We started with an unusual Brad Brownell press conference prior to Dabo this morning. Brownell talked a little bit about the team he has coming back next year--obviously he was delighted by the decision of his two starting guards, Marquise Reed and Shelton Mitchell, to return next season, as well as David Skara. I asked Brownell whether the Sweet 16 success of last season has already begun to pay off on the recruiting trail, and he said it had. I also asked him about the new NBA rule that allows players to wait until the NBA Draft before deciding whether to return to school. To paraphrase, Brownell said it's a bit of a double-edge sword because it's beneficial for the players, but it puts coaches in a more difficult situation because of the timing. This year, for example, if Reed had been able to wait until the draft, he might have been selected and decided to forego his senior season, putting Brownell in a late bind in trying to find another guard to fill his roster. Incidentally, some have bandied about the idea of applying the same rule to football, but I don't think it will ever happen because of the timing involved.
Brownell discussed a few other topics, including the tournament in Naples, Italy that they will play in next summer. The full video is below!
As for Dabo, you could tell he's excited for this big Gameday matchup on the road against his old nemesis, Jimbo Fisher. You always hear that the most improvement a team sees is from week one to wee two, and I think Dabo is looking forward to seeing what his Ferrari can do on the open road. He said that in some ways, this is like an opener because of the unfamiliarity with Texas A&M and their personnel. Obviously, the familiarity with Fisher and Defensive Coordinator Mike Elko--who was the DC at Wake Forest a couple years ago--helps, but it's still a lot of players they've never played against.
I asked Dabo for an update on Jordan Williams and whether he was expected to play on Saturday. Dabo said he is still day to day with the knee injury he suffered in the opener. My gut tells me Williams will not play this Saturday. I also asked Dabo what he thought of Sean Pollard's debut at guard and how the rest of the offensive line graded. He said that Pollard played well but that Tremayne Anchrum really stood out. In fact, he was named offensive player of the game and was also ACC Co-Offensive Lineman of the week! Christian Wilkins was the player of the game on defense, and it was Amari Rodgers on special teams.
Finally, I asked Dabo to talk about how good the attitudes have been from Kelly and Trevor throughout this whole quarterback competition. We talked to them both yesterday, and I don't think they could have handled this difficult situation any better. There is no tension whatsoever between these two or on the team. More often than not, a situation like this can divide the locker room, but there seem to be no egos on this team. In fact, we've been told by other players how Kelly and Trevor pull for each other to make plays. The Tigers are really in a good place right now.
The only players we were given today were Austin Bryant and Tremayne Anchrum. Both seemed excited about making their first big road trip of the season, but they also both seemed unphased by the hype surrounding this game. They have both been through the wars and are more than used to going into hostile environments with targets on their backs. In fact, every game these guys have played away from home over the last two years, with the exception of NC State, has been at night. It will be a rocking 115,000 in College Station on Saturday night, and ESPN College Gameday will be there, but this is just another business trip for these guys.
The full press conference videos are below, as well as the players. We'll have one more interview with Dabo tomorrow evening after practice, and don't forget to check back in the next day or two for the week two edition of What We Are Hearing, my preview and prediction for the Texas A&M game!
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