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Camp: Butch Jones Q&A Day 3

Q. Not a good day for the kickers?

Cincinnati K Shane Popham (photo credit: Pat Strang/513 Photography)

A. It’s all about progression. As coaches we want things right now and it’s a process. Going into day 3, first time in shells I didn’t like the way we “fuded”. I thought at times we got after it but not to a level that we need to get to. We take great pride in the kicking game and the kicking game was unacceptable today. We need to find a kicker in this process. We will go on throughout the course of preseason camp. Right now there is absolutely no favorites and to much inconsistency. To be a great kicker you have to be mentally tough and you have to have great consistency and I haven’t seen that yet.

Q. Is this a concern?

A. Yea every position is a concern. When you replace an individual like Jake Rodgers and you are going into a situation. Shane Popham has been in some game situations, but you never know what to expect until you have the players in game situations and how they can handle stress and a little bit of adversity. So it is an area of concern. Do I have confidence in those individuals; absolutely I do have confidence because I have seen it down in practice. They can do it; they have the ability to do it. Its just the mental toughness, it’s the mental conditioning, and it’s the consistency.

Q. Is it just between those two guys?

A. We will continue to work Danny Milligan in. Based on the spring it’s up to those, but after today it’s wide open it’s anyone.

Q. Can you talk about those 2 guys what do you think they offer?

A. Well Popham his strength is consistency. Tony has a great leg. Again I think it is just consistency, its consistent being able to kick to 30 to 35 yard field goal consistent, actually 35 and in. Then A.J. Fleak is going to be a very good player as well and probably has the strongest leg out of all of them. He is just battling some technique issues.

Q. So does one have a stronger leg and one is more accurate?

A. We are continuing to evaluate. We couldn’t see Shane in the summer time. So this is the first time seeing him. Going from what we had in the spring with Tony and know he has progressed. His legs have gotten stronger but it is still process each and every day.

Q. What did Shane do as Wake Forest was he a kicker or punter?

A. He kicked a little bit and he was also the punter.

Q. So he has game experience?

A. He has game experience in both duties.

Q. Neither is on scholarship right?

A. They are fighting to earn a scholarship

Q. Did Kelce Miss practice today?

A. He went out with a shoulder injury in our inside run period. So we are
waiting to see where he is.

Q. Is it a bruise?

A. We re going to look at him after practice.

Q. You were talking a lot about mental toughness today at practice where is you’re mental toughness as a team right now?

A. It needs to continue to improve. We are not anyway shape, form, or ready yet. That comes with practice though. We call it mental conditioning for success, its how you think, how you react, how you react in adversity, and how you react when you are tired. It’s a Navy Seals mentality. Have great respect for our armed forces and what they do and that’s the mentality that we want. We want a mentally tough football team and it’s an on going process, and we are not there yet.

Q. Can you explain with incoming freshman like Dwight Jackson, Chris Moore, and Shaq Washington, how important their first training camp really is?

A. Well they are doing everything for the first time. It’s just like our team it’s only really their second time of doing it. But training camp is a grind, its learning how to take care of you’re body. The mental part of it is so big, it’s the grind of practice, the grind of meetings, you know you’re bodies are sore. You will never have a day when you feel good, and its fighting through those things and it gets back to the mental conditioning part it. So everyday with our freshman is a learning experience. That’s why the last 2 days with the separated practices have been really beneficial for us.

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