Aug. 4, 2013
Head Coach Curtis Johnson
Overall thoughts on Sunday's practice
"It was outstanding and I felt better about it. Yesterday it was so hot. Logistically, it was our first time on a baseball field and we had our hiccups. This thing went smoothly and exactly like I thought it would go. They guys played. They ran around very well. No one got tired and we didn't have on cramp. It was just a good day for us."
On what he is trying to focus on, especially with so many new faces on the roster
"I thought they did better as practice went on. Some of the things we're emphasizing is running to the ball, running downfield, downfield blocking and finishing plays. Those are things that young kids, typically, don't understand. They have to stay up. They can't fall to the ground. You're not tackling anyone and you're not dragging anyone to the ground. But they're starting to get it."
On his goals for the day
"The biggest goal of the day was to do better, eliminate some turnovers and do better overall. Yesterday was an installation day so we reviewed those plays from yesterday. We did much better today with those plays. We didn't fumble and we have to continue to run around. Yesterday, I thought we were a little lethargic at the end of practice. Today, we ran throughout the whole practice."
On the differences between these early practices and the practices of a year ago at this time
"I think the attitude overall. They think they can win. They think they can play hard. They come out to play every day. They've got the lunch pail mentality. They're just coming out and they're working very hard."
Senior Kicker Cairo Santos
On his feelings on returning to the field after an All-American campaign a year ago
"It's awesome. After the last game last year against Houston, I couldn't wait to get back. Hopefully I can keep the streak going. We're working with a new snapper and holder, but it'll be good."
On his goals for the upcoming season
"Just to have a solid year and to have fun. But I think more into the team goal, I'd all like to go to a bowl game and win with my teammates. I had a lot of success last year, but it was more individual. I want my teammates to be a part of it, too."
On what it's like working with a new deep snapper and holder this year
"I just need to make sure those guys don't get too nervous. It's going to be their first game serving as the snapper and the holder. Sometimes they get a little nervous and practice, and I just have to calm them down and say, `Hey, you have a lot of talent. This is just going to be another rep.'"
On his experience during the summer in kicking camps
"It was really busy. I did a lot of kicking camps throughout the country and different states. I just wanted to learn from top guys with kickers from the NFL and other colleges. I was trying to pick up on everything that I could and did a little bit of a running workout and in the pool as well to work on leg speed and all of that. I think it's really paying off. I'm feeling my leg stronger. My kickoffs are going deep in the endzone and I'm feeling great."
On what area he feels he needs to work on most
"I think it would be the long field goals. Sometimes I try to over kick it. If I can just hit it smoothly like it was a 40-yard field goal, I just need to focus on that and not over kick it."
Sophomore Safety Darion Monroe
On the difference for him this year compared to last season
"This year I feel like I have more experience. I know the defense better. I know what offenses are trying to do to us when they see us in one high safety and two high safeties. It's just that experience and the chemistry with the defense now. We had a lot of young guys last year and now we're sophomores and juniors, so we know each other. We know our capabilities and we know our weaknesses."
On practicing inside today
"Oh man, it's much better. We're down south in Louisiana and it's pretty hot outside. Yesterday it was something like 93 degrees and it was pretty humid so everybody was cramping up and stuff like that. Being in the Saints facility, and I want to thank them for letting use their facilities, is great. It's a blessing to be inside. It's always 70 degrees inside."
On being a more vocal leader this season
"Our coaches do a good job of teaching us what to do. On the field, I just re-introduce everything to them and tell them, `Oh, we've got this or we've got that.' These guys are coming on and they're smart. When we were doing running and conditioning, we'd put them in meetings with the young DBs and we'd go over things, saying `This is what you're going to see and this is what you need to be ready for.'"
On his goals for the upcoming season
"This year, I want to be more vocal, quicker. I want to be faster and just more of a team leader. I need to stop missing tackles and things like that. We need to get some wins this year."