Since it rarely happens during the offseason, I figured I'd share exactly what coach Randy Shannon shared with the media during Thursday's ACC teleconference. The highlights: he says Josh Holmes was the biggest surprise of the spring; he said UM plans to only play with three running backs; he says Javarris James isn't seriously injured and he talks about how UM would handle a crisis situation. If you want to hear it with your own ears, visit www.theacc.com. They usually link up the audio in the afternoon and you probably will be able to tune in then.
Shannon's Opening statement: Right now, our team did a great job this spring. Guys flew around, executed, what we was trying to do as far as our team mentality, working hard and trying to change the culture of the mentality that we always compete and fight on everything we do as far as individual drills to walkthroughs to scrimmages to everything. And we're really excited about developing some of our young players, coming along and challenge the older players and having a competition at every position.
Q: Coach I was wondering what your initial impressions of the offense was from spring practice and what do you think held back the offense the last couple of years from being some of those great Miami offenses? Was it a matter of execution, talent, or what?
A: I really don't worry about what happened in the past and that's why I tell the players that's what we have to focus on, the future. Because you cannot change what happens in the past. Three seconds went past you, you cannot change it. Things we did in the spring football: As far as the offensive line. They did a lot of execution, different formations, different plays and we did not have what we call any illegal formations or false starts with the things we practice and that was the thing guys were getting better in their mindset, getting stronger for what we want to accomplish.
Q: What about the skill position players on offense? How did they look?
A: They did a nice job. You know, not to single out anybody. But I think the running backs did a nice job with the addition of Cooper. I think its becoming a lot of competition now cause the guys know we're probably only going to travel maybe three guys and the next two guys are probably going to have to play special teams. They won't be able to travel. Receivers kind of stepped up a little bit. Lance Leggett started the early part of spring doing a great job, had an injury, then Sam Shields had to step up. And he came out with great plays in scrimmages and situations. He showed us that he can do it. And we're real excited about our skill positions. We're going to add on some guys hopefully as freshman that'll help us out and do some great things for us.
Q: Obviously the shooting at Virginia Tech this week is not a football issue and really not what happened at Miami this past fall. What is your process for getting in touch with your players that they know there is trouble around? Can you contact them all at a moments notice?
A: Yes. We have a log in our football office, that's in every coaches office and our football office, our football relations office and all the secretaries. We have a phone list of every player and have their email address, and their text messages, we have all those numbers and their parents numbers. When something when we have to contact all the players, team meeting, crisis, anything, it's something we can all split up and get it done in a matter of two minutes.
Q: You think in some fashion reach a pretty high percentage of your team in two minutes?
A: Yes. Because we have nine assistant coaches, myself its 10. With the football relations department, we have four or five. We have three secretaries. So, we split it up amongst each other. And we go.
Q: Has that always been something in effect or is that something you've worked on in the last?
A: We've worked on it. Because you never know. We may need to call a team meeting, class scheduling or change of scheduling you may have. We've always been able to do it. Guys respond and they come up.
Q: The NCAA Management Council is proposing to ban text messaging during recruiting. Since it has been en vogue and a pretty big part of the process, I'm wondering can you put the toothpaste back in the tube?
A: Oh, It's not that hard. Recruiting really comes down to, that last part of recruiting, which is January when you go out and develop relationships with kids face to face, you know home visits and meeting with the parents as far as what you have to present from your school to their kid. That's what it all comes down to. Text messages, you keep track of a kid, if you can tell them to call you. But those are difficult things. There are some downfalls to it, there are some up sides to it. It's what the NCAA feels is best and you have to abide by it no matter what, which you may think its all a part of being in the NCAA.
Q: Javarris James finished spring game gimpy. Can you give us any update on his situation?
A: Oh, he's back running now. He had a mild sprain and he's doing well and flying around. No surgery is needed. And he's excited about the summer because we got competition there and he wants to get back involved in it. But just like any injury you need to take your time. But we expect him to be fully recovered come the first day of practice in August.
Q: Any position player or group that may have surprised you a little bit during spring practice? A guy who did better than you expected?
A: You know who kind of surprised me and this is probably singling out one player, is probably Josh Holmes, the redshirt freshman defensive tackle. He did a phenomenal job of picking up what we needed to get done this spring. And he was aggressive and powerful, knocking offensive lineman back and making plays. We're kind of enthused about the way he's performed. And now we got to maintain it and make sure he can perform.
Q: Why do you think these college players and a lot of pros feel like they need to be carrying guns?
A: I don't know. That's... a lot of them feel they need protection I guess. But I really don't know why they feel that way. I know the players on this team don't feel that way anymore and they're doing all the right things right now to be model citizens and do the right things.
Q: What does that say that you had to take the unique step of banning guns? What has society come to?
A: It's just like anything I guess. Things that happen in life that you cannot control. You just have to try do your best as a coach and as as person and educate the players what may happen when you have those things around you. One thing we've been doing a pretty good job as a staff and as a university and we'll keep reinforcing to educate the kids.
Q: How important do you think it is for UM to maintain someone being selected first in the draft? What does that say for UM and it is important to maintain that, continue it?
A: It's great because its for the school because it sets standards high and the bar high. The things that make me more proud are guys that go in the first round and also graduate. Those are the things that are very important and make it special. To have somebody go in the first round that'll be another step. Even though we've had a down year, we still had guys go in the first round, which will be great.
Q: As far as Greg Olsen, Jon Beason, can you talk a little bit about Greg and what makes him special and why he's supposed to go so high?
A: I don't know about the NFL, when they're going to draft him. There's rumors all the time that he may go first round, he may end up going second. I think Greg is unique guy that they can make him have matchup problems with linebackers because he can catch the ball and he runs very good routes and the way he can use his 6-4, 6-5 body and blocking and doing a lot of good things. As far as Jon Beason, he plays the game old-fashioned, he plays the game hard. He's a physical type player and he brings a lot of excitement to the game. If those guys see those things in him, then he'll fit those NFL teams and they'll draft those two guys.