After some time to review and look over film and his notes from spring practice Coach Stockstill is finally in the hot seat for the last installment of our 5 Burning Questions Series. This is from TSR's interview earlier this morning.1) TSR-In your mind what were the biggest question(s) you hoped to answer during the spring practice period? Did you find the answers you wanted?Stock-
Question is probably not the right word here because I feel that implies you have doubts about something. I would say I go into every spring with a focus on certain players or position that I hope to see improve or make certain gains.
One of those areas this spring was obviously the quarterback position as we lost a senior starter from last season in Joe Craddock. I was very interested to see how Dwight Dasher and Brent Burnette would perform with what we are doing now on offense and also how they are evolving into the leaders of the offense.
I thought both guys took advantage of the spring and got better each day. Dwight made good decisions with the ball from a protection standpoint. From a leadership view Dwight made great strides and I feel like he is maturing as an individual and as a quarterback. He gained the respect of his teammates this spring and now has to carry that through the summer, camp and into the season. Brent also progressed very well with the new offense but he needs to improve his arm strength which will come with age and continued work in the weight room. Brent is also a good leader and will only continue to improve as he gets more opportunities to play. He really works hard and takes pride in how he conducts himself and how he goes about his business. I have a lot of confidence that if both guys have a great summer working out, studying the playbook and truly buy into what we preach about competing in every aspect of life in order to be great I feel like they can help this team get to where it needs to go.
The second area I wanted to watch was our group of linebackers. Obviously Danny Carmichael is our foundation at that position but I was intrigued to see how the group around him would respond to the opportunity of being thrust into the arena so to speak. We know there is potential on campus right now but we needed to see that carry over on the field or we might have to consider throwing the incoming guys in the mix during camp.
I thought Cam Robinson performed his best since his arrival here. Hopefully he will build on this momentum and carry it over into the summer and fall. I think that during the early spring he changed his mind set and made a commitment to step up his game mentally and physically. Gorby Loreus and Darin Davis also made great strides and showed why we were excited to bring them on campus. The position is still a major concern mainly from the lack of depth but if these guys continue to compete and get better it will be a solid group.2) TSR- What are your thoughts on the progression of the offense so far under Tony Franklin? In what area is the offense ahead of schedule and in what area has it been slower to develop?
I think the second half of spring ball is when the guys were able to flip the switch and begin to get better in this offense. After they began adjusting to the terminology and new position techniques you could see improvements each day. Now with that said I don’t feel like we are ahead of schedule in any area at this point, it will be a gradual process of learning and I am pleased at where we are at this point of the process. Along with that if we are behind or deficient in any area it is with the individuals who missed spring because of injuries; guys like Jake Padrick, Brandon McLeroy, Colin Boss, Marcus Thurmond and Sancho McDonald.3) TSR- How do you feel about the young quality players that are starting to add depth on defense? What impact do you hop the ’09 signees have on the defensive side of the ball?Stock-
I feel good that we are beginning to develop depth on defense except for the linebacker position. That’s why our coaches hit recruiting so hard and spend a lot of time evaluating film; we want to bring guys in that we feel can really compete. The strongest showing for our young guys right now is in the secondary, we have some talented older guys there already but Derrick Crumpton, Denzell Guerra, Hakeem Johnson and Jawan Carson have added quality depth to the position and will compete just like the older guys. Up front Phillip Tinsley and Kendall Dangerfield both showed flashes of really good things to come as they have a big upside. With injuries and depth issues the linebackers, skill guys and a defensive end will have the quickest chance to see the field this fall.4) TSR- As players start their summer program at the end of May, what benchmarks or indicators of improvement will you hope to see at the conclusion of the summer going into camp?Stock-
Our players have always reported to camp in great physical condition because of the summer program they go through. Our guys work harder than any team I have ever been associated with and they do this all on their own because the NCAA mandates that summer workouts are voluntary. Because of their track record and because I know they want to compete I don’t have any doubts they will enter camp in great shape. The QB’s, RB’s and WR’s must have a productive summer throwing and catching in order to continue progressing in this offense. If they don’t compete and make positive gains this summer then we won’t be able to progress as quickly as an offense in camp.5) TSR-Going into the 2009 season what goals do you have in mind as the next step in the progression of this program?Stock-
My goals are always basically the same, for us to become the best team we can possibly be. If every player plays and performs to their full potential and competes every day in practice and in every game then I will be satisfied. What you hate as a coach is for your team or players not to compete and not reach their full potential. I want our team to compete at everything we do, to be the best in the country, no matter what it is; academics, practice, weights or games. Every guy has to buy into that mindset, he has to compete and believe that nobody will out work me. If our guys do that and they play up to their full potential then I believe we can have a season to be proud of!Extra Point- Being the avid baseball fan, who are your early favorites for the ’09 World Series?
That’s a tough call so early in the season but…
1- AL= New York Yankees- because of Mickey Mantle
2- NL= Atlanta Braves- because of Gene “Give it Away” Garbe