Q. What was Mike Thomas like when he hired you, what was that process like?
Butch Jones talks to TE Travis Kelce during practice on Thursday. (photo credit: Brian Baker/Lacking Focus Photography)
A. Very tedious process.
Q. Tedious or thorough or both?
A. Both, very thorough, very tedious, very typical of any interview process.
Q. Is Kelce going to be out for a while?
A. No we are actually hoping that he will be back Monday or Tuesday. It’s just a slight sprain of his shoulder, we were concerned at first but we expect to get him back either Monday or Tuesday.
Q. Feel better about the kickers today?
A. Yes and we continue to do that. We have to continue to raise their blood pressure. It’s going to be critical, and kicking is pressure situations. So we will continue to manufacture as much pressure situations as we can.
Q. Did you finish everything you wanted to get done in Cincinnati before you depart for Higher Ground on Friday?
A. You know what that is a great question cause I was just asking myself that this morning. I ask myself everyday, and we meet as a staff every night and I say what could we do better? I think we have a great foundation of the 4 practices heading out to camp higher ground. Now it’s nothing but football no clutter, no distractions, Just 10 or 11 days of just being with each other and we are looking forward to it.
Q. Are you happy how you’re wide receivers are progressing in camp?
A. I haven’t been happy up until today. I thought we took some steps but again its being receiver shape, its being not only great pass catchers and route runners, but great blockers and the small details. We take pride in our receiver position here and it hasn’t been up to the standards yet. It’s a long time and we will be forced to play some young players. So it teaching them the Bearcat way we expect from our receivers.
Q. In practice today the team seemed to be called for a lot of penalties how do you feel your discipline is as a whole?
A. Well that’s the thing we need to continue to be and we talk about being a disciplined football team. Not being a team that has untimely penalties, so we are going to keep great attention to the small details. Like lining offside’s and all those things we need to do a great job at taking care of. We will be there.
Q. You will be getting a new athletic director here soon. If you had you’re say would you want a guy that is familiar with the program, or guy from a bigger national program?
A. I will leave that up to the administration. They have done a great job and I have the ultimate faith and confidence that they will hire the right person no matter who it is. The only thing I can focus on is getting our football team ready for Austin Peay. That is where my soul focus is.
Q. Did you know Mike was leaving or was it a shock to you?
A. I did not know he was leaving. Basically found out when everybody else found out.
Q. What is you’re reaction to a guy who brought you into here, and gave you you’re chance at UC? What is you’re knee jerk reaction when you first heard?
A. Every individual has career goals and aspirations. I am just very grateful that Mike and entire administration with President Williams were behind that decision. I just wish him the best and everybody has career goals and aspirations. If that’s one of them we wish him the best of luck and very grateful for all that he did for us.
Q. How meaningful was he to this football program to get you to where you are now?
A. I think its not just one person. It’s just like myself as a head football coach. There are so many working parts and components that go into a team. Whether it’s an athletics team or football team we are very gracious for everything he did. There are a lot of other people to, which have been heavily involved kind of behind the scenes. All the people from our ticket people, to our ushers, to you name it they have been involved with our success and they will be involved with out continued success.
Q. There is no doubt you had constant communication with Mike did it come as a surprise to you that this ultimately happened, did he show signs of change?
A. I was surprised as anyone else. Mike is a very professional individual and I believe he did his job and when the opportunities arouse he had to make a decision for his family. I didn’t see any change though.