On having three home games to start the season:
"I think any time you can play at home you like to do that. That's something across the country that's happening more and more for those teams that can get that type of schedule. I've always felt that going on the road in the pre-season, there's something about that experience that prepares you for the Big Ten championship. It's a double-edged sword. It's great to play at home and yet now we're going to face the Big Ten schedule without having been on the road, at Wisconsin. The schedule is what it is; it's that way for everybody. You play them one at a time and hope for the best."
On the 12th game:
"Well, my biggest issue as we go forward, five to 10 years from now, somewhere in there, there's going to be another push for a 13th game and that's a little bit interesting because, how many bowl games do we have now? 28? So there are 56 teams that next year will play 13 games. That's almost half the schools in the division. So we're really talking about a 14th game down the road for a lot of schools. I will say this, and this is the last time I'm going to talk about the 12th game because it is here and we're going to play it and do what we can to win every one of them. But when that vote comes to add another game, I'm hoping that there will be enough people who will stand up and do what it right for the student-athlete. I think the concept of the student-athlete, should there be a vote and should it be selected to play another game, then we have really taken a wrong step. It's here and it's here to stay, I'm sure of that."
On Gabe Watson:
"Gabe has as much potential as any player we've had here. I think it would be a great addition to our defense if he plays to that potential."
On Matt Gutierrez:
"I think he's ready to go. I know this -- he's going to be competing and that will make us a better football team"
On LaMarr Woodley:
"I think the thing about LaMarr, if he continues his progress, and that's something that we'll see, he has an opportunity to become a great player because he's got wonderful ability, he loves the game and he wants to be good. If he can maintain the kind of concentration and focus on getting better on a daily basis, if he continues to compete hard everyday then he'll be a great player. But that becomes his challenge and I'm confident that he's going to be a great player."
On Jake Long:
"Well, Jeff Backus and Steve Hutchinson started as redshirt freshmen and both those guys became first-round draft choices. Jake Long has enormous ability. He's got the kind of temperament that is conducive to greatness and I think that he loves the game. When you have that kind of attitude, the kind of work ethic he has, I think he's on his way I think he has a chance to be one of the great linemen we've had here."
On Carl Tabb:
"We need Carl Tabb to step up his performance. He's been nagged by some injuries, but we need Carl Tabb to step up."
On Antonio Bass:
"His progress this summer was slowed some by an injury he had in baseball, but right now I'd say he's ready to go. Now we have to see how quickly he picks things up. As a receiver in our offense, there's a lot of things going on before the ball is snapped in terms of motions, in terms of where you line up, and where you line up is a critical part of every play. If you're spread too wide, if you're two yards too close to the next receiver, the play is going to be difficult to execute from the quarterback's standpoint. You've got to have guys on the field who first know what to do, and that's what we'll find out here during training camp. He has the ability, there's no question about that."
On if Eugene Germany will play:
"I think we'll find that out tomorrow. We'll see how he does. I'm not being evasive, but you're dealing with guys that you have not had on the football field. There are 1,000 high school All-American teams. Multiply that by 11 and you have 11,000. That means that if you're an All-American you're one of the best 11,000 players in the country. The point is that their reputations, and I told them this last night, they really don't mean one thing here or anywhere else. It's about what they're going to do today, in the meeting, how much they learned last night and what they are going to bring when we take the field tomorrow and the next day. Do they have the toughness to continue and the conditioning level to be able to pay attention and, physically, can they hang in there day after day? Nobody knows that. I certainly don't know it."
On playing all three running backs:
"I look at developing an offense, and the thing that I feel very good going into the fall. We've got one guy, Kevin Grady, has never played in Big Ten competition, and Max Martin has limited experience. I'm not going into this season with the idea that we're going to get X number of carries and all that stuff. I'm going into this season trying to find a way to win. That means utilizing those guys and their talents. We still have a lot of things to find out about them, how they handle all the things, the protections, how they handle game competition, but certainly they appear to have everything you need to be successful, and that makes us a better football team. There may be occasion when we can use them together, but the main thing is to have at least one-back back there that can handle the football and take care of it and move the chains."
On Steve Stripling:
"Steve brings a wealth of experience; he's been in this conference for a long time. I've competed against him through the years, I've known him and he brings an outstanding knowledge of the position. I think he has a real passion for the game. He's demanding and yet he's a guy that in a very short time has earned the confidence of our players. I think that's an underrated deal, but he's gained it immediately. I think he's inherited some guys that have a lot of experience but they've gone through some developmental issues and today they're probably, as a group, as big and as strong as we've had come back here in a while."
On the defensive front:
"A year ago we were a multiple front and the way it comes down is this; you really have to almost play a different style defense when you're playing against spread offenses than you do if you're playing against two-back teams. We're going to play against more spread offenses than we did a year ago. And yet there are some outstanding football teams that we're going to play that are still two-back teams or that run enough two-back offense that you have to be able to stop the run against those teams. That will dictate what we do."
On the linebackers:
"I think Shawn Crable, Prescott Burgess and Chris Graham are three guys that really have added something to our defense in terms of speed. David Harris looked like he did before he injured his knee two years ago this spring. When you add to that Pierre Woods and Scott McClintock I like the group. I think these young guys add a dimension here. With the competitiveness of that position I like it. We'll just have to see who takes control of the playing time and the positions."
For the full presser transcript, click here.