started with that pretty shortly. But proud of our group, the work we’ve had in the off-season and spring. We’ve got most of our guys coming back, so we’re going to see how much we can expand their role, develop as a team and as players and coaches together. So we’re excited about it.

Q. Can you talk about running the ball in the air raid offense?
Leach: Well, that’s not entirely true. Our yards per carry are reasonably high, and our offense has led the leagues as far as yards and production out of our running back position, and been in the Big 12 a number of times. As we develop and we have three running backs back, young guys, but steadily develop behind an offensive line that’s back, we’re excited about the future of it.

Q. How would you rate the quarterback play between the line last year with guys coming back this year?
Leach: I think it’s good. I mean, we were a great league last year. Last year is a quarterback league might have been one of the best in history. This year will be some new faces, but they’ll be quality quarterbacks. The thing is these other guys, nobody heard of them at one point in time before too. Occasionally some of these guys that are great players are getting out just ahead of the posse because young guys are closing in on them anyway.

Q. Do you think having been out west now for a few years recruiting California, recruiting the west coast, are there more guys out here than there used to be?
Leach: I think there’s always been a lot, yeah, I think there always has been. You mean quarterbacks, right? But I think the development of them has been more aggressive. I think first of all, they play seven on seven nearly year round. Second of all, a lot of people are throwing it. The teams that I had the opportunity to be part of we’ve been throwing it since 1989. But now a lot of people are. Of course the NFL is too. So I think as people see it and develop characteristics of their own with their offenses, I think that all that plays in the hands of guys out there throwing it.

Q. What about your situation with quarterback? How do you feel?
Leach: Feel good. Two really good players. Both of them had good springs. Of course, Luke averaged 460 yards a game passing as a freshman. So I don’t know. There might be some kind of a record. I don’t know. But I tell you, that’s a pretty good starting point. Biggest thing is he has a lot of composure and stability, and had the ability to go out there suddenly and play like he belonged there.

Q. How hard would it be for Payton to beat out a guy who’s played in a couple games?
Leach: Well, I think the hardest thing’s going to be because he’s a quality player. Luke’s a quality player. But I think that the one thing is both of them have that I think is very strong is they stay out of their own way. They’re not one of those people that dwell on something to the point where they don’t continue to improve, and also, they’re very focused workers and learn quickly.
So the biggest battle is just going to be the quality of play of the other guy. So then we’ll tee it up and let them both compete for it.

Q. What does this offensive line have to do to improve?
Leach: You just keep improving. We’re a pretty young offensive line. I thought it was impressive last year when you consider three of those guys had never played college football before, but played fairly well. Then now of course we’ve got them and a whole ‘nother off-season under their belt and kind of a good mixture of older guys ask younger guys. We’ve got more depth than we used to have there too. That’s offensively your most important position. Everybody talks about all the positions. The reason they have football is offensive line and defensive line. So that’s been a key area for us to develop.

Q. How hard would it be for somebody to beat out the five returning starters?
Leach: On the offensive line? I think it could definitely happen. There were flashes of that in the spring. That could definitely happen. Then also hopefully then we have the opportunity to play a couple more guys, and then, of course be more efficient at running the ball, then maybe (No microphone) will come to our school. You never know.

Q. You guys have been recruiting California pretty well. You’ve got some big-name players over there. In your time at Washington State. What do you have to do to look for the type of recruits to come over?
Leach: I think the biggest challenge is a lot of people haven’t been there. People that go there like it. I mean nearly every head coach that coached at Washington State has retired there. I think the biggest thing is to get them through there so they can get a visual. One of the best things about the footprint of this conference is you’re only a couple hours away. Because we have direct flights to Spokane from nearly every area that exists in this conference, and that’s been helpful. The other thing is we are a true college town and a conference that’s predominantly urban settings.
So once they get there and see it, and they see the landscape and the atmosphere of a college town where you just step out your front door and everybody you’re going to school with is right there, creates a level of energy that’s very much unique, and I think that’s why so many people return.
In my neighborhood you run into all these people, and yeah, I went to Washington State. Couldn’t get a job here. I’m moving back. We have all these retired people moving and coming back. I think I haven’t found it– the biggest difficulty is I’ve heard it’s nice. I haven’t been there. You’ve got to get them there. And our facilities are the best in the conference. They were completed in August. We went from among the worst facilities in America, to now we have the best facilities in the Pac-12.
So you guys need to come check it out and then you can tell everybody and get the word out and everybody will know. Because right now it’s kind of word of mouth. The other thing on that computer, as you look on the computer, it is that fancy. It is that nice. But all that stuff’s bigger than it looks on the computer.

