Some selected quotes from the first handful of practices…
The Quarterback (Peter Lalich):
“I’m still working on it every day. I don’t think I’m ready for USC right now, but hopefully this summer.”“Playing last season definitely helped. I got a chance to see the speed of college football. You can’t really see that in practice. The game is a lot faster than practice.”
“I’m looking at it as that I have to win the job, that I have to come out every day and compete with the other quarterbacks. I think we’re all competing for the job and whoever does the best in the spring is going to have the best shot in the fall.”
“[Jameel Sewell is] just telling me what I need to do: Make sure I keep my head on straight and make sure I keep working hard.”
The Running Back (Mikell Simpson):
“We all have confidence in Pete. When he was in there early in the year he proved he could play at this level. At the end he really wasn’t getting in, so he probably lost confidence, and he really didn’t take his job seriously. But now that he knows he has to be the man and carry us as far as we can go, I feel he’s going to take it seriously.”
“K.O. brings energy, and he’s that playmaker at the receiver spot that we were missing last year. We didn’t have that deep-ball threat. Everybody (saw) that. That’s why they stacked eight and nine guys in the box. … Now that K.O. is back in the lineup, they’re gonna have to respect that.”
The Wide Receiver (Kevin Ogletree):
“No matter how deep I’m at, [Lalich is] accurate.”
“I feel comfortable with Pete, just knowing he can get me the ball wherever I’m at. He’s accurate, and that’s reassuring. That’s what we like to see out of quarterbacks. You know they’re going to put the ball where you need it to be.”
“[Practicing before the Gator Bowl was] definitely a blessing in disguise. It helped me realize how much football means to me and how much of an opportunity I have here. I really feel like I’m different than I was before, just as far as knowing what I want to do, knowing how hard I work (and) knowing what I want to get accomplished.”
The Head coach (Al Groh):
“[The quarterback] position has been moving positively on a daily basis. There’s been a little bit of a popcorn deal in that one of them each day is not quite as sharp as the other two.”
“Generally, the pass rush pressure they experience on the college level is different than anything they see in high school. A lot of times, if you watch top players’ high school tapes, there’s a lot of passes thrown with relatively little pressure on them. Even with the best college pockets, you can hold them out only so long, and that’s what [quarterbacks] have to experience.”
The Assistant Coaches (Mike Groh, Bob Pruett, Anthony Poindexter, Wayne Lineburg, Bob Price, Dave Borbely, Levern Belin, Bob Diaco, Steve Bernstein):
Saturday’s RTD provided the following roster updates:
Spectators will note that several players are participating on a limited basis.
Those on the mend include offensive tackle Eugene Monroe (shoulder), offensive guard Patrick Slebonick (shoulder), tight end Mark Ambrose (shoulder), linebacker John Bivens (knee) and linebacker J’Courtney Williams (shoulder).
Also, reserve tailback Keith Payne is being held out of spring drills to concentrate on his schoolwork. Payne rushed 58 times for 219 yards and two touchdowns as a redshirt freshman last season.
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