Wednesday practice comments

Paul Johnson (AP/LM Otero)

Navy continued its preparations for the 2006 football season with a spirited Wednesday workout. After practice head coach Paul Johnson spoke to the media.

Q. Seemed like a lot of guys had problems with the heat today or do you have some guys sick?

A. I don't think there is a virus going around, I just think it's a case of dragging a little bit.

Q. Antron Harper's over there in a golf cart.

A. Wow! That's good. He has his own cart now. What kind of cart did he get? Does he have some type of endorsement deal or something?

Q. Aren't there some other guys ill like Tomlinson and Tidwell?

A. Those two guys have a virus, but nobody else that I know of. Antron Harper practiced the whole practice.

Q. Was there something you were displeased about with that one-minute drill and the way it was being run?

A. Uh, yeah. When you take a sack in a one-minute drill you aren't exactly being a rocket scientist.

Q. Just throw it away?

A. I would hope. If you have no timeouts and you stand right there and hold the ball and take a sack you don't have to be real smart to figure out the game is probably over, isn't it? So, yeah I would think you would throw it away and if it's fourth down I would think you would at least get one off. At least throw it. You might have a better chance throwing it then holding it and getting sacked. I know they aren't going to give you a first down for getting sacked.

Q. Is this some of the decision making issues that Brian Hampton still has?

A. I don't think its just Brian, that's why you practice. We have that behind us hopefully.

Q. In terms of the option so far out here in practice, has Brian been making the right reads and the right decisions?

A. Yeah, I think Brian's done all right for the most part.

Q. How would you rate him at this stage of his development compared with Craig, Aaron or Lamar?

A. I would grade him as the starter.

Q. I'm saying in comparison to the other guys.

A. I don't know. What scale are we talking about? I don't know how you can compare them. Let's let him play a few games before you compare him to guys that have played. It's hard to say. I don't know. He hasn't been a starter and played one whole game yet so I'm not ready to compare him to guys that led their teams to bowl games. That's not fair to him.

Q. How about the back up quarterbacks? How has their development been so far?

A. They are doing some good things. They are doing okay. Basically what we are doing is we are playing each one of them at quarterback a different day. Like today, Kaipo played wide receiver, Jarred played slot and Troy played quarterback. Tomorrow Troy will play wide receiver and one of the other guys will play quarterback and we will rotate it. They are still getting snaps at quarterback.

Q. Is there one quarterback in particular you would play if Brian got hurt the first play against East Carolina?

A. Yeah, we would play one of them.

Q. Which one?

A. I have a pretty good idea, yeah.

Q. Do you care to elaborate?

A. No, not really.

Q. Are you moving these guys around to maximize their ability?

A. When you have good athletes you have to try and get them on the field. Those kids are pretty good athletes so there is no use for them to be standing over there next to me the whole game if Brian's the starting quarterback and somebody who isn't as good an athlete is getting 30 reps a game at wide receiver or slot back. I think they understand where to go and what to do so we better practice them there if they are going to play there.

Q. So much of your offense is predicated on the run but it has to be nice to have someone like Jason Tomlinson at wide receiver to make sure the defense doesn't cheat too much.

A. We have a couple of receivers that can run a little bit so hopefully we can stretch the defense if everybody is crowding the line of scrimmage.

Q. Tell us a little bit about the freshmen. The second depth chart that came out had Frazier, Lark and Carter on it. Do you have any thoughts on those kids at this point?

A. No, not really. I think it's probably a reach to think that a freshman is going to play in the first game.

Q. I think a few years ago, it was either your first or second year, that you ended up playing 12 or 14 freshmen but that number has reduced each year.

A. It should if you're starting to get better. We still may have some freshmen that play some as the year goes, but I'm just saying for the first game it's tough. They might get a rep here and there, but they aren't going to be a big part of what we do in the first game I wouldn't think.

Q. Can you elaborate on that a little bit just as you organize camp and when the plebes come in how you calibrate what you expect out of them given the fact they probably don't have their legs.

A. I think you give them every chance in the world to see if they are better than what you're playing with, but you have to understand that they are coming off of Plebe Summer and they are starting brand new and they are 18-years old and they are playing against guys that are 22 so they have to be pretty special to be able to come in and play right away. If they are better than the guys in front of them we are going to play them, but if we are playing a bunch of freshmen then that means we probably aren't real good.

Q. Coming in with all the conditions you just described you look at them a little differently don't you?

A. Not really, I might look at them a little harder. What I don't do is prejudge their abilities, because I've seen guys that maybe don't look as fast or as strong as you thought they were because of plebe summer.

Q. I think you mentioned before that Reggie Campbell was a guy like that.

A. Exactly. Reggie didn't look anything his freshman year like he did his sophomore year as far as being able to run and cut and those type of things, yet a kid like Karlos Whittaker did. He was fine his freshman year. It depends on the individual.

Q. What about the NAPS kids? Do they appear to have a physical advantage?

A. They are a year older. I think that certainly helps.

Q. Do you feel like NAPS could almost be like a red shirt year for Navy or do you think it's not comparable?

A. It's not the same. They aren't out her practicing and going through the system and being coached here and all that. It's just not the same.

Q. What about the advantage you have with putting the freshmen on the JV and letting them play five or six games?

A. I would rather have the advantage of red shirting them all and letting them play five years. That would be a bigger advantage.

Q. But with that said and since you can't do that this is the only option that you have.

A. That's the best thing we have available to us is letting them play in the JV game.

Q. Do you think that helps?

A. It's better than not playing at all. It's better than losing a year of eligibility and not having a chance to play, sure.

Q. And once you separate out the JV do they still practice out here with the entire group?

A. Oh yeah, we practice together the whole year. We don't break up.

Q. So the only thing that is different about the JV is that they play in different games.

A. Yeah, that's all. And they probably don't get to practice what we do because most of the JV team will be running scout team offense and defense so they don't really practice our stuff. They just have to go into the game and wing it.

Q. Because you do run your stuff in the JV games.

A. Oh yeah, we run our stuff the best we can.

Q. Have you found that the crème rises to the top pretty quick that second year?

A. I think so. I think you can tell a lot about them during spring practice and then that next fall you can really see a difference. They've also had a full year to get bigger and stronger too. You don't want to judge the freshmen too quickly.

Q. Do you think that the longer you're here and you get a little more power that you will be able to create a red shirt year for your guys?

A. Oh, sure. I'm sure the Secretary of the Navy will allow me to do that.

Q. Haven't you hired a lobbyist Paul? Have that written in your next contract.

A. I don't have any doubt that that is coming next (laughter).

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