Q. What do you like most about the facilities?
Leach: Right in the middle of campus. We got very lucky that way, because the founding fathers of Washington State I don’t believe said– now some day they’re going to build a football facility, and we’ve got to make sure there is space right here in the middle of campus. I don’t think they did that. I think we got very lucky because it’s literally the center of campus, and satellites out from there, which makes our players’ day very simple. They start out in a dorm that’s a heck of a lot nicer than the dorm I was in. Big, spacious, brand-new, sky deck up there with heat lamps and all this stuff. Then they walk across the street and there is the academic center. Then they walk across the sidewalk, and we have the biggest locker room that I’ve ever set foot in anywhere. We have 15,000 square foot weight room with windows over the practice field and the game field, state-of-the-art training room. A training table where we have two full-time chefs, a full-time nutritionist.
And then we’ve got seats in the team meeting room that make Joe Dahl look like a normal person, and I look like a kid in a high chair. But the thing about it is then from there you just go up the elevator and stairs and you’re on campus in the middle of all your classes. So logistically it’s the best situation I’ve ever been a part of.
The other thing is, like I say, we’re just very fortunate we were able to put–

Q. I have a question from Twitter. A young man would like dating advice from you.
Leach: Dating advice? A guy can get in trouble giving dating advice. What would I say dating advice? Well, the first thing is you’ve got to put them in a position where they’ll talk. You’ve got to want them to talk, because you’ll be nervous yourself. So you want a situation where you have to engage in conversation. You don’t let them bring their friend with them. Now what I used to do is I had the two for one. You could buy two for one coupon book, and you go to the sandwich place, and oh, this looks good. What are we having? I don’t know. You pull out the coupon and say here’s the menu. But that’s not the first date.
I think make sure you go somewhere where you can talk. If you go to Washington State, we’ve got five of America’s greatest Rivers around there. That would be a great place. We’ve got dunes, mountains. You can hunt rattlesnakes, if you want to. You can fish for sturgeon. I tell you what, if you took her sturgeon fishing I don’t believe she’d ever forget it.

Q. How does that translate into recruiting?
Leach: As far as the recruiting thing, I mean, the biggest thing with recruiting is you figure out what somebody wants, what’s important to them, and then you illustrate how your situation fits with them. In the end how down the road it’s going to benefit them. Whether it’s the role they have on your team, but in particular the education, the environment they get to do it. Because you’re going to be dead in a hundred years anyway, so you want to go to a setting where you think you can flourish, and then you’re going to have great memories and enjoy.

Q. How was the Batman?
Leach: It’s pretty good. I’m not a huge Batman guy. Now my kids are going to be really jealous, in particular the Harry Potter portion of the tour. But I do recommend you go. They have everything from Batman helmets to some cool brass knuckles that the Joker has to Catwoman outfits, and some definite villains. Then you can go upstairs to the Harry Potter exhibit and they’ll stick a wizard hat on you and tell you what tribe you’re in or whatever, or the fraternity or whatever. I can’t remember. Mine was Huffle-something.

Q. Could you imagine the facilities becoming this extravagant 25 years ago?
Leach: Yes, and no. I guess I didn’t know how it would manifest itself. I knew that it was going to continue to be an arms race. In college athletics continues, it’s like one of the big benefits of the social media is that everything that happens in college athletics positively gets to be shared with a lot of people.
So a lot of people can be engaged in what’s going on. Football has always been obsessed with technology and innovation. So we’ve got to adventure for the sake of adventure. So I guess I felt like it would continue to grow. I didn’t think it would go backwards. One thing that surprised me when we first put one in, and I’d never used it, but just the thought of it, and now everybody’s got one of these practically. There is a hot tub with a treadmill in it. You can get it up chest high or a foot high. Then the jets blow into your chest to give you more resistance and you can speed the thing up and slow it down. There are cameras that go down there beside it that will measure all kinds of things, so you can tell range of motion and how injuries are coming back and that type of thing. Just how elaborate some of that stuff has gone. Also, I think the nutrition consciousness of what you’re putting in the athletes I think is a very positive step.

