Aug. 28, 2012
Excerpts from Coach Frank Spaziani's weekly media teleconference:
Q: How much are you going to miss your tight end (Chris Pantale) since he did so much damage against Miami last year?
A: Chris' performance was exemplary, his leadership and experience are going to be missed on all levels. We'll miss him but we are just going to have to adapt.
Q: Can you comment on Stephen Morris and the challenges he brings?
A: Stephen is a big league quarterback with a lot of skills, all you have to do is take a look at the Maryland game he started last year and they didn't skip a beat on offense. He has all the skills and I'm sure with a whole season under his belt along with training camp, we are going to be facing a real accomplished quarterback.
Q: Is it better to have a whole camp to prepare for your opening opponent or do you benefit more to having game film from the current season to help you prepare?
A: The positive is that some of our guys have the experience of being on the field but when it comes to openers, expect the unexpected. We know they are well coached, everyone on both sides of the ball are going to be excited so we just need to get out there and see what we have.
Q: What about the wide receiver situation with Bobby (Swigert) out? Can we expect more spreading of the ball around to different receivers?
A: Bobby is an integral part of our passing game, but we have some quality guys in that spot and we like who we have there. They just need to get on the field and get some game experience, Doug (Martin) has a great feel for things and we just need to put them in the right position to make a play.
Q: What about on the defensive line? Has Kaleb (Ramsey) been practicing?
A: Yeah we are fully loaded over there now, we got all the parts back and everybody is working. It's a matter of how we use them and when we use them.
Q: How difficult is it to put together a game plan for week one?
A: It's absolutely more difficult to game plan for the opener so we try to draw on things from the past. Everybody has something they hang their hat on and there will be some new wrinkles in there as well, the best motto to go by is expect the unexpected. There are going to be some things on both sides of the ball that we haven't seen before, it's just a matter of who can adjust. That's what makes things exciting about a first game.
Q: Playing Miami in the last game last year and the first game this year is an interesting dynamic, does that change things for you?
A: I don't think so, it seems like an interesting dynamic because they are back-to-back games but in reality they are nine months apart. Its two different teams and a lot of things have changed over that time period.
Q: Is it a good thing to open with a conference game?
A: I don't mind it, because it's the same for both of us and neither team has had any extra practice time. It will be good to get a good test right off the bat and find out who we are.
Q: Can you give us an idea of how (offensive coordinator)Doug Martin puts together a game plan?
A: Doug is the consummate professional, he has called games for a lot of years. What a real professional does is put the right players in the right spots, not so much take your system and bend your players into it. All the players are excited about his system.
Q: Can you compare Chase (Rettig) going into this opener compared to last year's opener?
A: He has matured, he's got 12 more games under his belt and has dealt with more adversity while realizing it won't kill him. He has a different outlook on where he is, he needs to take the next step and we need him to take the next step.
Q: Can you talk about the health of the running backs?
A: Finch hurt his leg during one of the scrimmages but we got a good report on him (recently). We like our running backs, they have all been in games and have different styles. They are all ready to play but we have contingent plans as well.