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March 17, 2017

Head Coach Pat Narduzzi
On his thoughts through the first two practices:
“We’ve had two good days. We’re still running around in shorts and jerseys, but I was happy with the enthusiasm, the way they’re running around and I think there’s good knowledge right now. Tomorrow will be a big day with the pads going on and we will see what they got.”
On if the team will scrimmage tomorrow:
“No. It’s too early for a scrimmage. Usually Saturday is our scrimmage day but not tomorrow. Next Saturday we will scrimmage for sure.”
On if it’s easier to evaluate with pads on:
“It’s not easier, it’s the only evaluation. It’s hard to evaluate [without pads]. On defense, everyone has a different personality. You watch some defensive lineman on how they play when you have two lineman coming at you—some guys are going to play reckless and don’t care about the bodies, some guys care and they look tentative. With pads, it is really the only way to evaluate the game of football.”
On the improvement of running back Qadree Ollison:
“He’s looked good. Again, it’s in shorts and we are letting them run through the line of scrimmage, so they all look good when no one is getting tackled. The good winter is going to transfer onto the field for sure.”
On the anticipation of seeing the new offense come together over the next few weeks:
“It’s always an interesting time. It doesn’t matter if it’s offense or defense, there are so many new spots open. It’s interesting to see what our long snapper is going to do, what our kicker is going to do. We have a new kicker, Alex Kessman, who is on scholarship now. Alex is a good kicker, he has a strong leg and we promised him when [Chris] Blewitt left that he’d have a scholarship. He earned it with a great fall, but he still has to go make the kicks.”
On the thought process moving Brian O’Neill to left tackle:
“The reason you think he can make the transition is because he’s very athletic. You watched him score touchdowns; he can run. You try and put your best athlete [on the offensive line] there. With Brian, he is a natural left tackle. It didn’t take much of a discussion; it was a natural move.”
On the progression of Tony Pilato at right tackle:
“Tony is doing better. He is still a baby, but I think he is doing better. We will found out more tomorrow. He blocked jerseys pretty good.”

Running Back Qadree Ollison
On the difference between this spring and last fall:
“It’s a new year. I am focused on the 2017 season. New year, new team, new coaches, new players and everybody is different. Everyone is getting better. This is our third year with Coach Narduzzi and we have his system in place, how we run things. This is a new year and every year you have to bring a new you. Every year you’re either going to get better or worse, and everyone on the team is trying to get better.”
On how the “new” Qadree is different from the “old” Qadree:
“I’m smarter now. I am the oldest running back in the room going into my redshirt junior year. The new me is really trying to be a leader. Last year, we had James [Conner] and Rachid [Ibrahim] who were both older guys, leaders in the room. Now, I’m that older guy who is trying to be a leader for the younger guys in the room, not only for my position, but for the team as well.”
On if there is a sense of needing to get back the level of success he had as a freshman:
“Definitely. I do want to get back to that and be even better than that. My freshman year was two years ago, so I don’t really talk about it anymore, but even that season there was room for improvement. It isn’t like I rushed for 2,500 yards. I want to get better every year; even if I rushed for 2,000 yards, the next year I want 2,100 yards and so on. You’re never satisfied with yourself because once you go through a season and look at everything, you see there is so much room for improvement. Here, we strive for perfection. We chase perfection and settle for excellence. No one is perfect but you have to strive to be perfect.”
Offensive Lineman Brian O’Neill

On moving to left tackle for spring ball:
“Position changes don’t seem to be too much of a setback so far, so I’m looking forward to the opportunity to learn something new and stay out of my comfort zone. A good offseason project for me is staying out of my comfort zone and learning something new. I’m looking forward to the opportunity.”
On the motivation to get out of his comfort zone:
“Any time you’re in a competitive environment, as soon as you get comfortable, you lose the edge you might have had on someone else. I think switching over to the left side, whether it’s just for spring ball or for the whole season, is a way to become a better overall football player. That is something I need to focus on, becoming an overall well-rounded player, as opposed to just learning to play right tackle and master that. I am looking forward to the opportunity. Coach Peterson has done a great job with it, I’m rolling with it and I’m excited about it.”
On the difference in technique between right and left tackle:
“I’m a basketball player from high school, so I like to think of it as shooting a layup with your left hand if you usually do it with your right hand. It doesn’t take as much getting used to, but I’ll be good. In another week or two, I’ll feel really comfortable.”
On the true test at left tackle coming once the team puts pads on:
“Absolutely. You get impatient out here when the defense is able to tag off on someone and they blow the whistle right there. We know James [Conner] was getting eight or nine yards after contact last year and that made our line look at lot better. We are excited to hit, get back into it and play real football again.”

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