Q. What is your vision for Washington State football?
Leach: Well, I think you just continue to progress and improve. I thought we took a step on offense, led in a lot of national categories, but we’ve got to steadily improve. Defense and special teams, we’ve got to improve there. The good news is we’ve got a lot of people back. We’ve got nearly everybody back. Some of them were pressed into service before it was probably ideal, but they’re what we had. Of course that experience, I think, will be helpful this year, and we have to continue to build on it.
But there’s never really any set point. It’s just you’ve got to really enjoy the process and improvement and do it every day. It doesn’t really matter how good you are and where you’re at. We’ll show the video to our players and stuff like that. But after the Super Bowl and after the Pro Bowl, Jerry Rice would run up and down that hill just like he was a rookie and trying to make sure that the 49ers didn’t cut him because he was one of the greatest players that ever played.

Q. With all the new facilities, and I’m sure it comes with new different toys and stuff you’ve been given, you don’t seem like the kind of guy to really embrace that. So how do you change or do you just let other coaches do it?
Leach: Embrace the what?

Q. Embrace the new facilities and new toys that you’re talking about, the treadmill, the water, and stuff like that. Are you embracing it or leaving it up to others to deal with that?
Leach: No, what I embrace is the fact that the job can be done more efficiently. That you can come back from injuries efficiently. You can feed guys quickly, and efficiently, and nutritiously. You can show your film in a meeting room where you’re not crowded and somebody’s looking over each other’s head and you’ve got great film and technology to show them.
So you can teach better and more efficiently with more clarity. Then, of course, the weight room you can condition them. You can have everybody in there at the same time. You’re not on top of everybody. To me, what’s the most appealing is the efficiency part of it. Then, of course, you want really nice stuff that they’ll be excited about. I’m not as, perhaps, into that part of it. But I’m really excited about the efficiency it gives you as far as doing your job.

Q. Have you tried the underwater treadmill?
Leach: No, my dad did though one time because they talked him into it. He wanted to do it just for exercise. There would be people that go in and jog. But I haven’t. I’ve seen it happen. I raised it real high and I pretended I was walking on water one time.

Q. I have a schedule question, do you have any input on the home game not in Seattle this year?
Leach: No input, but excited it’s all at Martin Stadium. And a portion of it had to do with the fact that a lot of our alums and fans kind of really embrace the opportunities of coming back to Pullman. They’ve got the whole process, the whole tailgating thing and look forward to as many weeks of that a year as possible because we would gain people when we went to Seattle, but we’d also lose a portion that wanted to stay with their routine there in Pullman.

Q. How do you see Jeremiah coming into his own?
Leach: Well, he’s always been smart. He was a salutatorian at his high school. Then he just brings a lot of energy. He’s a high energy guy. Jeremiah’s got optimism all over him, and I think it translates to different people, and to the players as their level of play has steadily improved.

That and the fact that I think he’s talking about being an attorney and I forget. He’s got pretty big aspirations as guys that work as hard as him too. I think he’s building his experience space and his portfolio as well as an opportunity to reach out. Jeremiah’s background is such that he’s been through some tough times that people helped him through. So I’m sure that some of that has to do with giving back in the same fashion that he’s appreciated.

Q. Have you talked to Conner Halladay and did his decision to leave football surprised you?
Leach: The decision surprised me. But the biggest thing, and it’s about as simple as everybody’s got their path and selects their path, and he decided he didn’t want the National Football League to be a part of that and just kind of wanted to move on. My biggest hope is that he doesn’t regret it. Because he certainly had the ability to play and things like that. But, yeah, it did surprise me.

Q. Did he consult you at all? Did he talk to you before and after the decision?
Leach: Yeah, just a little, but it was kind of point blank. There is no, you know, I’m not going to tell you it hasn’t run through my head and I haven’t thought about it, but the whole thing is just quite simple I think he just decided he didn’t want that journey and was just kind of done with football and wanted to move on to other aspects of his life, and he’s never varied from that. But I hear from him quite a bit and I see him, so I certainly wish him the best.

Q. Has he expressed the interest in coaching to you?
Leach: Last I heard he wanted to be a golf pro, because I know he likes to golf. He goes to Coeur d’Alene and bats it all over the place, and they travel around the country and golf.

