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


April 25, 2012

Mike London

MIKE LONDON:  Yes, we finished last week's spring game, actually had an opportunity to play a game.  It was covered by ESPN3.  I think that we had a lot of questions answered.  Obviously with the influx of a lot of new talent, a lot of our team and our depth and our positions that we have to fill are still going to be counted on with some incoming freshmen.  I think we're at that point in kind of the status where we are as a program as far as recruiting and the turnover of guys that are graduated and moved on.
We're young, but guys that have played in games, it's a good thing, bad thing.  We're excited about fusing incoming talent with young players that played this year, and we're looking forward to another season.

Q.  Just wanted your thoughts on the state of your defense.  Late last year I think you gave up 81 points the last two games.  Obviously in the Bowl you didn't have Greer or Minnifield, but you do lose seven players.  How much of an area of concern is the defense going into the summer, going into the season?
MIKE LONDON:  Well, the last two games we played against two very good teams.  But obviously you're going to have to keep the points down in order to give you any chance of playing winning games.  I think that the type of defense that we have now or the players that are in those positions now are guys that have been kind of growed up into it, so to speak, with the weight room guy, with the techniques being consistent.
As I said before in the opening, there's a lot of young players that played in games, maybe three‑, four‑phase special teams guys, that now are battling for starting positions and battling for depth.  The good thing is they've been in college football games and they've played.  But one of the other things is they haven't played every down or scrimmage plays that give you that kind of experience.
So coming out of spring, our secondary, obviously very young.  Some of the D‑linemen that were here have been coached.  The technique will have to step up and play.
But that's where we are at this stage of the program.  Good young talent, but they have to play in games now.  Spring practice is over, and as you go into August and you start practicing and getting ready, they're going to start keeping score.  So the concern is to make sure that we continue to develop our guys to the standpoint that they can go into games and be productive.

Q.  You mentioned the youth in the secondary.  Did you want to test them even more in the spring game?  60 passes, I mean, I don't think you're going to be Texas Tech East, so was that just a way to challenge those guys?
MIKE LONDON:  Yeah, I think it was twofold.  One, it's no secret that we had three potential starting offensive linemen out, and one of the ways to ‑‑ the young men that filled in, they filled in admirably.  We had ten offensive lines going across the board to play in the spring game.  We had over 80 snaps.  So a lot of that was just predicated on throwing the quick slide protection passes, get the ball out, get the ball in space, so being very conscious of the fact that when you're trying to run the ball up and down the field with ten linemen you might have some issues there.
So it was kind of twofold.  Be able to throw the ball, be cognizant of the offensive line guys, but at the same time, you're right, give some of these‑‑ Brandon Phelps, Brendan Morgan, Drequan Hoskey, to get them on the field, working in front of people at the stadium, going against I think pretty good wide receivers.
So I think the mission was accomplished.  You're right, we're not going to throw the ball that many times, but we just had to do what we had to do, particularly because of our depth situation on the offensive line, but at the same time get those guys some sorely needed reps back there in the secondary.

Q.  One quick follow‑up.  Last year you guys were 11th in the league in turnover margin.  Is there a way to address something like that during spring drill?  Do you practice holding onto it, little gimmick things?
MIKE LONDON:  Well, I think you can't give the ball up, number one, but you're right, as far as creating turnovers, that's always been something that successful defenses have is when they're turning the ball over and giving the ball to their offenses.
And I think more of an emphasis, probably more than any time this spring, some of these young guys that are playing is that if you get the ball and take the ball away, then you'll have an opportunity.  So it's through drills, it's through emphasis, it's through a better pass rush, putting pressure on the quarterback to make sure that he doesn't have all day to throw the ball.  So there's a lot of things that have to be addressed, and I think we did that this spring in part to try and address the pass rush situation, but also corners that I think can run.
And I think that getting our hands on footballs are kind of the main emphasis that we have.  We'll go into August camp really emphasizing that because of the length that we have of young players coming in.
But you're right, you've got to have turnovers in order to help your chances of having more possessions, and more possessions lead to more possible points, and we've got to do a better job in that area.

Q.  I'm doing a story on summer camps that you hold on campus.  I just want to find out how important summer camps are these days in recruiting, and also, what percentage of the kids that you end up signing in February go to your camps?
MIKE LONDON:  Well, I think summer camps are a tool which you can use to evaluate players.  We have several:  One‑day camps, seven‑on‑seven, big man camp, women's camp, youth camp.  We've got all kinds of camps.  But I think it allows you the opportunity to have the young men on your campus and then put them through the drills that sometimes you don't see on high school film.  You can't see a young man backpedal and turn his hips.  They come to camp and you can put them through those drills and you can assess that and evaluate it.
So I think they're very important.  They're important tools of evaluation.  You always want to also see players play live, but I think camps are very important.
I would say that every one, the last couple years, even different places that I've been, a large percentage of young men have been at camp, because you want to eyeball them, you want to size them up, you want to see‑‑ you want to coach them and see how they can follow directions and instructions, and you want to see some athleticism by putting them through the drills that you do with your own players.  It's a very, very important element of evaluation and recruiting.

Q.  You've had success recent years with Randolph, a former walk‑on, a kicker.  I believe you have some walk‑ons competing this year.  Generally what's your philosophy on recruiting kickers?  Do you like to offer scholarships directly out of high school or do you like to wait and see what they do once they get on campus as a walk‑on?
MIKE LONDON:  Well, I was listening to Coach Beamer, also, about a kicker.  It's a one‑play opportunity for these guys, whether you're kicking, kicking off or punting, and sometimes it's hard to evaluate a young man that's in high school that the circumstances are a little different in terms of what's on the line and the technique that's being taught.
So it's critical that if you evaluate a young man‑‑ it goes back to the previous question of camps.  We have kicking camps, as well, and I think when you can observe a young man on your‑‑ in front of you or at a live game and you're able to put him through the drills or try to put him through some things that maybe he might experience in a game as far as running on the field, as far as getting in his face, as far as the noise, you can do all those things, but by the same token, there's nothing better than a crowd of 60,000, 70,000 and the moment that a young man has to perform in.  It's hard to do that.  It's hard to evaluate guys like that that can do that.
So whether it's scholarship or whether it's walk‑on, you just try to do your best and see demonstrated performance by players that have done it in games and in practices and through camps and all those things.  So I don't know if there's an exact science, but it is one of the most difficult things in trying to decide whether you offer a young man, based on just one‑kick opportunities, because he can come to college and not do well or he can not do well and be an average kicker that walks on and develop into being a great kicker.  Hunter Hughes was a guy I recruited from Lafayette High School that was a walk‑on that was a good kicker in high school, and by the time he was done he was one of the all‑time leading scorers in Virginia history.

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