After the Patriots game you said you weren’t happy with two three-and-outs. What do you need to see from your offense Friday night?
“We want to look sharp. We want to move the ball. We want to score points. We want to limit mental errors and just play at our level of expectation.”
How do you feel at this point in camp?
“I feel like there is still a lot of work to be done. We’re certainly not satisfied with where we are. I feel like we have made progress but we still have a lot of work to do.”
Is this defense the toughest you’ve gone against since you’ve been here?
“I would say there were challenges, any time you have a new defense. Really, any time you come in the first day of come because there are always new thing that you are installing that weren’t there before. In this case, it’s an entirely new defense. There are some basic defensive principles that are always going to be there but then you kind of build off of that. I say that each defense, just like each defensive coordinator, has a certain style, certain tendencies that you just, that you just take a while to start recognizing things.”
Talk about the amount of dropped balls today.
“Listen, there have been some bad throws, some bad reads, there have been some drops. There have been some mental errors, a little bit of everything, and that’s what you work through with camp. Yes, in parts, it’s the elements but you have to train yourself, discipline yourself to fight through that. Yes it’s hot out here and there are times that you are exhausted. Guys are running all day long, but you have to be able to fight through that and concentrate. That’s the whole part of it, when you are physically exhausted, your mind still has to work.”
How important is it to have fun?
“It is fun. You have to have fun to break up the monotony, also, because we are blessed to play this game and do what we do. We work hard, and yes it takes a lot of discipline but we want to have fun doing it at the same time. We enjoy each other’s company. I know in the quarterback room if you do something stupid on the field, you are going to get made fun of. There is nothing that you can do that we will not pick up on and make fun of you for. Everyone is fair game and that’s the camaraderie and the team chemistry. That’s what you love about this locker room. From what everyone tells me, when you leave this game, those are the things that you miss, the camaraderie.”
After everything that happened this offseason, talk about playing in front of your fans this weekend.
“I’m excited to be in front of the home fans. It feels like we have been away for a while. With both of those away games back to back, we didn’t even come home in between. So it feels like we haven’t been in the Dome in a long time. It’ll be great to get in front of the home fans and hopefully we will put forth a good performance and continue to march forward in getting better this preseason.”
Are you concerned about the replacement referees?
“I would be concerned if they went into the regular season, certainly. I think it’s just the level of experience that the officials have. They all become so recognizable. We all have our official reports throughout the week and we know a lot of these crews, many of officiated our games many, many times. I think you know and respect their level of expertise and the type of game they were going to call. It’s just like on a team and say hey we are going to put five rookies in front of you with a bunch of first year players running and catching the ball. You just don’t have the same level of trust and confidence. There is always a possibility that it might cost us a game, but we are going to worry about things that we can control and that’s playing football and try not to give them a reason to make the close.”
Is this one of the most challenging training camps of your career?
“They are all challenging. You get out of it what you put into it. It is time consuming, it’s all day. It’s a constant grind, whether it’s physical or mental in the meeting room. It just seems like there is so much to be done in such a short amount of time but you just have to be very efficient and great time management.”
Is it normal at this time in camp for things to get sloppy, you get tired, and you get a tired football team?
“Yes, that’s why they call it the dog days of two-a-days. It’s been a couple of hot days here in a row. I know yesterday, especially, it drained a lot out of us. We have to fight through. It’s a part of what brings us together as a team. You pay the price now so you can enjoy the reward later.”
Who would make the better Olympian, you or Jimmy Graham?
“What events are we talking about here, a decathlon? I don’t even know why I am pausing here because it is obviously him. I am just trying to figure out where I might have an edge. There are a few things…if you guys wanted to put together a ten event Olympiad between me and Jimmy, I’m game.”
How has Cadet looked out there?
“Yeah, he’s been great. I think what I’ve most impressed with is it never seems to be too much for him. Our offense can be complex and we do a lot of things and ask a lot from the running backs in regards to the running game, the pass game protection, coming out of the backfield, splitting them out, doing a lot of things and yet for him he has picked it up so quickly. It never feels like it’s too much for him, he is always in the right place at the right time, doing the right thing and you can count on him. That’s really what you want out of that position.”
As a leader of the team how do you deal with the “us against the world” mentality? Do you think it helps?
