Bevell/Johnson interview at Camp
Bevell: Good morning. It's our last day. We just had our last padded practice here
How about Pittsburgthis morning, and we have one more 10-10-10 this afternoon. The people here at Minnesota State have done a great job for us, real nice facilities, and we appreciate what they've done. We're looking forward to getting back to Winter Park.
Q: Can you talk about your receiving corps with Koren Robinson out of the picture?
A: Any time you lose a guy, however it is, you have to turn to the rest of the corps that you have, and those guys are given an opportunity to step up. Travis Taylor will get a lot more reps now, with those other guys - Marcus (Robinson) and Billy (McMullen). All of those guys need to step up and take it to the next level, and Troy (Williamson) is included in that.
Q: Do you have to assume as a coach that Koren will not be with you during the season?
A: As far as we know, he's not out there. If he's not out there at practice, then he's not going to be in the game. Those other guys, like I said, are going to have to step it up, and it gives them opportunities. Those guys need to be able to run with that.
Q: Do you have any idea where Koren is right now?
A: No idea.
Q: At training camp, has Troy Williamson showed you the ability to be a No. 1 receiver?
A: He's getting there. I'm not going to put that tag on him yet, but there is still a lot of work to do. We've played one preseason game. You need to take a step from our first preseason game to our second one. He's been able to take a step each and every day of practice, and he still needs to continue to do that. He has a long way to go. We look for big things from him. As long as he keeps improving - we have three more preseason games - he'll do a good job for us if he keeps improving.
Q: Brad Childress indicated that the starters will probably play a quarter again. Is that true?
A: Again, we haven't even sat down and talked about that yet. I think tomorrow is the day that we will actually put the numbers on how long the guys are playing.
Q: How is your backfield shaping up?
A: We have seen some good things from Chester (Taylor). In the game, he had some plays where he made yards on his own. Ciatrick (Fason) has done a nice job for us in camp. He is throwing it up in there, and he is a physical back. The one thing is, he is very conscientious and takes care of the small things. When you put a guy in there you have to be able to trust him, and right now we can do that with Ciatrick.
Q: What kind of training camp did RB Mewelde Moore have?
A: He was doing good. You have to be able to find what the talents are of each one of your guys. Chester is different than Mewelde, and Mewelde is different than Ciatrick. You try to accentuate their positives and use their abilities to the best that we can for our offense. Losing Mewelde for a little bit, we just have to turn to those guys and use their strengths.
Q: Do you think Chester Taylor is ready to carry the load?
A: Right now he is our number one back, and we're putting that on him. There is still a lot of time to go, three more preseason games. The offensive line still has to jell together, and then him with that offensive line, and I think that's coming.
Q: How do you grade the running game in the first preseason game?
A: In any first preseason game there are some good things and some bad things. There are a lot of corrections that we wanted to make coming out of that game, whether it was the linemen coming off and blocking the right landmark, or the back taking the right steps. When we get all of those jelled together, there are going to be some big plays. We had a couple of holes that were there that we took the wrong steps on. We had some correct steps by the backs but some bad landmarks by the linemen. All of that has to come together, and that's why you play these preseason games.
Q: Do you get a better gauge for where your offense is by playing a team that has won the Super Bowl?
A: I think any time we throw them out there against other competition you get a great gauge. There is one speed of practice. It's kind of like when you come into training camp, you've been working out for so long, but it takes it to another level when you start practicing. Then when you're practicing and you take it to a game, it takes it to another level. The guys have to get used to that level of speed. Each preseason game helps us do that. We will be able to be better from our first game to our second game.
Q: Is it another level, going from Oakland to Pittsburgh?
A: Anytime you're playing the world champs, it gives you a great barometer of where you are at. Whether it's one quarter, two quarters, three quarters, whatever we're going to end up playing those guys, it's going to give us a good read on it. The other thing is though, on the other hand, is we haven't done the whole day of game planning. We had just a little bit of practice today against that defense, and it's a different defense, with the 3-4 that they play. We'll be ready to go, but it is probably more vanilla than you would do in a regular season game.
Q: Can you say a little bit about what you've learned about WR Ryan Hoag's abilities during training camp?
A: I think I say it every time; Ryan Hoag can run all day, and that's something I love about him. No matter how many reps you give him, he's going to be out there every day, he's going to run full speed, and he's doing everything that we ask him to do. That's what you want from a guy like that.
Q: The starters at fullback and tight end are pretty much set. Who has caught your eye other than the starters?
A: Other than the starters, I really think there is some good competition at the tight end position, all the way through. We have five guys there, and all five of them bring something to the table, and they've done a nice job. There is good competition. We're throwing some guys at different spots today, just seeing if we can cross train them. They're doing a nice job.
Quarterback Brad Johnson
Q: What are your thoughts about some of the younger wide receivers? Can you comment on Ryan Hoag?
A: I played with Ryan (Hoag) a lot last year in the preseason games and in training camp I got a lot of time with him. I felt like he caught a lot of balls and we had very good chemistry. I feel like he always makes plays. I feel like he is always the odd man out sometimes. He is a great special teams player, a great guy that comes in and does some great things for you. There has been a shakeup with Koren (Robinson) right now but you just hope for good things, pray for good things for Koren right now. There are a lot of things that happen throughout the course of a year no matter what team you play for or what year it is. Whether it's injuries or whether it's something of this nature, there is always something that comes up. How your organization, how the players adjust to it will pay big dividends for us. It was something that was very unexpected. But the training will keep on moving and it will be interesting to see what happens with the organization and how they will make adjustments to that.
