Coach Jones spoke to the media today about how this years team will be defined and how Isaiah Pead has transformed his game to finally become that all-purpose back everyone has been waiting for.
Here is the transcript of today's media gathering with Coach Jones.
Q. Who has been the standout player during training camp?
A. There is no standout player. We are one team. Success is based on team success. Everyone is counting on each other. We are progressing with still over a week to go. I thought we had productive training camp. Now we will take 48 hours to get our legs back. Then we come back Saturday and its preparation for Austin Peay.
Q. How important was today, in terms of getting your team game ready?
A. It was a dress rehearsal so to speak for every situation that could occur. It’s just not one game, but over the course of a season. When you’re playing so many young players you transition from defense, to punt return, then to kick of return. You just have to practice everything. I thought our kids were locked in and very focused.
Q. Did you try to make the organized chaos that went on at practice was today?
A. Well you do. It’s because you have to think. The thing about the sport of football is that you must react. We talk about playing at game speed. Then you have to think at game speed and all the different situations that can occur.
Q. You settled at kicker yet?
A. I’m not settled yet. I will be able to name somebody probably on Saturday. I really like the progress made. Also they are starting to become consistent. We will go back watch film, check stats and double and triple check. Then we will meet on it as a special team staff.
Q. What do you know about this team now that you didn’t know before you started training camp?
A. They confirmed a lot of things that we thought about them. They were much more mature as a football team. We also threw a lot of adversity at them. This football team will be defined on how we handle adversity and sudden changes. So far we have passed that test. We can simulate game day conditions, but you never know until it’s for real. When the lights are, people are in the stands, and something is at stake. That’s the beauty of college football every game counts. It’s a big one for us coming up against Austin Peay.
Q. Is Isaiah Pead closer to becoming the all around back you want him be?
A. Yes he has. He has really improved in his pass protection skills and handling the throw game. Isaiah has progressed exceptionally well. He has had a great training camp and worked extremely hard. He has been a great role model to our younger running backs. I’m excited to finally get out and play some games and put the ball in his hands.
Q. How important is being a role model to the younger running backs?
A. It’s critical because you lead by example. Everyone has great amount of respect for Isaiah on the field. Now it’s earning the respect off the field. He has been able to do that. Isaiah has become a mentor and role model to the younger backs. He also has been a model of consistency.