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Friday, August 14, 2009

Afternoon notes: A team divided cannot stand

Just finished some interviews. Let's see if I can read my chicken scratch to get some notes up:
  • Both RB Ben Tate and CB Walt McFadden were pleased that the quarterback situation did not drag out like it did last year. Both players said Tony Franklin's decision to prolong the competition into the actual season divided the team. McFadden made it sound like it was an election almost, with one player saying he's a Kodi Burns guy and another saying he's a Chris Todd guy. This year's decision in early August to go with Todd changes that. "To be honest, I'm proud of my coach," McFadden said.
  • Both players said this is a united team this year, something made easier by Burns agreeing to move around to different positions and giving Todd an endorsement in an impromptu speech shortly after the decision was made. "It took a lot of heart," Tate said.
  • "We know it was a fair competition and everyone was out there competing," said Tate, who refused to talk about last year's situation. It's pretty easy to infer from that that the players didn't think everyone got a fair shake last year.
  • Gus Malzahn reiterated Gene Chizik's assessment that Todd provides the best experience and leadership at the quarterback position. Malzahn said he was concerned about how Todd's arm would hold up when practice began but has been reassured by it in the last week. He said besides the regular fatigue that comes with camp, it's help up so far.
  • Malzahn stressed the importance of getting a starter named so he can work on the timing with receivers. Apparently, timing is the most important part of this offense.
  • Malzahn said Todd has a savvy about him to be the starter. "He's got that 'it' factor," he said, describing something you can't teach. Everyone else seemed to agree. "He's a natural leader," Tate said.
  • Malzahn said Tyrik Rollison will get the majority of reps as the backup for now so that the team can make an assessment of where he's at. He said they have a good idea of what Neil Caudle can do, since he had 15 spring practices and the first week of August to evaluate him.
  • Caudle, naturally, was disappointed he didn't get the job. He definitely seemed a little bummed, which is understandable. "I've heard it a few times," he said. "It gets tougher and tougher every time." Everyone involved said he's been classy throughout the process.
  • Caudle said he "hasn't even thought" about transferring.
  • Malzahn didn't rule freshman Clint Moseley an automatic redshirt candidate quite yet, saying he'll continue to get reps.
  • Rollison said one of the biggest things he needs to do is be more vocal, describing himself a not a "verbal dude." He said his high school used mostly signals to communicate plays. Here, it's mostly verbal communication. He described Todd as a "leader, very outspoken."
  • We also have a corrected pronunciation on Rollison's first name, this one coming from him. It's Tie-RICK, with the emphasis on the last syllable. We'll see if it changes again by next week.
  • There's a night practice, so we'll have an update after that.


Anonymous said...

Your the man Andy!

Anonymous said...

Andy, are there any players left in the NCAA "Publisher's" Clearinghouse?

Andy Bitter said...

Just Taikwon Paige. He didn't make it.