Tyrone Willingham Press Conference Quotes

Aug. 8, 2006

Opening statement:
It seems like we've got to kick off this thing on two or three occasions, once with a golf tournament, once in Los Angeles and once with a press conference before practice. The good news is, is that after this encounter, I can talk to you about actually what is taking place, as opposed to projections and anything else. This afternoon we get to actually practicing football and who would believe that would ever happen. It's exciting and I'm ready to go.

On the first day testing and how much coach has seen of the team:
I haven't yet. We don't get a chance to really see officially, regardless of the rumors. I find out today about our conditioning throughout practice and find out exactly where we are. And you don't measure just one day, so it won't be just today. It'll be over a period of time where we determine what our team is like.

We'll run a couple of shuttle tests just to see what the recovery rate is for our team. That takes maybe 65 seconds to figure out.

On the injuries entering camp:
All those guys for the most part have cleared to go ahead and start practicing. And I hate to seem like everything hinges on what were doing in practice, but it does. Being cleared for practice is a whole lot different than going through practice. So now we'll see exactly how far they can go. We are conscious of their injuries and we'll try to take certain precautions to ensure that they can go as far as possible and are ready to play a football game come September 2.

For the most part limited activity would be on a couple (guys). Dashon Goldson would be one of those. He had an ankle sprain during the course of the summer. We anticipate his full activity any day or within a week.

On the differences between this years camp and last years:
I would think first of all that our guys have history with today. A year ago they knew nothing of what this day would be like. Now they have a history. They know the testing procedure, they know what we are going to put them through. They know our style of practice and what we anticipate there. It should be vastly different than it was a year ago. With knowledge hopefully comes experience, with experience a better performance on everything that we do.

On improvement in leadership:
Isaiah is clearly a better quarterback than he was a year ago and also a better leader. And I think the vast majority of our guys are. Stanback is a better than leader than he was a year ago. Dashon is a better leader than he was a year ago. C.J. Wallace is a better leader than he was a year ago. Greyson Gunheim, all of those guys are better leaders than they were a year ago. So they continue to grow and improve and our team will continue to grow and improve.

On the running backs:
Our running back situation is, the term I would use is we are 'bone thin' at the position. We will manage it and make sure that at the best of our abilities we get them healthy. The best of our abilities we provide some depth and do some restructuring. There will be some creative ways that we manage that situation. Kenny is doing fine. I think he'll be wearing a splint. In a week or two he'll be out of that and then he'll be ready to go.

On Luke Kravitz:
Luke is one those guys that I'm really excited about seeing in camp. I think every player, especially from running back, goes through a transition from high school to the collegiate ranks. In high school I think he was a tailback and rushed for an unbelievable amount of yards. But now he is transition to being a different back, a fullback and not necessarily a halfback. I think there is a certain period of time where that is difficult. But right now I think he is looking forward to making some serious contributions to our football team as a fullback and as maybe a big back for us.

On whether Jake Locker will play this season:
I don't define that. I've always left it up to the players. I am looking forward to putting our best players on the field. If he is one of our best players, we need to put him on the field. I do believe and do like Jake's future at quarterback. We'll look at him primarily at quarterback and we'll make sure he gets all the development time he needs to. It is clear from what he did in his high school that he is a special young man that puts team before himself.

On Shelton Sampson having a new lease on life:
I hope it is. The move was a difficult one for him, going from running back to defensive back. I asked him to forsake his future for the team and he was willing to do that.

On the mental changes the team needs to make to win:
The biggest change, whether it's in my becoming head coach of this program or some manager in Microsoft taking over a department. It's about attitude. It's about finding a common ground. It's about attitude and the way you think. My mindset is, 'I really don't care if I'm picked 11th in a conference of ten teams. Doesn't matter.' I would have a totally different viewpoint if they were awarded points at the start of ballgame, based on the selections. But right now every game we play is 0-0 at the start, unless I'm mistaken. We got just as good a chance as anybody else, and that's my mindset. You don't have to be the best. We simply have to play the best that Saturday afternoon at 12-o-clock or 3:30, whatever game time it is, just play the best in that three-hour period and we'll be okay. And that usually means make one less mistake than your opponent.

On the practice schedule:
The sequence that we have to go through will be one-a-day practices for the first five. Those practices will be two days of shorts, two days of shells, and then on the fifth you have to opportunity to move into full pad. That will place us on Saturday when we'll have our first full-pad workout.

On Isaiah Stanback:
The number one difference is his intelligence about the game. The number two would be his enhanced physical condition, but also his involvement in the track program, which has been a marvelous delight. Really he's grown in all aspects. Because of that growth in all of those areas, I think it's relaxed him even more as a leader of this football team and I think he embraces that.

On the competition between E.J. Savannah and Chris Stevens at weak side linebacker:
I thought they had a marvelous competition in the spring and I think they will continue it into the fall. But what is wonderful about those two guys is they give us some flexibility in the things that we can do with them. I think both of them are excellent athletes, have good speed and are aggressive.

On Morgan Rosborough:
One of the things that obviously excites you about Morgan is that he is a big man. And one of the things about being big is that it takes you a long time to run around him. I think from day one I recognized his intelligence and how quickly he picked things up on the offensive line. It's nice to have a guy with that intelligence that can pick things up.

Follow-up: Is he about 390 right now?
I think he is, but I'm not sure if had breakfast this morning or not.

Now on Pac-12 Network
7:15 AM PT

Airing on:

  • Pac-12 Network