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HEAD COACH TODD HALEY - OTA #6 Q&A - MAY 27, 2010

Posted May 27, 2010

OPENING REMARKS: “Before we get started I just wanted to take a second to again thank everyone at Whiteman Air Force Base where a bunch of us got to go out yesterday, including some of you in this room I think. It was a great opportunity to kind of give back to people who really do a lot for us and allow us to live the way we live. I thought it was a great experience and I really enjoyed it, especially coming into this Memorial Day weekend and what it stands for.

“Back to football, we had OTA number six and I thought it was a pretty productive day both in the weight room and out on the field where we got into some red area stuff and have a couple groups of two-minute which I thought was spirited competition. More importantly, getting that installed and them running the practice I thought was pretty good. I thought it was a good day and we will be back on Tuesday ready to go.”

Q: Can you talk about your QB displaying his competitiveness in the two-minute drill?

HALEY: “Yeah, he is an excitable guy which you like that about him and you love the enthusiasm. At the same time he has to keep control. He was yelling at the officials and the official happened to be me. He said I made a bad call.”

Q: Why didn’t you give the guy that jumped offsides a penalty?

HALEY: “I talked to the team before we got started with that drill and you go from where we are practicing really well and we are working together, practicing the way you have to be practicing this time of the year and all the sudden you put a clock up there, there are sticks and the ball is moving and the guys tend to get a little over competitive and again, there are no pads. It was more about just running the operation; it wasn’t as much about winning the drill on either side.”

Q: WR Dexter McCluster made a great play during practice. Are those the kind of plays you expect out of him?

HALEY: “Yes, no doubt. All of those young guys have been making steady progress. We have still kept them separated from the vets on the weight room side. Starting next week they will all be together and they are going to have to work even harder to stay up because we took care of them and tried to integrate them in to give them the best chance to succeed, but it is going to continue to pick up for them. Overall, I thought the young guys have come out and done things to keep you encouraged about the direction we are going.”

Q: Do you encourage guys differently depending on who they are?

HALEY: “I think that is coaching. I think that is why some people are good coaches and some people aren’t. I think the coaches who understand how to push the right buttons are the ones who are good coaches. The less time it takes to figure that out the better I would think. Every guy is different and I think good coaches figure out a way to get the most out of each individual.”

Q: What changes have you seen in QB Matt Cassel since he has started working with Coach Charlie Weis?

HALEY: “I won’t get into specifics but the opportunity to bring Charlie in here and work for me and my staff was a no-brainer in a lot of respects and the opportunity to bring in another good, solid coach that knows offense, that knows how to coach, that has worked with me and knows what I want, to this point has been a seamless transition mostly for the players which I am excited about. Matt is one of those guys; it is an additional coach in the mix that gets to spend all his time with him. Any player that wants to be good wants to be coached all the time and Matt is one of those guys.”

Q: Without getting into specifics, have you seen a change in QB Matt Cassel already?

HALEY: “Yeah, he is a guy who came into a difficult situation last year. It was a whole new set of encyclopedias that he was handed. Now he has a year under his belt and having that year under your belt really makes a difference for me, for them, for whoever is involved. Like I said, to figure out from your house to work, around the building, there are so many thing that were all new to so many of us that it is a difficult transition but again, he is a year into the system, a year more of understanding what is expected of him both physically and mentally and I think he is going to continue to get better.”

Q: Can you talk about CB/S Donald Washington?

HALEY: “We hadn’t seen Donald at this point and we have talked about that before that Donald kind of had a setback right out of the gate just coming from where he was coming and their rules. Donald is a guy I am really excited about. As I have said, the one and two and three year players have to develop and have to force the arrow up for you to become a good team. He is one of those guys who the coaching staff, and more specifically myself, is expecting him to really make a jump. He is doing everything that he has to in order to put himself in a place to succeed. We talked about moving him over there to safety and I would never look at that as a negative thing, I think it is an extremely positive opportunity for him to get into the mix there and compete and hopefully find his way to the front of the lineup.”

Q: Does Washington’s development need work mostly done in the mental aspect of football?

HALEY: “No, I wouldn’t say that. The big thing with moving him over to safety was just about trying to give him the best opportunity to succeed and at the same time looking out for the team in the best possible way. The corner position is getting better every day and I feel good about it. The safety position was obviously a spot from last year that has to get better. I am excited about him being in that mix of guys, both new and returning guys, to get into the mix, push the competition up and the best man wins.”

Q: With a young man like Quinten Lawrence, how much of a setback is it that you can’t get him on the field?

HALEY: “It is always a setback when you are not out there. I think this kid has shown a lot of toughness because that (injury) was something that he dealt with the entire year that we didn’t realize was quite what it was and that impressed me number one. We couldn’t get him off the practice field. He wanted to be out there and he wanted to compete so that is a good thing. Missing time hurts but he is working his butt off in the weight room and sometimes what you think is a setback could be a real positive because he has been able to spend so much extra time working on specific parts of his body which I think will really help him once he gets going. He is on schedule and I am excited about him being back.”

Q: Can you talk about the competition at the safety position?

HALEY: “Yeah I am encouraged about the competition that is going on right now, I really am. I think we have a bunch of young guys that are doing the things we are asking them to do and they have ability that we just spoke of and that is not just Donald, that is all of them. They have ability to have a chance to be real good players. That is kind of what you are looking for. Yeah, you would love to have a guy returning that has five years under his belt and been to the Pro Bowl four or five times, that is the ideal situation. But for a position of weakness to have a bunch of competition with players that we think have a chance to be good, that is not a bad deal either.”

Q: At the safety position, are you preparing as if S Jarrad Page is or isn’t going to be here?

HALEY: “I am just preparing with the players we have here. There are a lot of excited guys here working their tails off and I am excited about these guys and what we are doing.”

Q: You have said before you are always looking for new players. Has that changed and can you talk about preparing without Page?

HALEY: “Oh yeah, that will never change but I can only coach the guys that are here and our coaching staff can only coach the players that are here and worrying about anything else will probably not be good for us.”

Q: Is there a certain mental state that you want these guys in before camp starts to help prepare them better?

HALEY: “Yeah, in all areas everything is tailored to get these guys ready for each step of the way. Right now we are building for the mini-camp but the mini-camp is not like it used to be, especially when you have 85 guys out here. We are going through it, we are installing it, and we are going through everything we need to get in on offense, defense and special teams. When we get to mini-camp, we will more than likely start over so they will get another full dose of what we are doing and then in training camp we will start over again. When I first started coaching and it was just the mini-camp, that was your opportunity. We would lift and lift and lift and when it got to mini-camp you had to get everything in and it was a snow storm, a blizzard of information going. But now, because of the way the schedule is set up, or the way we have it set up makes transition from step to step smooth.”

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