(on the rotation concerning the starters in Thursday's game at Cincinnati) * *
"Not clearly. There are going to be some guys that may not play much or not at all, and we're just kind of working our way through that situation. We'll try to be as prudent as we can. There are some situations that we aren't quite certain because of injuries. I'd hate to say some guy isn't playing and he ends up playing, so we'd rather keep that close to the vest until we get a little bit closer to game time."
HEAD COACH JIM CALDWELL (on if he wants players to go through the pregame repetitions even if they aren't playing)
"Well, everybody is going through pregame reps. They are going to get prepared and get ready to go and the whole bit, simply because of the fact that there are several unknowns. Rather than saying, 'Hey, this guy isn't going to play,' and then something occurs during the course of the game and another individual isn't totally prepared to go in, we think that would be difficult to manage. So, we tell them all, 'Hey, let's get ready just like we're going to play a ballgame,' and we'll make those adjustments when we get closer to game time."
HEAD COACH JIM CALDWELL (on if he looks at what the opponent is doing in terms of playing their starters when it comes to preseason games)
"No, we don't. We're more concerned with our team and focusing on what best suits us and our situation, as opposed to letting our opposition dictate anything in that area."
HEAD COACH JIM CALDWELL (on what the team has done in the past to get off to fast starts in the regular season)
"A lot of it, I think, has come from diligent preparation with a group of guys that understands what winning is all about. They put into practice the things that are necessary to get off to a great start and a quick start in every ballgame, and that is your basic fundamentals and don't make very many mistakes and certainly don't beat yourself. I think that is the real key to it. Those are the things that we're working towards today."
HEAD COACH JIM CALDWELL (on if he felt like the team was scrambling last season when they didn't get off to a good start in the regular season)
"Every year is just a little bit different. The previous years, everyone was so accustomed to seeing us start with an unblemished record there early on. Every year sort of plays itself out, and you can't predict it. Sometimes you start off quickly and sometimes you don't. In the long run, it's a long season, and it's how you end up that counts."
HEAD COACH JIM CALDWELL (on the offense getting off to fast starts in previous seasons)
"I think continuity certainly does add a lot to that, but I also think it's the way in which you work as well. Continuity sometimes gets mistaken for complacency, and that's something that never creeps in on us and something in this league that you certainly cannot tolerate, because of the fact that teams are getting better all the time and finding ways to get better. So, we have to continue to do that as well. I think I would attribute (the offense's success) to the fact that we've had a good, solid veteran group that understands what winning is all about, and they've led the way."
HEAD COACH JIM CALDWELL (on where the team is with the return game)
"We're still searching just like everything else. I think everything is sort of a work in progress for us. We're going to give a few more guys an opportunity tomorrow evening and see where we are at the end of it. I think we've had some guys that have shown some flashes, but I think, overall, it's not necessarily simply a return man in terms of where the difficulties may lie and our effectiveness. A lot of times it has to do with other factors, a block here and there, and execution is certainly a factor, as well. These are things we're working on constantly. I can see there is improvement in those areas, so we just have to take it to the field and show it."
HEAD COACH JIM CALDWELL (on if it is hard to get much done on the practice field in the return game)
"I think you can get a lot done on the practice field. We segment a lot of work, just in terms of how we isolate our kicking game and work it in segments to really highlight the very important areas. You may not do as much team stuff during the course of the week, but that's not an excuse. We still expect to be a real strong return team, and we will be. Now, I think you can see we sort of function the same way in our coverage teams, and our coverage teams have been very good up to this point. We anticipate our return game will start to click as well."
HEAD COACH JIM CALDWELL (on how hard it is to find a return man)
"I think we do have a good number of young guys and veteran guys to choose from. I do think we have a good group that certainly can get it done. It's just a matter of opportunity and not only that, but making certain we have everything in place for them to succeed, meaning blocking and scheme, etc."
HEAD COACH JIM CALDWELL (on OG-Mike Pollak not practicing the last few days)
"I think he had a little bit of a back spasm, but nothing that I anticipate is going to linger to next week or anything of that nature."
HEAD COACH JIM CALDWELL (on how he approaches putting together the practice squad)
"There is probably not a cut and dry philosophy that you utilize, but in some cases you have guys that you know need another year and practice squad will help them. They can have an opportunity to develop. There are some developmental issues we address. On the other hand, obviously, in order to practice and practice well, you need different numbers at different positions. So, it's also a positional type thing, but for the most part ours are development-based. We look at this guy and see he has some ability and promise and we see a place for him in the future. Now, sometimes that future comes a little sooner than we anticipate, so they have to be guys we trust and believe in."