Offensive line coach/run game coordinator Shawn Elliott spent a good five minutes spitting hot fire and told us why he has confidence in redshirt freshman Cody Waldrop to step in at center and replace a four-year starter in T.J. Johnson:
He's a hard worker. He's intelligent. He busts his ass every damn day. And I like that. I'm confident in him. He's going to screw up just like I'm going to screw up. And then we're gonna deal with it.
On whether Waldrop benefitted from not playing in 2012:
You don't benefit from watching and learning. You benefit from playing. You benefit from reps. You can watch it on film, but nothing simulates practice. He could stand out here all day and watch 50,000 reps, and it wouldn't do him a bit of good.
On whether Clayton Stadnik is pushing Waldrop for the starting center job:
Waldrop's whipping his tail right now. He's beating the fool out of him. Right now, [Waldrop's] not even in the conversation. Unless he turns it around, it may be a true freshman backing him up.
Was Elliott referring to any true freshman in particular? He didn't specify, but Alan Knott has been getting some work at center. In general, though, Elliott is keeping the development of the nubile offensive linemen in perspective and has an characteristically colorful way of saying as much:
They're exactly where they're supposed to be. They've been here three days. You can tell they've got some athleticism. They've got some fight in them, but they don't know what they're doing. They really don't. That's just to be honest with you. I could sit here and say, ‘ You know Na'Ty Rodgers, he's doing a great job.' And at times he does, but that's when he's blocking the right guy, and that's about 25% of the time.
On the chronically injured junior offensive tackle Mike Matulis:
He's got a glitch in his shoulder. He's gonna have to have it scoped. He's a good football player, and I'm really excited about him. It's unfortunate. It's bad luck. But it's something you've got to deal with. He does have the redshirt year. So that's fantastic. I'm happy about that.
Ball Coach, Jr.
On walk-on wide receiver/internet sensation Kane Whitehurst:
He does a lot of good things. I'm looking forward to getting him in scrimmages and letting him go. He's a smart kid, and he's fast. He can really, really run. He's the kind of guy you like to have on the field.
On Bruce Ellington's hamstring injury and his leadership role on the team:
His hamstring didn't feel good today, so I didn't see him all day. He's fine. He's doing alright. I just want to see him out here. I want his voice out here. I want him seen. I want him being active. Not having him here brings our group down a little bit. This is the first year where I'm asking him to lead. Last year I didn't. The year before certainly I didn't. But this is the year where he's got a chance not only to be someone this group looks up to but someone this team looks up to.
On Shamier Jeffery and his injured ankle:
Shamier looks really good. I was disappointed he couldn't come out today. Just a light sprain in the ankle. When I watch him on tape, I can't even recognize him.
On Ball Coach, Sr.'s remark that Shamier has shed about 30 lbs.:
Those Jefferys have some weight that can fluctuate. I hope it's not that much. He looks different. He's running different. He's on kind of a mission.
Running Backs coach Everette Sands
On the competition between Brandon Wilds and Mike Davis for starting running back:
I'll get a better feel in the scrimmage situations because there's gonna be playmaking ability. I know all three of the main guys have playmaking ability. It's gonna be once we put the pads on and it's a live situation who's making plass. It's also going to be important to see who's doing the best in pass protection. Both of them can make plays, both of them have some things they need to work on once they get into the secondary, and overall just who's most consistent.
On how the carries will be divided between Davis and Wilds:
I don't believe, if you look through the SEC, the NFL, or college football, that there's one guy that's carrying the ball 40 times a game with the exception of Adrian Peterson. It's tough to ask a guy to do that week in and week out. A big part of that is that by week ten he's not going to be the same back that he was in week one.
As always, if you just absolutely get off on buffering, watch the interviews yourself here. Practice resumes Wednesday at 7 PM EDT.