Aug. 12, 2008
"Welcome to Higher Ground. I know you were expecting a lot of tents, but as you can see we have a great facility here. Our football team has been preparing these last ten days for what we consider one of the toughest schedules the University of Cincinnati has ever played. Not only do we get the BIG EAST competition this year, but with Oklahoma on our schedule we get another premier football team we have to deal with. A lot of work out here for the past ten days has been focused on, from our standpoint, putting together a consistent football program. That means that this year is a very important for the University of Cincinnati; we must win and we must win now. We don't have time to talk about where we want to be in three to five years. We need to live in the present and our focus with our football team and our preparation here at Higher Ground is about winning now and the importance of winning right now. We believe we have a talented football team that can compete with anybody in the country. Having talent is one thing but you've got to be able to execute. We're working on those things that allow you perform well on Saturdays and we think we have a football team that if they pay attention to the details, if we stay injury free, we have an opportunity to have a very good football team."
On the difficultly of the 2008 schedule
"It's difficult when you have to go on the road and play. I know when I was in the MAC that was a red letter game for us (against Akron and Miami). When we got Boston College to come to Central Michigan, we had a chance to beat them in the last couple of minutes. We understand how tough those games are going to be. Traveling to Marshall for example is always difficult no matter who goes there. Last season West Virginia escaped with a win at Marshall. It's a challenging schedule even outside of teams that are considered top 25 teams. "
On the depth of the defense
On the depth at wide receiver
"I think there are circumstances that will allow us to keep those players in what we would consider football playing shape and that means you'll see the second and third level players that could start for us playing on special teams and situationally be substituted. I don't think if you look at the reps our starters are going to get, you want to keep them on the field as much as you can. I don't think it's realistic to say that your number three, although he could start , is going to play a lot of football, but he can play in other fashions. That's what we've done, if you look at our special teams, I think they are truly going to be special, because I think we've got some very good players that could be starting on some very good teams playing on those special teams.
"I think we can go six and seven wide receivers. I can tell you that (D.J.) Woods and (Nick) Truesdell will play this year as true freshman and of course Armon Binns, who didn't get a lot of action last year, will get a considerable amount of playing time. Add that to the guys you already know with Dominick Goodman
, Marcus Barnett
, and Marty Gilyard and we think we've got great depth there, something that we didn't have the luxury of having two seasons ago.
On the number of wide receivers you would typically like to have for your system
"We should be two-deep across the board and a swing at the wide receiver. That swing receiver is Charlie Howard who can swing at three different positions. We're meeting our goals relative to the scholarship players at particular positions. I use the term two-deep and a swing at the wide receiver position because that's how we like to run those guys in."
On the depth at running back
"I think it was a bigger concern last year because of the seniors we had at the position and making sure they had enough touches. We have all relative newcomers other than Jake (Ramsey) who had some carries but not a ton of carries last year. I'm not as concerned about how many touches they get, I'm looking at what complements our offense the best. There will be times that (John) Goebel complements what we're doing. I also include Darrin Williams and Isaiah Pead. I think those four backs, including Ramsey, are all going to see action but I'm not going to be concerned with balancing it out and making sure everyone is happy. I felt like I had to do that last year with our senior tailbacks."
On the timetable concerning the quarterback situation
"There's five guys right now that are trying to compete for three spots. It' s a very competitive situation, but whoever the number three is will always be fighting to stay on the bus because four and five are pretty good quarterbacks as well, whoever they turn out to be.
On injuries to the offensive line
"The offensive line has always been an issue whether you're at the University of Cincinnati or Notre Dame. You can't afford to lose a lot of offensive linemen and that's why they wear all of those knee braces. It's the reason you don't cut block and stay up at camp and sometimes you can't avoid getting a guy injured. C.J (Cobb) is certainly a guy that certainly fits in that top six or seven for us. We're going to have to develop some younger guys. Now Randy Martinez, who is a redshirt freshman, has to step up for us. Frank Becker has to be more consistent and step up for us. That center position now for us becomes one that we now have to develop, those two guys in particular, to make up for the injury C.J. had."
On the improvement of quarterback Dustin Grutza
"He's in great physical shape and has played in a lot BIG EAST football games. I think his biggest improvement has been a clear understanding of the system that we run on our offense. If he understands the fact that the system can help you and stay within those lines we will be fine."