Head Coach Lovie Smith
“The program has gone about the way we wanted it to. Everything is scripted, leading up to the final week, which is here. For us we’re going to go to our minicamp. It will be two days. We’re going to go of course, today, so tomorrow is kind of the fourth quarter. Most games are kind of won or lost in the fourth quarter. That’s pretty important that we finish it the right way.
Most of the guys have been here throughout the entire time unless there’s a good reason for not being here. Of course, Laremy (Tunsil) is here today. It was good to see him get back out on the football field. That was a final piece of this puzzle that we’re putting together. Great work.”
What have you seen from QB Davis (Mills) throughout the spring and off-season? How do you feel about him right now?
“We feel good about him, improvement. If you go through I think maybe 38, 37 days or so we’ve gone through of actual work here, and you’re a guy like Davis who’s the first guy in the building and the last guy to leave, he’s gotten a lot of reps, a lot of instructions. I’ve seen him make some of the type of plays we know he’s capable of making.”
What did you have to say to OL Laremy (Tunsil), and how do you think he looked?
“You know, just first date. First date you get to know each other a little bit.
No, we’ve been communicating with him throughout, but it was good to see one of your best football players, one of the best offensive tackles in football. You add him to our team, we’re a better football team. It’s as simple as that. It’s voluntary work in the off-season for most of this. In an ideal work, yeah, I wanted Laremy to be here every day. But sometimes guys aren’t here. When they come here, we’re not going to make him change his last name or anything like that. We’re going to let him keep the same number, and he’s going to help us win a lot of games this year.”
You talked about the attributes of fourth quarters, when games are typically won and lost. What are some of the traits and attributes that you’re looking for in sessions like this to help you get clued in on what the kid is able to do?
“As we finish up, our last practice has been about situational football, and that’s where games really are kind of won and lost. The last drill that we did today of course was our two-minute drill. Finishing and keeping that discipline throughout four (quarters) or maybe into overtime is what we’re looking for, the grind.
As you can see here, most of us in short pants. It’s warm in Houston right now, so for us to train that way, too, just being able to finish, these are some of the things we’re looking for. And then for the guys that have been here – daily improvement. That’s what we’ve gotten.”
What have you seen through this off-season workout that you feel like you have to continue to build around the team positionally and what you still need?
“When we started the off-season program, we asked the guys to show up every day and let us coach you up. Let our strength and conditioning staff build you up. They’ve done all of that. Our program, the guys have bought into that, and they’re following.
A part of the program, too, is to put in all days and now take a break. So, at the end of the week, we’re all clearing out for a while. That’s a part of getting ready for football season, too, is unwinding a little bit, reflect on what’s happening and get ready to go.”
Another chance to see your rookies out there. How are they transitioning to this next phase?
“They’re blending in right now. Looking at the rookies now, they’re in offense, defense, defensive huddles and making plays. You want them to blend in. We liked the class before they got here. We like them even more now. Quite a few of them will contribute this year.”
Have there been a couple of things you’ve liked from what you’ve seen what your guys have been doing so far?
“The first, again, what you can get done this time of year, is show up. They’ve been here. We establish our roles. First step to getting better is to show up on time. That’s what they’ve done. And then just work hard. They have good coaches, so technique-wise, every player that’s been in off-season program has gotten better. I mean, in the weight rooms, you talk to Mike (Eubanks) and our strength staff, they’ll say the same thing. That’s what we wanted to do, just get ourselves in the best position for a great training camp. I can’t wait for training camp. This phase is over. It’s like, hey, the second quarter is over, its halftime, and you can’t wait to come back out for that third quarter. We’re pretty close to that.”
What is your message to all the people that are fans and might want to be fans because they like football?
“Well, I mean, Houston is a football town, and there’s tradition that we have here. In order for us to accomplish our goals, we can’t do it without our fans. Since I became head football coach here, I’ve talked about that core phase, the fans being a part of this. So, I’m looking forward to answering their questions. If they’re part of the team, I want them to be able to know, get some inside scoop on what’s going on. I’m looking forward to it. Eventually, it’s going to be fall season, and we’re going to expect them to come in their colors and support their football team. It’s our responsibility to put a better product on the football field, which we plan on doing.”
Do you have a specific workout plan, repetition plan for your rookies, CB Derek Stingley Jr. and OL Kenyon Green?
Where do you anticipate they’ll be when camp starts?
“We expect them to be full speed, ready to go. Both players have had off-season surgeries. We knew that. So, we had a plan. We wanted them to first come in, we evaluate, see exactly where they are. We don’t play tomorrow, so we’re going to take it slow with them. The mental part has been good. Everybody is exactly where we thought they would be, talking about WR John Metchie, too, all the players that have had injuries.
Again, we come back in the fall, we’re going to be pretty much at 100 percent first day of training camp. We’re excited about that.”
What are specific things you’re seeing as he kind of puts his own spin on the offense?
“Well, our offense, we want to be a team that can run the football. We’re going to have a fullback on our roster, so we wanted to establish that. You’ve seen our plays that we run. You can’t get good physical work of course without pads, but the players know now their roles and how we’re going to win football games. That’s what we’ve seen, and I’m excited about what our offense will look like this fall.”