Quotes from Doc Holliday's Sept. 24 Press Conference

Doc Holliday

Sept. 24, 2013

Opening Statement:

                “I have seven coaches on the road this week out recruiting. They will be back tonight or tomorrow morning. We brought our players in on Sunday. We put Saturday’s behind us. The players have their normal Monday off and I gave them Tuesday off. I felt they needed a couple of days to get away from us. We’ll start back tomorrow. All of our coaches will be back with preparation. The thing we’re going to focus on this week is us becoming a better football team. We’re going to focus a lot on fundamentals and techniques. We’ll clean up some things and fix things that need fixed. Then, we’ll get ready to go play. Defensive coordinator Chuck Heater, offensive coordinator Bill Legg and I, we’ve been working on UTSA the last couple days. We’ll get everyone back tomorrow and get going. That’s where we are and the thing I told my players after the Virginia Tech game is that all of our goals and dreams are in place. We’ve gone through a couple of rough stretches here. We have to become a better football team because of it and learn from it, but everything is out there for us. We must make sure to get better as a team and as long as we do that, everything is going to be fine.”

On what the Herd has done well and what spots need improvement:

                “We can improve in a lot of places. Without question, our defense has made a great improvement now from where we were a year ago. Defensive coordinator Chuck Heater and the staff have done a tremendous job. You go back and look at the tape and we can be so much better. We could get so much better just by fixing a few things in one area. There aren’t a lot of personnel issues on defense right now. It’s just a matter of getting kids better and getting players lined up where they need to be. Chuck Heater has done a great job with that defense so I’m happy with the progress the defense has made. Offensively, Rakeem Cato has played extremely well. He had a couple of turnovers that we have to fix. We have to get running back Kevin Grooms healthy. One thing we’re going to try to do in this off week is get Grooms back, get receiver Craig Wilkins back and get defensive lineman Brandon Sparrow back. We have some guys who are beat up and we hope to get them back. That’s where it is at this point. We can get better in a lot of areas. The kicking game we’ve worked really hard on, but yet we’ve had a couple of issues in the kicking game that we have to get squared away. We’ll work hard on that this week too.”



On mental mistakes and blocked field goals against Virginia Tech:

                “Both teams played extremely hard. That game was lost and won multiple times. It came down to a field goal kick, but that didn’t lose the game for us. Daryl Roberts has a chance to make a play and just didn’t quite get it. Corey Tindal gets the interference call in the end zone. I tell the kids all the time that it is so important that you play every play as hard as you can because when you play a team like Virginia Tech, and we’ll play more of them, you never know what play is going to be the one the makes you win or lose that football game. It came down to one play here or there and if we make one of those plays we win. We have to get better at making sure that doesn’t happen again.”

On the performance of the defense against Logan Thomas and Virginia Tech:

                “Anytime you can get pressure without having to blitz that will help you. What’s good to see are the young kids starting to come around. We had a bunch of freshmen go in there and play last Saturday. Defensive lineman Josh Brown played an awful lot. Defensive lineman Arnold Blackmon played a lot. Blackmon is not a freshman, but he’s a new guy. Defensive lineman Gary Thompson played a whole lot. Those three we’re able to apply depth. Defensive lineman Jarquez Samuel was playing well. Defensive lineman James Rouse is playing extremely well. I’m happy the defensive line is starting to come on and now we have to add Brandon Sparrow in the mix. If we can add Sparrow in with the rest of those guys then I’ll feel we have some depth there. Linebacker Neville Hewitt is playing well. Those kids are playing well and they just have to continue to get better. We have to keep our nose to the grind (stone) and keep working hard. The one thing I like about this football team is that they play hard. They come out every week and practice hard. They come out and play. They like each other and enjoy playing with each other. They have great attitudes and that can’t change and it won’t change.”

On strength and conditioning coach Scott Sinclair:

                “Scott is with those guys 365 days a year. He talks to them every day. We’re all over the place as coaches, recruiting and whatnot. The one constant that is always there is the strength coach. He sees those kids eye-to-eye every day. Scott does a great job with the guys physically and the character he represents in himself is great. The players buy in to what he tells them. Again I like where we are as a team, but we can get better and have to get better. At this point, I don’t like where we are record-wise (2-2), but I like our team a lot. I look forward to our conference play and of course the next game against University of Texas at San Antonio.”

On relationship with UTSA head coach Larry Coker:

                “I had some games with him when he was at Miami. He was at Ohio State years ago. We’ve crossed paths many times recruiting and I have played against him many times. UTSA is a good football team. I’m not sitting here blowing smoke. Go watch them. They scored 35 points on Oklahoma State, they’ve played Arizona tough and they’ve beaten UTEP on the road. They beat New Mexico on the road and play Houston this week which will be a good gauge. UTSA has a quarterback in Eric Soza that is talented. He’s done a tremendous job and they’ve only played football for three years. You turn on the tape and it doesn’t look that way. It’s amazing what Larry Coker has done with that team in a three-year period. Go watch the film and you’ll like what you see. I know he does.”

On coaching against Larry Coker:

                “Larry is an excellent coach. Look at his record at Miami. He had 9 wins, 10 wins and won a national championship. He’s a tremendous coach and has had success wherever he has been. I have great respect for him and you can tell just by watching that team that they are well coached.”

