Kerwin Bell weekly press conference transcript

Aug. 28, 2007

JU at Bethune-Cookman, Sept. 1, 4 p.m.

JU Head Coach Kerwin Bell

Kerwin Bell: We want to thank you for coming out. We have a big weekend and we are really excited about it - the first game of the 2007 season for the new Jacksonville Dolphins.

Our kids have worked really hard the last three weeks and we have some guys banged up. It's going to be a great game against a great opponent, Bethune-Cookman down in Daytona at Municipal Stadium.

We look forward to playing a great game. Our kids are ready and excited and ready to start a new era here at Jacksonville University and to show people what kind of football program we really have.

We are going to have some ups and downs and there are going to be some struggles, but we know where we are heading. We know who we are and no matter what happens we are going to play our very best and play aggressive. We are going to get after it and give our kids the opportunity to go out and make a lot of big plays.

Q: How many players will you take down there?

KB: Traveling with around 70-72, according to how the numbers work out. Depending on injuries, we might have to take a couple extra guys.

Q: How does that compare to home games?

KB: For home games, we will probably dress a little more than that. It varies when we go on flights. Our three away games that include airline flights, we have to get down to 55 when we travel to San Diego, Drake, and Dayton. The roster will vary depending on what kind of trip we are taking and if it is home or away.

Q: How has the offense progressed in camp and your thoughts heading into Saturday's game?

KB: This is going to be a game where there are going to be some big plays against you. They play a pressure defense. They try to disrupt things. They are going to make some right calls every once in awhile and catch us in some situations. When we have those bad plays we got to make sure they aren't very bad, just plays that aren't successful.

In return we have to keep our poise, keep our head about us and play hard. Against teams like that you want to hit some big plays. Be aggressive against their aggressiveness. We are going to hit some big plays against those aggressive defenses. Hit some big plays that will lead to us getting a lot of points.

Offensively we have come a long ways. I have been real pleased with our progress.

We lost our left tackle, one of our better players, Rusty Stiglitz, who has been a great player here for four years. He tore his ACL last year and missed almost half of the year. He really worked hard this offseason and got back. He was going to have a great year for us this year. With us being able to throw the ball the way we do, he was going to be a very valuable part of our offensive line, the fourth practice he tears a tendon in his foot and is out for the year.

Besides that setback we feel we have come a long ways offensively. Chris Horton, our senior quarterback, has really adjusted to our offense and has done a great job of getting better and better each week and every practice. We feel he is ready to have a breakout year.

Q: Talk a little about the running game. I know you want to throw it a lot but you have worked a lot at the running game. Who has really jumped out at you at running back so far?

KB: We're not a team that is going to throw it 80% of the time, we want it to be 50-50 in the long run. Our philosophy is going to be a little different then what I grew up back in the 80s with, which was run to set up the pass.

My philosophy is to pass with great efficiency and with great precision which then will set up the running game. We want to be 50-50 with that and we have some kids who are coming back that will help us. Cecil Coltrane has had a consistent camp. We have two great fullbacks, Eric Kornhauser and Jeremy Brown, or "Meat" and "Corn."

We have three freshmen we are really excited about. Bradley Grant, Rudell Small, and Tommie Rogers. Rudell comes from my old high school Trinity Catholic. He has an ankle problem right now, he isn't 100% but we feel he will have a great career here at JU. Tommie Rogers, out of Panama City, is probably the fastest member of our football team. He has been clocked in the 4.3s and we have to get him on the football, get him healthy, get him the ball in certain situations so he can make a lot of plays for us.

Q: Who do you see as being a playmaker defensively?

KB: Our secondary guys are guys we feel very comfortable putting out there in man coverage. Bryan Flowers and Robson Noel are guys we feel that we can really depend on in man coverage. They are tremendous players.

Up front there are a lot of guys who have really done well in the front seven. We interchange a lot of guys and we feel good with our depth there and with our secondary, with those guys being able to make some big plays for us.

The kicking game is always important and has been a heated race all through fall camp. How does that stand going into the game?

KB: We have really upgraded our kicking game. I have been very disappointed in our kicking game through spring and fall practices. We had a kid transfer from Middle Tennessee State, who played for me two years ago at Trinity Catholic, we finally got him in here the last ten days. He is going to solidify our kicking game - Micheal Zacco - and he will be the field-goal kicker to the start of the season. We feel that is really going to upgrade our kicking game.

Donovan Curry, who has basically been doing both for the last year, won the punting job and he can concentrate on that. Donovan can be a very good punter for us in this league and at this level. He has that kind of ability and that kind of leg. With him just doing that, we feel he is going to do a great job.

What basis do you use when comparing your team? You went to Florida and have been around Gainesville, and coached in high school, so you have never been on this level, how do you know what kind of team you have?

KB: I know it is kind of scary, because you don't know how you stack up to other people on this level. I am very excited about the talent level. Just knowing about major college talent, being around those things and then coming to this program, I feel like, and I have made this statement before, our receiving core 1-5 is more talented than what I had at University of Florida my last year there. We were down talent wise in 1987 because of the probation period. We have some very talented WR here that are going to have breakout years. Four or five that can really play at this level and I think will be great players here.

We do have deficiencies in certain areas for sure, that is why we are building this program to the point where we can compete at a high FCS level, which is what we will be playing against the next few weeks with Bethune-Cookman and Gardner Webb.

I feel like with the talent level here, I am very excited about our freshmen class and if we can continue to recruit that kind of athlete we will be able to compete at this level and be very successful doing it.