HALEY: “Yeah, I think had an addition. Personal, excused midway.”
Q: He timed it pretty good since he was here in the morning?
HALEY: “Most of the morning.”
HALEY: “All mixing and matching right now, all mixing and matching. Anybody that you see it happening with is giving guys opportunities to go against different players on the other side of the ball, all those things.”
Q: What benefit is there at that position moving guys around like that when no one has pads on?
HALEY: “Sometimes when you just stay the same and nobody changes then you’re going against the same (guy), he might be going against DT
Q: Just because you mentioned him by name and he’s a new guy, what have you thought of DT Shaun Smith?
HALEY: “I was in Dallas when Shaun was out there so I know a little bit about Shaun. He’s an interesting character – a little different than a lot of guys that we have around here, as I’m sure you’ve all gotten to see over the past couple weeks. He’ll say what he thinks most of the time, but he livens things up to say the least. He’s like a bunch of these other guys that I know seize the opportunity to rise up from where he’s been and I think he’s putting everything into trying to maximize that opportunity.”
Q: When should people start paying attention the depth chart?
HALEY: “Once the pads go on. Now we still have the right to do whatever we have to do for some of those matchup things but I think the longer the pads are on the more and more it means something.”
Q: There seems to be tangible excitement building about getting into training camp and the season. Now that you’re in mini-camp and you’ve had good attendance, is that excitement continuing to build, is that what you’ve seen?
HALEY: “Yeah, I think it is. It’s a process. I knew that coming in, that it would be a process and I think the key things are that you know exactly where you are. Right now we’re in June and at the tail end of our second off-season together for the majority of us and we’re seeing progress in a lot of different areas. When we get to training camp, that’ll be another step that we can take advantage of – we can stay the same, we can get worse or we can get better. What’s critical for everyone in this building is to continue to get better. I don’t have any doubt in my mind we’re making progress, we’ve gotten better this off-season. I know we got better as the year went on last year. We’ve gotten better this off-season, the next step is training camp and the next step for these players is they’ve made a great investment here over the last few months and they can’t have any slippage – there’s not one that can afford to have any slippage during the time that we’re not going to be together. That’s truly the next step. The next one we’ll all see and witness is training camp.”
Q: Is there a tight rope that the head coach has to walk where you have to honor their investment but really you’re in the first five miles of a marathon. This is nothing if you don’t keep running?
HALEY: “That’s exactly right. And I’ve said it a couple times, unfortunately they won’t spot us a couple games for doing good work in the off-season but I do know that if we weren’t putting what we’ve put into it over the last few months that we’d have very little chance of success. But by doing what we’ve done over this off-season, we’ve at least given ourselves a chance to be more competitive.”
Q: Last year conditioning was a big part of the off-season. This year, it seems like you’ve gotten that out of the way. How helpful is that to you right now before you get into training camp?
HALEY: “It’s a big item. We’re still conditioning, it’s just that we’ve been able to actually get in better condition this off-season with about 60 percent less running. That’s big because the better shape you can get in with less running, that’s better for you. Last year we were extremely out of condition and out of shape in a lot of different cases. One of the ways to get that off is running, so we had to run a lot more than you’d probably like to every year.”
Q: The Raiders just signed DT John Henderson. What are your thoughts about him as a player?
HALEY: “We’ll talk about the players that are here. I’m not talking about anybody else. Kurt (Warner) was a rare exception.”
Q: As a football enthusiast and fan, how close will you follow the college conference realignment?
HALEY: “Very good question, probably not the best one for me. I know what was clear to me, or even when I came in this area scouting, either in the Missouri area or the Kansas area scouting players, you knew there is a great passion for college football and college athletics. I know it’s a hot, hot subject. We just got done with the third mini-camp practice and my focus really is on doing everything I can as a head coach to make sure that this team is ready is ready to go. I hope all that works itself out to everyone’s advantage.”
Q: Do you think you can attribute the need for less running this season to different conditioning techniques by the new strength and conditioning Coach Mike Clark? Or is it just because they were worked so hard last off-season?
HALEY: “A little bit of both. I know if these guys hadn’t come in to the end of March in the shape they generally were, we wouldn’t have been able to do the other. There was no way last year’s events could have been altered in anyway conditionally that I could see. It is a good topic because it is something I have put a lot of thought into and discussion and talk. We had to do what we had to do to get into a baseline position. I said it last year; you should only lose 700 pounds plus one time, at least on my watch. With them coming in March and understanding the importance (it was good). It comes back to expectations and they understood. They knew so much more this March than they did last March and so did we as a coaching staff. That enabled us to do the things we were able to do which was to get in great condition and stronger and just improve physically the way we have without just straight running.”
Q: Can you talk about TE
HALEY: “Tony, much like what has me encouraged with all of these young guys, there is not one of them that has been put in a different class than any of the others and he is right in that group. Of all these young guys, they have a good look; they all have ability there is no doubt about that. They have a good demeanor about them and a quiet confidence. They have been able to overcome setbacks without too much hoopla and I think those are good signs. Generally with this young group I am encouraged. Now again, this story will be over here in a few days and then the pads will go on and we will really start over. We will have to start making progress every day of training camp and all of those guys will clearly be in that group. Overall I am encouraged and for having a few setbacks early, he has come in and looks like he has an idea of what is going on.”
Q: Was that final game against Denver helpful to this team since you were able to carry a win into the off-season?
HALEY: “I can only speak for myself, but I know from experience when you can finish in a positive fashion, it does nothing but help you. You can finish negatively, it has been proven over time that you can finish poorly and still have a great year the next year. It is not an absolute. For us every bit of last year will be part of what we become for anyone that is here and continues to be here. I am grateful for last year and for these guys to be able to see, feel what it was like to walk off a division rival’s field with a real big win can do nothing but help. I know a lot of these guys have used that as a little spring board into this off-season.”
Q: Can you talk about the luxury of staying in the state of Missouri for training camp and have you had the chance to see the new facilities in St. Joseph?
HALEY: “Yeah, I have seen it and just recently I was up there. I said it the other day; I think it is good for everyone involved. I am especially excited for the people of St. Joe. Having been up there, I said yesterday that it is a cute little town that reminds me of some places I have spent time in growing up in Western Pennsylvania. It is a neat little town and the facility looks like it is going to be A . I think it is great for everyone up there, especially the fans. Having been to a few other teams and in a bunch of different training camp situations, I just believe when you can give your fans a chance to get out there and see you it helps the cause. It helps them get to know the team and gives the team great energy anytime they are practicing in front of a bunch of people. I am hoping for big crowds everyday and I think it is good for everybody so I am excited.”