Quotes and Notes from the First Day of Spring Practice
April 5, 2002
Corvallis, Ore. - The first football spring practice day was conducted Thursday on the Tommy Prothro Practice Fields under sunny, but cool skies. A large media contingent made up of Eugene television stations, the Gazette-Times, Barometer, The Oregonian, Statesman-Journal, and Associated Press was in attendance. The following comments are from fourth-year head Dennis Erickson, junior linebacker Richard Seigler, and sophomore tailback Steven Jackson:
HEAD COACH DENNIS ERICKSON
Q. Your thoughts on the first day of practice?
A. 'There was a lot of enthusiasm. I'm looking forward to getting back to full speed at all times, whether we have pads on or not -- I thought we got away from that a little last fall. I thought the speed of the way we practiced today was good, and that is really important.'
Q. What are some of your goals during the spring practice session?
A. 'First we have to figure out who will be the starters. We need to improve on both sides of the football, and basically just improve as individuals. We have some key positions where we need players to determine who the starters are, particularly at quarterback. Basically, the coaching staff needs to make sure everything is very competitive, ensuring the best players step forward.'
Q. What do you want to see happen at the quarterback position over the 15 practices?
A. 'Somebody has to emerge. Derek (Anderson) is number one at this point, and he looked very good today for the first time out. Derek has a lot of things to learn, however. Shayne (House) is still not at 100 percent, so it is difficult to evaluate him. Adam Rothenfluh is in the mix, I thought he did some good things today, and he had a very good winter. Derek is number one right now, but he has to continually improve during spring.'
Q. Was Shayne House's shoulder sore after practice?
A. 'I don't think it was sore, I think it is still a little weak. He threw a lot of balls today, but he'll get stronger as practice progresses.'
Q. Did anything or anybody really standout today in practice?
A. 'Not really. There were a lot of good things that happened out there today. I thought Jayson Boyd made some nice plays at wide receiver, he's a very good athlete. I'll have a little more of an idea of where this team is once we get the pads on.'
Q. What does having Coach (Eric) Yarber back on the field do for you?
A. 'Coach Yarber exhibits a lot of enthusiasm. It really is nice to see him out here again, he brings a lot to this program.'
Q. Do you think that the lack of speed in practices last season hurt you?
A. 'We need to practice at a speed that I know we can. I thought the speed of practice toward the middle of last season was not what I wanted -- certainly not like it was the first two years this coaching staff has been here. We need to make sure we practice at a high level every time out this year.'
Q. Do you have a sense of what your strengths and weaknesses are at this point?
A. 'Not really. I believe it's going to take most of the spring to make those kinds of determinations.'
Q. Coach Erickson emphasized the intensity and the pace of practices is the key this spring, did you sense that today?
A. 'Definitely. Coach Erickson wants to get out here and compete to get ready for the fall.'
Q. Do you think some of that speed and intensity was lacking last fall?
A. 'I'm not sure -- we might have been a little big-headed last fall after the success we had the previous season. We might have thought we could take it a little easier last year, but this year is a different story. We know we're back at the bottom and we need to build our way back to the top.'
Q. What is the physical condition of this team coming into spring practice.'
A. 'The entire team worked extremely hard during the offseason, last year left a bad taste in our mouths. We're concentrating on getting better this spring.'
Q. With so many guys returning on the defensive side of the ball, how do you approach spring practice?
A. 'We definitely have to beat up on the offense, and show that unit whose team it's going to be this year. We know the defense is the strength of this team, and we need to lead the way. If we dominate the offense, that will only make both units better. We're going to show the offense what it takes to be successful.'
Q. What are your thoughts about going through spring ball for the first time?A. 'I'm really excited right now. I just need to get comfortable with our offense and continue to learn. This offense has a lot more zoning, something that I'm not used to coming from a more traditional offense in high school. It's more than just being a downhill running back, it's about being more patient and keeping my eyes open for particular looks.'
Q. The offense looks like it has a lot more parts to put together than does the defense?
A. 'That's true, but we have a lot of young talent on offense. I've been working with Derek all year, so it isn't that big of deal for me -- we're used to each other already. I feel comfortable with our offense.'
Q. Did this practice seem more intense than some of the practices last fall?
A. 'Yes it did. Probably even more so for me, because at this time last year I was chillin' on the couch at home. The intensity is really what football is all about, and not just in the fall, it's a full year deal.'
Q. Where did you spend the most time in the offseason, was it conditioning, was it watching tape, or was it another aspect?
APRIL 4 NOTES
*Steven Jackson will wear jersey number 34 this season, instead of number 33. Jackson wore 34 at Eldorado High School in Las Vegas, Nev., where he amassed 3,976 yards and 51 rushing touchdowns. The school retired his jersey after his prep career.
*Senior Linebacker Jason Lowe will miss spring practice due to knee surgery.
*Senior cornerback D.J. Coote will redshirt this season due to a knee injury.