Narduzzi on the WRs, the OL and more
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Pat Narduzzi talked about receivers, the offensive line and more after Tuesday’s practice. Here’s a rundown of everything he said to the media.
Narduzzi: Looks like - practice number two, trying to control a bunch of dogs out there. These guys don’t slow down. I’ll be happy to for the pads to go on tomorrow. It’s just almost unsafe. I think the NCAA is trying to stay safe going shorts and no shoulder pads, but it gets rough out there at times. As a head coach, I’m quick on the whistle here, trying to keep these guys under control.
But great intensity, great effort - number two. I like where we’re at after number two. We’ll find out really where we are when the pads go on Thursday.
What you seen in the return game, especially punt return?
Narduzzi: We haven’t really returned any punts. It’s just a matter of catching punts right now. But there’s a few guys. Shocky does a great job of just catching the football and Paris Ford - I’d say him and RaRa; RaRa does a great job catching punts. We’ll find out when guys are running at them live. That’s when you really find out.
In terms of wideouts, you have two experienced, good ones to replace in Jester and Quadree. How encouraged are you by what you’ve seen early on so far in terms of these guys not just being a complementary piece to those two but being guys who need to step up?
Narduzzi: Tre Tipton’s doing some good things. We’ve got some young guys. We’ll find out when the pads go on. You find out a little bit more. But there’s some guys that have looked good out there. Maurice Ffrench looked good for most of the day, at least early, for sure. And Taysir Mack has done some great things out here that you notice. A lot. I’m going to miss somebody, but right now, I think where we are, we see a lot of great - just our spacing, with where our guys are and getting little pockets of grass to catch the football. That’s the most important thing we’re trying to get accomplished in shorts.
In shorts, is there anything you can ascertain about your offensive line?
Narduzzi: You really can’t. It’s hard to - you can’t put your pads on anybody. It’s just hard because you’re not playing with your chest and your hat on a guy. So it’s really hard until the pads go and there’s some physicalness that you can really do. You know, I don’t want an offensive lineman’s head going into a guy’s shoulder. Nor do I want a defensive lineman coming off with so much leverage that we have problems with guys staying healthy.
Dane Jackson, how much did he improve last year and where’s he at now?
Narduzzi: Dane, obviously, is one of our top corners with Mr. Maddox being out. And he’s done a great job. He’s improved. Just count up the number of fades that were completed out there. He’s a competitor and he’ll just keep getting better. I think he’s developing the way we want him. And so is Phillipie Motley, too.
For Dane, what are the next steps in his development that you’re looking for him to take?
Narduzzi: I think it just comes down to the fundamentals and the details of what you do every play. There’s some things that you say, ‘He’s in position - is he in better position? Is he making it easier on himself, fundamentally, to be in that position, to be in phase?’ It’s a work in progress. But he’s made great - they’ve all made great strides, I think, from the offseason. They’re bigger, they’re stronger, they’re faster. I think the receivers are doing a good job running routes, so there’s good competition.
You have a lot of younger corners; is he being a leader of that group because he’s a returning starter?
Narduzzi: You know, you don’t see that yet. But I only see him for two hours a day out here. But he’s leading on the field and he’s playing with an attitude, and that’s what we want.
When you brought in Archie Collins, how much of that was driven by his personality and how you thought that would fit with these younger d-backs who will be crucial to develop in this defense?
Narduzzi: I think it’s personality and it’s also coaching; you have to have the whole package. I think Archie can recruit, I think he can relate to the kids and he can teach. So it’s got to be everything. It can’t just be one thing. But he’s got the whole package. I’ve known him before and I’m excited about what I see already.
Do you have anybody you anticipate being out for all of spring?
Narduzzi: There’s some guys that you might say are out. I don’t see anybody out for the rest of spring. But I see some guys that we’re going to be smart with, to the point where we - you know, we’re not beating anybody in the month of March or April. So we’re going to be smart with what we do with those guys. It’s too critical. We want to stay healthy coming out of spring ball.
With Coach Borbely, is there anything that technically you’re going to do differently on the offensive line?
Narduzzi: There’s a lot of things that we’re going to do technically different on the offensive line. It comes down to development. If you asked our players, they’d be able to tell you what the difference is more than I could, because I think it matters what they think. But I think, fundamentally, we’re going to be a little sounder. There will be some things that I won’t get into but there are some things that we’ll do different, for sure. There will be differences up front.
You said development; was that the number one thing you looked for when you were making this hire?
Narduzzi: Yeah. Coach Borbs is a really good fundamental football coach. It’s different than what we were doing before and I think our guys needed that. We’ve got a young offensive line and I’m happy and I think our kids are happy with what we’re getting so far.