Prince Addresses Media Prior to Spring Game

Head Coach Ron Prince

Opening statement...

“We’ve had a very productive spring. We’ve taken a pretty sharp tone and been very exacting in what we’re looking for and how we’re approaching it. I’ve been very pleased with how the players approached that and how they’ve handled that. They’ve met our expectations and I’ve been very pleased. I told them (the coaches and I were) going to be very hard to please in the spring. I thought the last couple practices have been the best ones we’ve had. Sometimes as you go through the spring you get some bumps and bruises, players start to think about the spring game and what the future might hold, and sometimes your performance wanes a little, but that wasn’t the case. I thought we had some real good work this week and I’m real pleased with that.

 

“As far as the progress of the team, I think clearly, the thing we keep looking towards is a year ago we had to improve on the offensive line if we wanted the team to get any better. Clearly defensively we have that same challenge. I’ve been very pleased with the depth that we’ve been able to build at some of those positions. You can probably make an argument that Brandon Balkcom is probably as improved as any player on defense; I’m real pleased with his development. I’m real pleased with Eric Childs, how he’s coming along, and Josh Moore has no signs of rustiness at all and he’s been really hard to deal with from an offensive standpoint.

 

“From an offensive standpoint, I really feel like we’ve got good depth on the offensive line and that’s made it possible for us to have a number of plays in which we can really see if the quarterback and receivers can challenge the defense without the pass rush becoming a factor every single play. That’s really made it possible for Jeron Mastrud to take a step forward. As Balkcom is to the defense, Mastrud is to the offense. He’s doing a really good job blocking and has been a real force. He’s starting to put a body of work together that’s impressive out there and so we’re real pleased with him. I think our wide receivers have continued to improve Coach (Dave) Brock does a great job with them. Two of the most improved wide receivers this spring have been Cedric Wilson and here of late, Lamark Brown has done a terrific job he was really difficult to deal with in the red zone the last couple of days. That was real encouraging; you see a little extra pep in his step.

 

“One of the real pleasant surprises of the spring at running back has been Keithen Valentine. He’s done a real good job of competing with those players there. Wade Weibert has been a really nice addition the coaches did a good job of evaluating him properly. He’s done a great job of coming in and learning. He’s a terrific student and he’s been that way towards his football work as well. Not that I’m unpleased with any of the players that I didn’t mention, but those are players that consistently, every single day have done something to say this player is very serious about what he’s doing and is making strides to move forward. Everybody else is a human being, has their ups and downs, these players seemingly got better every single practice and notably so.

 

“(Josh Freeman) continues to get better, continues to improve he had a terrific spring, both of them did. Hopefully we’ll see a lot of Tysyn Hartman on Saturday and see where he is along with Trey Scott. I think that’d be terrific to see those two young men get quite a few snaps.

 

“The drafting was interesting as always. The coaches had their strategies together. We didn’t announce the staffs until a few minutes before the drafting occurred, before we put them on the clock. All things considered, I think they did a good job. It was a lot of fun. The stakes are high. We’ve got bologna for the losers and steak for the winners, so we’ll see how that will go.

 

“We’ve had a good time with this and the players right now are in a couple days of what we call player development. We use Thursday and Friday to try and take a day of each to try and develop our players for their future. Today is the career day orientation. We’re really talking to players about life after football from a career standpoint, out in the civilian world if you will. What they’re lives might be after the game of football is done for them. We have some people come in and discuss some of those things. That’s where a lot of the players are now, particularly in the older two classes.

 

“Tomorrow we’ll do some things that discuss life after college football for our players. We’ll try to debunk some of the myths about the draft and agents and all that stuff. We’ll go into some of the stuff about the collective bargaining agreement and what agents can and can’t do for you and the whole process of the NFL and how it all works. These two days are really important for us as we move forward and try to put the team together and build a young man’s career and development. That’s why we’re trying to have a pause between Wednesday’s practice and Saturday’s performance since we have everybody’s attention.”