Q. You’ve written several books.
Leach: Yeah, make sure you tell everybody they can get them on Amazon, and they should have a number of them. Don’t forget the Swing Your Sword one too.

Q. What is your next book going to be about?
Leach: I don’t know. I’m open to suggestions. It’s kind of like each one of them seems like kind of a daunting task like, oh, my gosh, is this possible? And then you get into it and you roll along pretty good, and then by the end of it, because you’ve read it about six times as you look at it carefully, and you’re not reading it for pleasure, you’re reading, at least in my case, I have the sense that, okay, this is now printed on my tombstone, and unless it’s perfect I have to live with this forever.
So then it’s a lot of, do I like this word? Is this word too strong? Is this word too weak? Which one is the right one? Should this paragraph be here? So there is a lot of that second-guessing. Then when it comes out there is quite a sense of satisfaction, although you’re not really interested in reading it again for quite some time. But they’ve all been exciting for different reasons. Geronimo just came out on paper back, so that was good. Yeah, it’s always sort of come together as why don’t we do this and what of this? Of course the idea of it is a lot of fun. Then there is a little procrastination, and once you’re into it kind of explodes from there. They’ve all been fun, but there is also a very busy quality to it too.

Q. What was your inspiration behind it?
Leach: When I was a kid, back then you played Cowboys and Indians a lot. It’s not quite as popular now. People play machines now. So we played Cowboys and Indians, and I always wanted to be the Indian. So then I had never been to a library before, but I heard there were libraries, and I was pretty young. I was probably, I don’t know, first or second grade. I’m like, what is this? You can get a book and take it with you? So I asked my mom, why haven’t I heard of this? We have to go.
So I go to the library and it’s me and my sister. She says, well, each of you can get a book. I said, all right. Where’s the Indian section? Then I’m thinking, okay, now– I felt like she was kind of withholding information from me just a little. This business that I hadn’t been made aware that libraries existed prior to this. She says, you can get a book and I’ll read it to you. Well, I wasn’t sure when or if I was ever going to get back to the library, so I made sure it was a big book. Got a big book on Geronimo, and like a trooper, she read it, and she read it to us. She’d have to explain stuff, because it wasn’t one of those with a bunch of pictures. I think that’s what she had in mind and she was hoping for when she suggested get a book and read it to us.
But she read the whole thing. From there I became interested and read everything I could on him. Then when we did Swing Your Sword, the guy that helped put that deal together represented a guy named Buddy Levy, and Buddy Levy has done a book on Cortez, a book on Davy Crockett, and done a number of books. Then Buddy and I got acquainted. Through Scott, the guy that helped put Swing Your Sword together, well, we did Geronimo.

Q. Can you talk about your relationship with Sonny Dykes? You guys have little small bets between the two of you?
Leach: No, not really. The thing is I’ve known him for a long time. He was my GA at Kentucky, and he worked for me at Tech, of course. Then once the game starts you’re just kind of teeing it up. There are players running around everywhere and you just kind of focus on solving a set of problems that it presents.

Q. Do you feel proud when you see he took the air raid system as well and implemented it and it’s taken off pretty much too? You kind of mentored him into that offensive line. Do you take a little bit of pride in that?
Leach: Well, he’s a good quality coach, so I knew he’d do well. Also I knew that he really liked kind of our concepts, what we did offensively. So it doesn’t surprise me that he went ahead and stuck with it and that the philosophies were very similar.

Q. What are your thoughts on UCLA?
Leach: Well, good team. Real good team. They’re always explosive. The biggest thing that I guess I see when I watch UCLA is you notice how explosive they are. I’ve never been– I’ve never coached a game in the Rose Bowl, so that will be fun. It’s a great stadium with some history. So it will be exciting to go play there.

Q. With Luke coming in as I guess the presumed starter, is there a different level of expectation that you personally had for him?
Leach: Not really. Just steadily improve. He does a great job leading the unit. Just really, even though he’s a youngish guy, he does as good a job at managing the offensive unit as anybody I’ve dealt with. He’ll continue to get better.

Q. Do you think walk-ons deserve a special route of earning the respect of their teammates?
Leach: Maybe. I mean I’ve had some really good walk ons over the years. But I think that if they’re the right type of guy, I think you really get focused, committed effort, because they have a little something to prove. Also they want to earn a scholarship.