Aug. 23, 2011
Kory Faulkner and A.J. Hill. Lennon said Faulkner and Hill are "2A and 2B" on the depth chart.
Lennon also said junior running back Steve Strother will start at running back in the Sept. 3 opener at SEMO, although the distribution of carries between Strother, Shariff Harris and Jewel Hampton has not been determined.
Here is a transcript of today's Q&A session with the media.
Q: "Regarding John Goode's injury. Would it be possible to redshirt him if you need to?"?
"Right now, this could be a career-ending situation. The final chapter hasn't been written yet, but he's in some pain, and he's dealing with the back, where you have to be careful."
Q: "Will LaVarus (Williams) be able to redshirt?"
"He would lose a year, and we knew that when we brought him in. He had a meniscus repaired in the summer. The good news is that he could help us if we're fortunate enough to be playing into November and December, we could be getting him back about that time."
Q: "Is Kyle Cavil gonna be out?"
"No, Kyle's good, he'll be practicing today."
Q: "What pushed Paul (McIntosh) over the edge in the quarterback decision?"
"Just consistency. His demeanor, doing the little things right, making good decisions, being confident. A lot of times it's just watching him in the huddle and watching how his teammates respond to him. There are a lot of factors that go into choosing who your number one quarterback is. It's not always who has the best arm or whatever people think that you should evaluate. Plus, his experience -- Paul has been through the battles. He knows what the jitters are like come September 3. That was the reason he got the number one nod. I think he had the most consistent camp of all three quarterbacks and I think he is definitely poised to be a good leader for us."
Q: "At what point did you make the decision to go with Paul?"
"It wasn't one point, it's a continuation, and that's why you set a depth chart going into camp and you see if there is anything there that's going to make it go one way or the other. Both A.J. (Hill) and Kory (Faulkner) had very good camps, they showed what they're capable of doing. It's just that we felt that Paul was the most consistent."
Q: "Will Steve Strother be taking the bulk of the carries this year?"
"He'll be taking the first snap."
Q: "Do you have any idea on how you might split the carries between all the backs this year?"
"You don't know until the game develops, and it depends on the gameplan. There are some gameplans where you're going to be very run-dominant and you're going to have 40 to 60 carries a game. And there are other games where you'll only carry it 30 times. That is a game-by-game decision. Again, all four running backs are very good. They're all capable of being starting tailbacks for us. We don't want to get caught up in who's starting, that's not important. It's just how we can contribute to the final outcome."
Q: "Where is Tanner Crum a better fit -- defense or offense?"
"Well, offensive linemen are tough to come by. Right now, where he can help us most is on the offensive line. If you were to look at our goal line defense, he would be out on the field, so he'll play some on defense, also. Our thought process when we pulled the shirt off was that we wanted to make sure that they're contributing significantly, so we definitely have a plan for Tanner."
Q: "Will Kenny Boatright be back at practice this week?"
Q: "You mentioned Travis Littles, do you think he'll be back at practice this week?"
Q: "Could you talk about the kicker role?"
"Right now, (Jackson MacLachlan) is our best field goal kicker, so we'll probably use him in most situations. I'm not getting into 'what if it's a 55 yard field goal at the end of the game?' -- I don't need to make that decision right now."
Q: "What about kickoffs?"
"Right now, Chris (Adams) has to be more consistent with his kicks, but he definitely has the leg for that type of a kick. That's what we're looking for, especially with the ball being on the 30 yard line, that's a big component of your defense is being able to kick the ball deep enough to be able to create field position that is somewhat manageable for your defense. We're hoping that Chris can give us the leg to do it."
Q: "Were there any surprises from camp this year?"
"We've had a few pleasant surprises, some guys have stepped up and been factors. It still comes down to game performance to see if your depth is really quality depth. And those are things you change during the course of the year. What you do in the pre-fall, you try to give yourself a glimpse of what you have to work with, and naturally as the games progress, you adapt and go from there. When you look at the depth charts, we do have some quality depth pretty much across the board. Last year in doing this, I was hoping so-and-so doesn't get hurt. It was one of those things where if you could keep the right guy healthy, we're gonna be pretty good. Well, we had some of the right guys get hurt and we didn't have the depth that we needed to sustain the season."
Q: "How is the defense looking this year? Are they meshing well together?"
"I think the familiarity with the defensive unit is noticeable. We run a fairly complex system with the 3-4. We love bringing pressure, we'll probably have pressure 70 percent of the time. The thing that we were disappointed in last year is we just didn't have the assignment percentages that we thought we should have. We had too many missed assignments, and when you have missed assignments, that leads to big plays. So that has been a huge focus in making sure that we're doing a better job as coaches in instructing the players and teaching them exactly what we want and have very few breakdowns that occur. If we can accomplish that, I like the way the defense runs, I like that we have more experience than we had last year, and I think we have a good combination on that side."
Q: "How is Mike McElroy looking coming off his injury?"
"Mike (McElroy) is an experienced player. He's been in our program for a long time and he's been in this defense for a long time. This is his fourth year, and he knows the checks and the calls and everything we do is all second nature to him, so he's definitely a guy that can make a difference."
Q: "Do you feel that the hole left by Korey Lindsey can be filled?"
"Well, anytime you lose a guy that's in the NFL, that is a big hole to fill. But, I do think we have quality depth. In fact, what you'll see is that we'll do more rotations at the corner position. We're not going to have one set of corners out there playing. You're gonna see four to five corners getting reps during the game. We want to keep them fresh, and when we get worn down we make more mental mistakes. So you'll probably see more rotation in the secondary than what you'll see with most defenses."
Q: "As you're nearing the end of camp, what do you feel the identity of the team is now?"
"Right now we're bringing it together. All the little things you have to do, making sure we feel good about every component, every game situation that we could possibly be in will be presented to the team here in the course of the week. There are things we still need to do a little better, and the big thing right now is to get healthy and get ready."
Q: "Without the scrimmage, how do you get game ready without going live again before the first game?"
"I think we're almost there. I was happy with the last scrimmage and the things that we were able to do. I thought it was at a higher level than what we've been at in the past. Now, we'll still work situations during camp and practice, it's just not going to be a scrimmage situation."
Q: "When will the scout team start running as SEMO?"
"Thursday and Friday we'll start making that preparation."