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Saturday Willingham Press Conference Quotes
Release: 08/12/2006
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Aug. 12, 2006

"Today was our first practice in full pads and it was just about what I expected. We had good energy and continued to receive a number of big plays from a lot of people. When we added officials to the mix today, that changed things a little. We got a little sloppy.

"Dan Howell earned a gold jersey for the fourth consecutive day (on Friday, for special teams). He is the gold jersey leader and is setting a hot pace. In our program we really strive for consistency and Dan has shown a great deal of that so far during fall camp. He has given a great work ethic and has cut down on mental errors. He does a great job of helping lead our team in those areas. (Howell) is playing just about every special teams position so far during camp, but we are really early in the process in that area. We did not have a defensive gold jersey yesterday, but Michael Gottleib earned the offensive honor.

"We had a couple bumps on the head today, which is normal. Darrion Jones had a little bump on the head. Scott White had a little bump also. Matt Houston had a groin pull or something of that nature. Those are all normal bumps and bruises as practice goes along. Tim Williams is wearing a red jersey due to a shoulder injury he is recovering from, which limits some of what he can do.

"I would say right now, Kenny James has the lead (as the starter at running back). Louis Rankin has also done a wonderful job. Those are two compliments for our football team. If I had to say who our starter is right now, I would have to probably say Kenny James. But if you asked who would play the most plays, I'd say I don't know. Shelton Sampson has done a good job. He has had some really good runs, gotten the ball back on the inside. We teach our running backs that there is a time to go to the sideline and there is a time to put your foot down and go inside. He seems to be doing a pretty decent job of that right now.

"From day one, we work most of our normal routine into practice regardless of whether or not we are wearing pads. (Early in camp) the bump-and-run was not in for the receivers, but that has been introduced as we have progressed. So, we work on just about everything all of the time. The pads don't change necessarily our emphasis. We might do less of our short yardage work because you know there are bodies flying everywhere. But, for the most part, our tempo and what we do doesn't change.

"I don't think we have had that spectacular (receiver) step out yet, but we have had guys make spectacular plays. We seem to be coming to where we have a corps that we can put on the field. When one guy comes out, the next guy can step up. (Marcell Reece) is making the transition to major college football. He is doing some good things. He had a catch the other day that he took for about 80 yards and seemed to be pulling away from people. He is making some plays. But, he is not there yet. There is so much to do in learning that position. But, he is doing a good job because he wants to."

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