Q: So you didn't get much support in the draft this year.
A: I was just very appreciative of Rich Eisen's commentary. He was very happy that we expressed our feeling on the offensive side. But right after that we got a guard that we are excited about so we are looking forward to seeing what he can do. And fortunately I think we feel good about the players we have coming back and the coaches and so we are excited about what we can do offensively. Selfishly we wish we had gotten a few players. But it wasn't meant to be.
Q: Last year it was all offense?
A: Yeah, with the draft. Of course they compensated with the free agency. We would have liked to have had the same compensation with the free agency. No, again, being quite honest, there are some spots we would have liked to have had some guys come in for depth reasons and competitive purposes, but we do feel good about what we have. And we are excited about getting better and seeing some guys that need to improve continuing to grow with their experience and what have you; …….the receiver position. So we are looking forward to when we get everybody back.
Q: Are you holding your breath a little bit about the running back spot? You have a lot of potential there but a lot of injuries for guys to come back from, too.
A: It has been that way since I have been here. For whatever the reason, since Tiki left – he was basically a one-man show. Since we have had the two or three man rotations we have needed two or three men. And sometimes even with that we have been a little bit short. So am I nervous about it? Yeah. Do I think they are working as hard as they can to get themselves physically ready? I do believe that. And we see a guy like Ahmad and know how tough he is - coming back from both feet being operated on and an ankle being operated on. And he is so excited that for the first time in a long time he is not in pain. You can't help but feel optimistic that he is going to be able to maybe last the whole season and give us some special performances. And then with Brandon, the fact that he was able to gut it out with the knee all year long, and not saying anything and not using it as a crutch, I thought speaks volumes about the guy.
Q: Given your offense – the shakeup you had in your offensive coaches – how has that been working out so far?
A: Losing Chris?
Q: Losing Chris.
A: The good thing is Mike Sullivan started as the receiver coach. He has always been on the defensive side so he has always had a unique perspective that he really could contribute to the offensive planning based upon his insights into defensive thinking. So that has been good. And to show what a bright guy he is and a good communicator is, he learned the offensive technique – you could teach him so easily and he has learned the offensive concepts. And I think the fact that the receivers played as well as they did, as young as they were, last year, not only is a testament to them but also to him. And so we feel very good that now he is making the move to the next position, he is going to be able to do that now. He's not experienced, but in terms of -- he can provide the quarterbacks with the way the defensive guys think. He also can aid them in understanding the way the receivers think because he has been in that room when they are apart from the quarterbacks or they are apart from me when I am speaking to all of them. And he can share with them some of their insights; some of the ways that they view things. So I think the good thing is that he is such a bright guy; he is such a good teacher. All of it is matter of doing is giving him the information. Once he masters it, he is going to be an outstanding communicator there. Now, the same thing with Sean (Ryan). Sean was in there and sat with them, and was really intimately involved with the receiver development. He has sat in on their meetings. He also shared in the coaching - ….so he is really much further ahead than even Mike was when he took over the receivers. So his adjustment of his transition should be fairly simple.
Q: Your lone draft choice, what do you like about him and what do you see as a timetable for him?
A: What we liked about him is that the guy is extremely aggressive. He has great speed. He pulls – he does a great job in open space. He cut blocks; he is very, very aggressive. I think he can get better in the sense of incorporating his leg strength. He has tremendous upper body strength. I think he had the all time bench press record at the Combine. Once he learns that technique ………….i think what we have gotten is - Richie will be insulted when I say this – but he reminds me of a Seubert. He has that kind of tenacity; that kind of attitude. He will be feisty, he will be aggressive. When will he contribute? That is contingent on so many factors. How fast does he develop? Right now if I have my way and things go the way we hope, there will be no injuries and the offensive line will stay in tact and he won't contribute much at all. Those guys will stay there. But the reality of it is, right now over the last year we have lost a lot of time between the guards and the tackles with Kareem and then with Richie and what have you. They are very prideful, they are very tough physically; tough mentally – tough guys. So I know they will do everything they can not to have that happen. But who knows with time – they are getting older. And they are fighting Father Time as valiantly as they can. But we need as many young – that is one of those positions – we needed some young bodies in there so that if something did happen we have some guys that maybe potentially could go in and play. We still expect William Beatty to become a very, very good football player. I'm not sure we really were thinking that he would have to play as a starter for four or five games last year. And he did. So fortunately he has the physical abilities to do those things. And so when he went in we didn't fall off the ………… but need as many young guys – some infusion of young blood for that reason more than anything else.
Q: Jerry Reese said that Beatty is going to be in the mix for a starting job…
A: Well, one of the reasons that the coaches pushed so hard for William is that he is a unique athletic guy. There are not many guys that have the foot speed that he has. Can he compete with those other guys? Yeah, we are hopeful. We are really hopeful. But those guys, again, they are very proud. And they are going to do everything they can to keep him seated just where he has been which is on the bench. So there is nothing bad that comes from competition. So I think the better he is the better off those other guys will play. And if they don't, then we will work him into the lineup. But it will be the best five guys.