How are fall camp practices going so far?
Practices are going good. The kids are really fun, they’re having a good time and are working extremely hard. We’ve got a lot of install, so the younger guys are trying to catch up with the older players. The energy level is there, the excitement is there, they want to work and those are the type of kids we want around.
What aspects of your job are easier now that you’ve done it for a year already?
All the things that are involved with the job. At least you can anticipate them a little bit further ahead in advance instead of hitting you from all different angles. It’s easier to adjust because you remember it, but we can continue as a staff and I continue as a head coach to keep pushing myself and find better and more efficient ways to get it done. Just all those things.
What about on the recruiting side?
Knowing coaches and getting into the schools and knowing the schools better. Identifying the positional needs and what we want out of each position so that it fits both the offense, defense and even special teams. That whole thing.
How would you describe the competitiveness of position battles in training camp?
I think we have competition at every position. I really do. The guys are handling it really well. The fact that everybody’s competing hard and not worried about where they’re at on the depth chart. They’re all just trying to go out there and trying to do exactly what we tell them to do. Those are the kind of kids that we went after. We were up front and honest and told them it’s a competition. However it shakes out, that’s how it was. If you were a scout team player, a two, a one or the best player on the team, we’re going to treat you the same and you’re just as important as everybody else.
Obviously at the junior college level you have to reload at every position when recruiting, but was there a particular group that you were really focusing on more than others?
Offensive and defensive lines are always going to be one of the bigger needs and gets. We just have the philosophy that it all starts right there. The quarterback position, because we didn’t have the depth. We ended up not having a returner. Max (Race) was a transfer sophomore and the other ones just didn’t pan out. We ended up getting someone from the Twin Cities, someone from the outer region and a transfer from another junior college.
What position groups do you think your team has retained the most experience?
On defense it was the inside linebackers. We’ve got three returners there, which is really nice to have. It’s kind of comforting. It’s that comfort blanket that they know the system, they know the calls and can really teach the younger guys on the defensive line and on the back end. Offensively it was our offensive line. We don’t have a whole lot coming back at any one of those other positions.
What do you think is different about this year‘s team compared to last season?
The focus and the buy-in to what we were doing. We had a successful season, but this is just completely different. Kids are buying in, they’re accountable for their actions, they compete and aren’t worried about where they’re going. They’re just really focused on winning the day, day by day and that’s our motto. When you buy into that it’s really fun and exciting. You wish you could practice for four or five hours. You just have that much fun. They’re picking it up fast and they’re competing. It’s all our kids. We don’t have any leftovers or any holdovers from the last staff. They only know really us. That motto is going to be my motto until I’m no longer coaching. It’s not going to change. Consistency and what you believe in, that’s what it’s all about. We just talk about winning each day no matter what adversity comes, no matter how good the day was and we just want to win the day and do it one day at a time. Win the day, day by day. The kids hear it all the time.