Transcribed by Steve Jones of the Courier-Journal.
Well, it was fun to get started. I thought we got a lot done today. First and foremost, the players came out with good attitudes, and we worked hard. I think they worked to get better. I thought we did a good job as practice went on of improving. Obviously when you are just in helmets, it’s hard to know when you go offense versus defense exactly how everything works, and the defense is always ahead of the offense when the shoulder pads aren’t on. But it was fun to see us make some plays down the field, and the defense plays fast. That’s a really good defensive front, and they play fast. Overall, I was happy with the way the kids worked.
On if Bonnafon struggled some
Yeah, I thought he made a couple bad decisions that got an interception on one, and his accuracy wasn’t as good as it needs to be, but he did a lot of good things, too, and we’re going to continue to look at the good things and emphasize the good things and then get him to work on becoming a better passer. He knows that. That’s one of our goals going into spring ball, so you just have to continue to work at it. I think it was hard on the quarterbacks a little bit that we had spring break, then came right back and started up. Our timing is not quite there yet.
On the various quarterbacks all connecting with different receivers
I was excited about our receiving group. You look at some of the new guys: Traveon Samuel definitely has speed, quickness and can catch the ball. I thought (Charles) Standberry did a good job at the slot receiver. Gio made some plays down the field. (Jamari) Staples can run and catch. We didn’t see a lot of out of Ja’Quay (Williams) today, but we will. And (Javonte) Bagley is a guy that is going to be able to make plays for us. I think it’s a good group of receivers. They just have to keep getting better each practice.
On the offensive line
I think we made some mistakes and turned some guys loose at times, just some communication, a lot of new guys out there. But I like the way they work. We’re rotating guys at different spots. We know that we need to get the best five by game time when we open up in Atlanta (against Auburn). We’ve got a lot to learn about the O-line.
On the significance, if any, of Bonnafon going out first with the No. 1s
No, they’re all going to have great chances to go with the No. 1s, and they know that they’re going to compete for it and all get reps in there with the No. 1s. We’ve got to rotate it on a daily basis. Today Reggie and Kyle (Bolin) worked with the No. 1s, and Tyler (Ferguson) came in there and got good reps with the No. 2s. Kyle kind of went back and forth, but we’ll kind of rotate it as the week goes on.
On Tyler Ferguson
He’s got a big arm. He can really wing it around. I was happy with the way he was working hard at making decisions, seeing the defense and not just reacting to things and throwing the ball. But he can really throw it. He’s got a big arm. He’s got to learn the offense.
On special teams
(Josh) Appleby as our punter has got a strong leg. We’ve got to get his time right, but he showed last year as the year went on that he got better and better getting the ball off on time. We’ll be able to do a lot of things back there with him as our punter because he can punt it on the run. He can hit it deep. I think we are going to work a lot this spring on sky punts because that’s something we were really good at last year, pinning guys inside the 10-yard line, so that’s an area that we’ll spend some time on, too. And I’m excited about (kicker John) Wallace. He looked strong today, and he’s getting where we can get a little more distance from him. His accuracy is good, so we should be good there.
On the new secondary squaring off with the new receivers
It’s going to be interesting to see. I need to watch the video because out at practice I’m kind of focused more on what the receivers and quarterbacks are doing, so I’ll spend a little bit more time on the video looking at the defensive backs. But they’re a good-looking group. They look good back there. Josh (Harvey-Clemons) being tall and long makes it difficult. I’ve liked what Chucky (Williams) has been doing since the middle of last season, what he did in the winter program. He’s gotten a lot stronger. He’s got good instincts. We’ll see how it all plays out.
On the weather
I didn’t know we were going to get this (cold weather). It’s got to change, doesn’t it? I was pretty set on going outside. I didn’t know it would be this cold, but I think we need to go outside and throw the ball around outside, throw it when the winds blowing, throw it when it’s slippery. It would be too comfortable in here (at the Trager Center) for the quarterbacks. So this spring we’ll try to be outside here as much as we can.
On Kyle Bolin’s day
I thought Kyle did a good job. I think his timing’s maybe a little bit ahead of the other two as far as making the decision and getting the ball out of his hand. He made some good, accurate throws. He had a couple bad decisions where he wasn’t keying the free safety and knowing where to go with the ball, but I was happy with his timing and his accuracy.