On Rakeem Cato saying the defense is the strength of this team:

                “The plan to win always starts at playing good defense. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to that point until just now. The strides Rakeem Cato has made from a leadership and intangibles standpoint, I’m proud of the kid. I saw him over at the office a little while ago and he’s already preparing for next week. The kid loves to play ball. Every week when he steps on the field, you know what you’re going to get. He may be the most competitive quarterback I’ve ever coached or been around. He competes in practice and in games because he just loves to play. He’s really grown up as a quarterback and as a leader to the football team. I’m just so proud of him.”

On the placement of the off week:

                “It comes at a great time. When you lose a game to a popular school like Virginia Tech that’s all people want to talk about all week. If we had to line up and play this Saturday, kids on their way to class would still be talking about the Virginia Tech game even with UTSA coming in to play. I’m glad we can get this out of our system and move on. It’s the fourth week of the season and we have some guys who are banged up and need some rest. We need to get all those guys back healthy. We need to get James Rouse some rest. We have some guys with some nagging issues that we need to get taken care of.”

On what James Rouse brings to the Herd:

                “Number one he is a great player. He’s a guy who can play for anybody. He’s a great player and the leadership he brings. He’s tremendous. The message he brings every week is tremendous. There are not many people that would go through the adversity he went through to play football. He’s done that and is playing extremely well. I’m glad he is because he has not only become a great player, but also a great leader.”

On Jeremiah Taylor’s status:

                “Jeremiah Taylor is one guy who is going to be out a while. I won’t go into specifics on the injury, but he won’t play against UTSA. Sad, but he won’t.”

On Kevin Grooms’ health:

                “We want to make sure when we bring him back that he is good to go. He may not get any work until Sunday, but at that point he should be good to go. Those high ankle sprains are not good deals. We have to watch him in practice. Last Tuesday we felt like we had to get him in actual contact drills to see if he could play or not. He wasn’t there during that inside period so we just shut him down. Doctors and trainers felt the best thing to do was have him in the boot to insure his availability for the game against UTSA.”

On the target areas for recruiting during the off week:

                “They’re all going to different areas, at least seven areas. Three or four of them will be in multiple areas. I’d say anywhere from 10 to 12 different states or areas that we’re into. They traveled on Sunday which gave them two full days. They won’t have to get in until tonight. Some are flying in early in the morning tomorrow. Two full days of getting to see some people and teams are practicing too. So they get to see some practices. Every day is like a two-minute drill in recruiting. They better get there early and leave late and they do that. I have good coaches. I don’t worry about what they do when they get off the plane because they work hard and know what they have to do. They’re good guys and good coaches. Now with what we have committed and already on campus, there are not a lot of spots available. We have to be very selective from here on out in terms of who we do take. We need a couple of offensive tackles. That’s one area that we are working extremely hard on. Other than that, there are just a couple of areas. From what we have committed, we don’t need to be in a hurry. There will be a lot of good players that will fall in January and we have to be sure that we’re there with a couple scholarships that we can take advantage of the kids that fall our way or that we end up getting on a little later.”

On the recruiting of Georgia players:

                “Freshman offensive lineman Michael Selby played extremely well. I haven’t been around a freshman who has played as well as he has. He played a lot of snaps in that Virginia Tech game and blocked supposedly the best defensive front in America and did a good job of doing it. He’s a player now. He’s a true freshman from Georgia who we are excited about. Junior linebacker Neville Hewitt is another Georgia kid who is playing extremely well. Sophomore safety Taj Letman came in from Georgia and is playing well. Freshman defensive back Tiquan Lang is playing on special teams. Senior offensive lineman Garrett Scott is playing well. The kids that we have from Georgia are playing well and they’re really good kids. We focused a lot in that area. Number one, there’s good football. They are well coached in Georgia. They’re tough and they like football. That’s the kinds of things we are looking for. They’re like South Florida kids, only they live out in the country. Recruiting to me is getting out and out-working people. I’m not concerned with a lot of guys (coaches) out there who have name recognition, but won’t get out of bed to go to work. Todd Hartley, I guarantee you when he is out there, he gets up early, goes to bed late and he works extremely hard at what he does. That’s what makes a good recruiter in my mind. You have to establish relationships and he does all that along with Thomas Brown, who does has name recognition in Georgia. Thomas also has the work ethic that is required to be a good recruiter. When UTSA comes in here, look at its roster. It’s all Texas kids. It’s right there where it can draw a 6-hour radius around campus and win a conference championship with the players they can recruit. North Texas is tough. When you look at the Texas schools and Florida International and Florida Atlantic and the Old Dominion’s, we have no recruiting base like that. Unfortunately, we just don’t. Our recruiting base has really now become Georgia and Florida and we’re competing with Conference USA schools that are located in that area. That new indoor athletic facility is going to help us in recruiting, along with tradition that we have and the fanbase. We’re going to out-recruit those people, but we still have to out-work them because we’re going into their areas and getting their kids and bringing them here. They are trying to get them to stay at home.”

On his time recruiting in at other universities:

                “Other than being at the University of Florida, where you just want to get the right guys that were making great decisions and doing all the right things. That was the issue you had there, but you were going to get 25 good players. The other places I’ve been at, you had to out-work people and you got kids because they trusted you to do a great job with them. I know how to recruit and I know it’s all about relationships, honesty and out-working people. That’s what it is all about. I’ve surrounded myself with people on this staff that do that. That’s the only chance we have because we have to out-work people to make sure we get the quality of player we get here to go win a championship. That’s what it is all about.”