Monday, August 17, 1998

On Injuries

“Lance Legree is not back yet (hamstring). He may be back in a day or two. He is doing some drills and some ball control work. Tony Weaver is still out with a bruise that has swollen up on him so we’re trying to be slow with him. Jason Ching is still out with a hamstring and looks like he will be out for another two or three days minimum. Jason Murray (hamstring) did some drill work today and Jay Johnson is still out with a knee and ankle. We are a little concerned we’ve got some hamstrings. It always seems this time of year that’s what it is, so we trying to fight through it.”

On Practice

“The biggest thing we are trying to do is prevent and eliminate mistakes. You never know when your technique or assignment is going to be the biggest thing in the play, or the drive or ultimately the game. We are trying to execute and put all the pieces together. It doesn’t matter how much effort you give, it doesn’t matter how strong you are, how talented you are. If you don’t execute you are going to have break downs and not have success. That’s what we’re doing right now, try to make it hard on them and eliminate mistakes.

On the Kicking Game

“We are really putting an emphasis on the kicking game. We spend a lot of time on it and are really getting good effort. We will try to use a lot of young players there.”

Sunday, August 16, 1998

On First Day of Practice in Pads
“It is always good to get back out there in pads and one thing we talked about today was that when you get the pads on, even though it was the first day, was to eliminate mistakes. Our goal is not to have too many self-inflicted mistakes like silly penalties, dropped balls and mistakes. When you put the pad on you have to keep your poise…play at a high level of intensity, but keep your poise. I am definitely pleased with the effort of this football team. This is definitely one of the more demanding two-a-day workouts I’ve been around and the team has responded well.

“I don’t think our practice philosophy will change that much. When you talk about being aggressive it is a lot of things. First of all, I have to be comfortable that we are in schemes on both sides of the ball that are players are comfortable with and that they can handle. Second of all, it’s knowing what to do and being comfortable. Anytime you are being aggressive, you have to have confidence. To have confidence, you have to do the same things over and over. Certainly, we are going to be physical in practice but being aggressive comes from a lot of other things than just hitting one another on the practice field.”

On the Freshman
“This freshman class is impressive. We’ve got two young receiver that can help this football team — Javin Hunter and David Givens. If they keep progressing they can help us. They have caught the attention of our coaches and the other players. We have a couple of defensive lineman that I think will probably play for us — Sean Mahan and Tony Weaver.

On the Injuries
“The disappointing thing is we have some injuries on the defensive line. Lance Legree has a hamstring. Jason Ching has a hamstring. We are a little bit nicked up and some of these young guys are just going to have to step up and play.”

On the Fullback Position
“Jamie Spencer has come back in real good shape and he’s probably 240 or 245 pounds. He and Joey Goodspeed are head-to-head. I’m disappointed that Jason Murray isn’t in the hunt right now, he too has a hamstring.”

On the Secondary
“We have a lot of depth in the secondary. At the corner position, Ty Goode and Deveron Harper are both playing well. They are experienced. It looks right now that Brock Williams and Donald Dykes are the next two corners. At free safety, there is A’Jani Sanders and Deke Cooper…some competition there. A’Jani is a little ahead of Deke. At strong safety, Benny Guilbeaux and Tony Driver. We are able to play some nickel and we are able to play some substitution defense with Williams and Driver in those packages. I think Ron Isreal has stepped up at free safety and will help us.”

Saturday, August 15, 1998

On Notre Dame being ranked No. 22 in the preseason Associated Press poll
“Based on where we are right now today and the way the season finished last year, that seems about right. I realize a big part of that is the tradition of Notre Dame a lot more than how we looked in the second half of the last game last year. I also realize we won six of our last seven regular season game and went to a bowl game. We did show improvement. I see where LSU and West Virginia are ranked and we beat both of those teams last year. Of course, it all hinges on the next hurdles — injuries and just so many things.”

On injuries
“We aren’t really that restricted right now. Lamont (Bryant) is practicing one time a day, but we knew it was going to be that way. We are really being proactive there, we are trying to take one step at a time. Lance Legree has a hamstring, but he had a great summer and will be back when we get the pads on. We are not at a point where the injuries are hurting us. Jason Murray has a slight hamstring.”

Friday, August 14, 1998

“Lance Legree has a hamstring pull and will be out for a few days. Lamont Bryant is still the same, he’s going once a day. Jimmy Friday is under control a little bit because of tendinitis in his knee.”

“There is no question we made some strides in the offseason. We are a bigger, stronger, better-looking football team. We really do run better as a team. But now all that doesn’t matter…it’s the next step. What concerns me is are we going to be able to simulate in practice what happens in a game. All of us think back to last year and some of the frustrations we had last season. Once you get into the season, there is no turning back. It’s really hard to change some of your problem areas once the season starts. We have to challenge them in practice like it is a game. We approach ever day like it is a game.”

“Let’s take advantage of that hard and executing and become a football team.”

“We don’t have the pad on right now, but all of us are anxious. We are doing as much as we can right now in shorts to make it hard.”