“I don’t preach it, I have been asked it probably ten times here. I don’t think we have that mentality. I think the mentality we have is that we know we are a contender in this league but we have to go out there and prove it everyday. We always play with a chip on our shoulder. We always play with something to prove. There are people gunning for us because we have been the division champions the past two years, made it to the playoffs and won the Super Bowl. We have won more games these past two years than anyone in this league. We know people have us circled on their schedule. We know we are going to get their best performance. We know we need to put forth our best performance. We have high standards. We set the bar high. We have enough things to worry about other than who is rooting for us and who is rooting against us. Certainly with the circumstances of what happened in the offseason we feel like maybe we have been put at a disadvantage, others might see that. When you get your head coach taken away and your interim head coach taken away for six games and your general manager and some key players, but we have to move on, we have to move on because we have to. We have no other choice. We have the type of leadership in place for that. As far as the mentality goes, we take one day at a time, one game at a time and always something to prove. The guys know this. We have talked about it this offseason and this preseason. It’s one of those things that you don’t want to beat it to death. It is what it is. I can only worry about what we can control and that is how we are going to come out and work each and everyday and work with a purpose. We need to focus on how we can get better and how we can continue to set the bar higher and higher everyday. Statistics don’t always tell the story though. We can do better in so many different ways. In a lot of cases it is just subtle things. It’s a subtle thing here and there that might get you an extra first down, or allow you to convert maybe one more time in a short yard situation or in the red zone. Or give you one more big play opportunity in the game that could change a game, or win you one or two more games. As we know, if you can do something that wins you one more game, you have home field advantage instead of having to travel for the divisional round. I know the perception is that we are a dome team and that we maybe struggle to go on the road and that kind of thing. Our mentality is, no matter where we are playing, what time of year, or who we are playing against, we expect the same thing. Nothing gets held back, we are going to approach it the exact same way. Certainly the Dome is a big home field advantage. The crowd noise, the energy, the electricity, look at the track record at home, it’s pretty darn good. So yeah, there is always that advantage and everybody wants to play at home in the playoffs but you gotta do what you gotta do to but you have to try and get that number one seed and if your don’t then you have to go on the road and make it that way.”
How has Pete Carmichael has handled everything?
“I think he has handled it very well. I think Pete is one of these very cerebral guys. He is quiet in a certain sense that he is not a yeller or a screamer. In a lot of cases you can…I mean I have been around Pete long enough I see the wheels turning. I know when he is sitting there thinking and putting it together. He has a lot of great people around him with Joe Lombardi and Aaron Kromer and the entire offensive staff but Pete is always one of those guys who is always going to be prepared for every eventuality, every situation and that gives me so much trust and confidence in him. Our dialogue is just constant throughout the week so I feel like by the time gameday rolls around, we have talked about every situation, every play, when we want to call it, where we want to call it, situation in the game, yard line, you name it. By doing that you go into the game with so much confidence, so much on the same page.”
Everyone has an opinion. Over the course of the last three days here is what I think about the 2013 New Orleans Saints Minicamp.
A. Rob Ryan is making a difference – From the little time I've been around Coach Ryan I can tell you he is a guy...
The New Orleans Saints wrapped up their three day minicamp today with a morning practice. If the Who Dat Nation is looking for good news about their defense, then the showing the defenders gave during these three days of practice has to be at the very...
They did not play their best baseball of the season. They did not have their full roster of players. And they at times did not look like the #1 ranked team in the nation. But none of that matters after the LSU Tigers won their regional with a clean...
If anyone knows a thing or two about being a wide receiver, it's a former NFL wide receiver, right? Now entering his second season over the Saints wide receivers, Coach Henry Ellard is pleased with what he has seen thus far out of pass...
The New Orleans Saints hit the practice field this morning at 10:15 to begin their annual mini-camp. The Saints went through an installation period at the start of practice and then the team began to stretch at 10:46. (My full recap follows, and scroll...
LSU fans proudly donned shirts that read "Geauxmaha" at the College World Series. Perhaps they should trade them in for shirts that read "Geaux-home-aha." That's exactly what LSU is doing after just two games in Omaha, and until they change a...
It's hard to believe two of the top baseball programs in the country are looking at a "two and done" scenario at the CWS this afternoon. The Tigers and Tarheels have gone back and forth in the national polls as the number 1 team in country, with LSU...
Sure, Alex Bregman's error in the 8th inning led to the go-ahead score for UCLA in a 2-1 win over LSU. Catcher Ty Ross also committed an error as well in the 6th inning that lead to a run. However, those are physical mistakes. The mental mistake of...
The LSU Baseball team took in a practice at Bellvue East High School just south of Omaha on Saturday. The team, and their coach, seemed very relaxed.
The day started with overcast skies and a few drops of rain, with much stronger weather...
I caught up with LSU Head Coach Paul Maineiri here in Omaha as he signed autographs for Tiger fans at TD Ameritrade Park. The LSU faithful were out in force two full days before their first game, with a line for autographs that stretched halfway around...