home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


August 27, 2014

Dave Clawson

COACH CLAWSON:  We're about to hit the road here soon.  We're looking forward to get the season kicked off.
I think we're a much improved football team since the spring.  I believe we're in much better shape.  We're stronger.  I think the kids have a better understanding of our offensive, defensive and special teams systems.
But, again, you can feel that way, but you find out for real once you start playing the game.  I think our guys are excited to go.  We're looking forward to playing on national TV tomorrow night.

Q.  You're starting a true freshman in the first game.  How much more important does that make your defensive effort to take pressure off the rookie?
COACH CLAWSON:  I think we've got to find ways to steal possessions.  In openers the turnovers are always critical, the special teams position game.  Obviously defensively will have a lot to do with that, creating field position, not allowing drives.
I don't know if your first game with a true freshman if you really want to get into a shootout.  If we have to do that we have to do that.  We'd like him to be able to manage the game.
At the end of the day, the quarterback has to make plays for you.  We're going to need John to do that.

Q.  Did you have a sense before John got in there that he'd have an opportunity to win the starting job right away after a few weeks into camp?
COACH CLAWSON:  We told both freshmen quarterbacks they'd have a chance to compete for the job.  Graduating a four‑year starter, the job was open, I think that was part of the attraction in our situation for both freshmen.  At some point in the summer, some of the upperclassmen starting coming in saying, Coach, that freshman is really, really good.
It just became evident early once we started practice.  I think it was by the third or fourth or fifth practice, he just had a great grasp of the offense.  He worked extremely hard this summer.
I did not anticipate making the decision as early as we did.  But it really cleared itself up.  At that point with a freshman, you wanted to give him every single rep you could with the first offense.  Up until this point he had been throwing a lot with the twos and the threes.  Unlike a third‑year first‑time starter who has been throwing to the same group of receivers, there's very little history between him and our current receivers.  We had to force feed him as many reps as we could once we made that decision.
Again, our job was open.  That was part of the attraction to it.  We told those guys they'd have a chance to compete.  He took advantage of it.

Q.  What has been the most impressive thing about him so far?
COACH CLAWSON:  I just think his maturity level.  He's the same person every day.  A lot of times when you deal with younger players, there's a little bit more of an emotional rollercoaster with them.  When John crosses that line to step on the practice field, he's all football.  He's focused.  There's not a lot of reps where you're shaking your head saying, What is he thinking about?  For the most part, the ball is going where you anticipate the ball to go.  When a play breaks down, he makes very good decisions of when to push it, when to throw it away.
Again, this will be his first game.  Keep things even more interesting, a true freshman snapping to him.  He is certainly as ready as any true freshman I've been around.

Q.  I wanted to ask about the defensive line.  Obviously you couldn't have picked a worse place to lose a key player.  Can you talk about how that's shaping up with Garcia gone?
COACH CLAWSON:  We're going to have to play a lot of players there.  Defensive line, that's always the case, but more so for us.  We're going to be rolling in three or four different tackles, three or four different ends.  We have some guys that played some football here, Tyree Harris, Josh Banks have played a little bit.  Zach Allen and Des Floyd have played some.  We'll have a lot of new faces out there.  If you look at the depth chart, you have Wendell Dunn, redshirt freshman.  Duke Ejiofor, a redshirt freshman.  Zeek Rodney, true freshman.  Banks and Lewinson are both redshirt sophomores.  Neither have played very much football.
A lot of those positions we're going to have to handle by committee, try to keep them fresh.  I don't know if we have a lot of players there right now that are ready to play 55, 60 snaps a game.  We'll have to roll them, keep them fresh, and hopefully we have some gas in the tank in the fourth quarter.

Q.  You mentioned true freshman at quarterback, at center, defensive line.  I know you can't tell me exactly, but do you have a sense of how many true freshmen might be playing right away?
COACH CLAWSON:  Probably at least nine.  Some of them are playing because I do think they're ready.  Others are playing because we don't have anybody else.  We're very thin.  We don't have a lot of depth right now.  So some guys are going to get opportunities probably before they're ready.
But the hope is once they get two, three, four, seven, eight, nine games under their belt, they'll be much better players for it.  And they're talented players.
But, again, that was part of the attraction of coming here.  They knew they'd have a chance of early playing time.  We want to redshirt people, we really do.  That's something we'd like to do.  We don't have the luxury of doing that this year.  We're very thin in a lot of spots.
In a lot of cases if the freshman isn't starting, they're the next person in the game at their position.  You're not going to get through a 12‑game season without having some injuries.  You need to have some depth, help your special teams, do those things.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297