Opening Comments: I thought our second half was real encouraging against South Florida. Our offensive line is back in tact finally after being make shift last week. Xavier Nixon will be back in the starting line up and Carl Johnson. I think Jeff Demps is playing at a high level and our defense is getting better.
Address the Chris Rainey situation?
He is not with the team. We will see as we go. The immediacy of it is that he is not with the team.
Can you give a minimum amount of time Rainey will be away?
I don't know.
Who will start in Rainey's place?
What are you going to miss with Rainey gone?
We haven't had a lot of production in the first two games from him, but any time you miss a good player... Omarius Hines is a very talented guy and also Jordan Reed will be going to Omarius' spot. So, we have some guys that can still make plays.
What is the impact of the having the offensive line healthy?
Anyone that doesn't start with their offensive line fails to have success. Our offensive line going into the season was our strength and we had multiple injuries during training camp. We are still waiting for Matt Patchan to get back, as soon as he gets back will be full force....and James Wilson has been banged up so. That's kind of who we are, that's our strength. We live and die on offense with the offensive line, that's no secret.
Xavier Nixon's development?
We have only had two true freshmen start here and that is Maurkice Pouncey and Xavier Nixon. That tells you the quality of player. That is usually a position that requires a three year maturity process and it takes a special guy that can come in and play as a true freshman. He is a high level player that has a great attitude. His weight is back up ...up over 290-295 and extremely talented. He had a really good day at practice, so we're really excited to have him back.
Did some folks expect too much from John Brantley so early?
We expect a lot out of John. I thought the first game was inadequate and the second game he managed very well, especially with what we asked him to do. Quarterbacks get a lot of the blame when other issues are going on. I think we improved a lot at receiver and got better. The first game was not good at all, the second one, I thought he did a nice job.
What is the next step in his development?
He has to play a little better this week because it's a better team with better personnel. This is also the first time where he is going to have to manage in a tough environment. That's the next step.
Did you see Jeff Demps being this big a part of the offense?
Yes we did. With the loss of Tebow we are still going to be a team that runs the ball and with big play hits. I just think he is a great player and a better kid. We just have to take care of him because he does so much for us. We have him at kick returner right now and he had over 200 yards of offense for us last week. One of the issues we have with Jeff is that he goes so hard in practice, we have to be really cautious with him in practice. We are going to lean on him more and more because he is a heck of a player.
What are you doing to contain the run game?
We are working on some big personnel...we'll have some things with some big people on the field, because it is real clear what they want to do with it. They want to give it to that big back and pound it behind that big offensive line...we have to spend a lot of time on that this week in practice.
What is the biggest difference now from when you started as a head coach about high school freshmen being ready to play?
A lot of times they aren't ready, it is just the hand you are dealt. I think the biggest issue is when you start losing juniors to the draft. I think we lost five last year. That puts guys in situations when they have to play. We have had some juniors (leave early) and when that happens, it forces players that aren't ready to have to be.
Skill players are a little more prepared. I think in football with the ones that are playing year around. And all the spring practices, it gives them five years of high school.
Have you seen Cam Newton since he's been at Auburn or talked to him?
I just saw when he played Mississippi State and he's a hell of a football player.