Q: What's your relationship like with Koren Robinson?
A: I had a very good relationship. I thought we had a good thing going on the field, I thought we had a good thing going in the locker room with each other. (He was) always friendly, always open-minded, just very easygoing, just a good-natured person. Obviously he is dealing with a disease here. Hopefully he can recover from it in some form or fashion. Really my heart just goes out to him and hopefully he is safe as well as everyone around him.
Q: What's the most important thing the organization needs to do to handle the situation?
A: There's going to be things that happen. Regardless if it's an injury like with Tank (Williams) or (Chad) Greenway or a case like this. It happens to every team somewhere down the line - of different nature. The heartbeat, the foundation of your team, that's why you come to training camp. You've got to do good on the field. You've got to have good players on the field and guys have to do the right thing and hopefully stay away from something unfortunate.
Q: Can it be as simple as Marcus Robinson taking his (Koren Robinson) spot? Will more shuffling need to be done?
A: You obviously have the three right now with Travis (Taylor), Troy (Williamson), and Marcus (Robinson). Marcus can play X and he can play the flanker position. Troy mostly is going to play X and Travis can play all three. So it depends on what happens somewhere done the line. So I feel very comfortable with those guys. You also are dealing with â€˜can guys play special teams?' when it comes down to the final roster. That is out of my hands. That's what our coaches and GMs deal with every day.
Q: Have you talked to Koren? Do you know where he's at?
A: No, I left a phone message and I'm sure he'll get it at some point and I'll talk to him at some point.
Q: Does this situation leave a bad taste in your mouth? Does it ruin the overall feel of the camp?
A: I think it's been a great camp. I feel like we've learned the system better we've got a better feel for each other. We set the foundation for your team here in training camp, whether it's just the fun stuff that happens in the dorms or on the practice field or wherever it takes its course. Obviously we've dealt with two major injuries now where we lost players and now Koren. So those things happen but the heartbeat keeps on moving. That's where we are as a franchise right now and sometimes another player gets a chance to step up. So we'll see what happens but we are definitely going to have to have some players to step up this game.
Q:How about Pittsburg on Saturday; is it tough to stay focused?
A: It always is, it's our second preseason game and it seems like we have been just beating our heads against each other in practice. I felt like we had a good performance for the short period that we were in, and obviously we are going to play about the same against Pittsburgh. But that's what's exciting about football, actually getting into the game and getting game experience and its great for a lot of the younger players too so they can show what they can do and get different looks. Obviously going against Pittsburgh it's a 34 defense, it's a little bit different look, and it's something that we will experience with the team down the road.
Q: Do you get a better gauge when you play a team that has won a Super Bowl?
A: It's pretty vanilla right now, you know both sides, and the difference with Pittsburgh is the 34 defense. It does change some of your schemes. It's not major but we've kept a pretty vanilla offense, I'm sure that they will do the same.
Q: How have Minnesota State's facilities compared to some of the other places you've trained at?
A: I love training camp here. It's great for us on the standpoint of it's easy to drive down from the cities; it's easy to get home, not too far away from your families. The site here on campus here is everything is close, within proximity, from getting to the meals to the dorms, to the meetings to the practice fields. The fans have been great at the same time. I've loved training camp here so far. It's been one of the better places I've been a part of.
Q: How impressed have you been with Tarvaris' (Jackson) progression?
A: He is the new guy on the block so he deserves a lot of attention. He's a high draft pick, and obviously he is learning. He's getting better every day and the more game experiences, the more experiences he gets at practice, the good and bad, and being able to learn from it and play at a consistent basis. That's what takes you to the next level, being consistant time and time again. It's fun to watch him grow as a quarterback and obviously he has a lot of talent. We just need to give him time to flourish and it's been fun to watch him.
Q: Anything stand out to you how Brad Childress runs this camp?
A: He talks about doing the right thing. The football team comes first. You have choices to make and consequences to live with, regardless. He's trying to put the best players on the team at the end of the day and provide us a chance to have a chance to play late into January. That's all you really want, is to have a chance and that's what we are working for.
Q: With more teams going to the 3-4, how will that help you prepare?
A: I thought we played great against the 3-4 defense last year. Last year, that's something I don't know if I want to get into right now. The big thing is getting different schemes. We face our defense every day in practice for the last 30 practices. Just getting different looks and facing different players, different types of players. Every time I drop back I kind of know what our defense is going to do in practice. Just get a different feel, especially game speed is very important right now so we are ready to go against Washington. Washington's scheme is going to be a totally different scheme than Pittsburgh so I think it's just getting a better feel for each other and now dealing with crowd noise, dealing with traveling, playing on the road, you know those types of things.
Q: Is it a goal of the offense to go into the first game as an unknown where people don't know what to expect?
A: Obviously Gregg Williams and Brad Childress have faced each other quite a bit, so there is some familiarity from that standpoint. How much all-out blitzes they show, how much three down do they show over the next two weeks, I don't expect them to. I do expect them to the very first game and that's why I think that's why it's important that we have 11 days of practice from our last preseason game with Dallas going into the Washington game. It will be very important for us.