August 20, 2010

Catching up with coach Alexander

MADISON - At this juncture in camp, it seems three wide receiver spots have been settled. Nick Toon and Isaac Anderson are locks for the starting two roles. Behind them, a rotation of David Gilreath, Kyle Jefferson, Jared Abbrederis is still being worked in.

Then there are young guys like Manasseh Garner who are vying for a spot in the rotation as true freshmen.

Following a recent practice, caught up with receiver coach DelVaughn Alexander in an attempt to sort it out. The following is a question and answer with Alexander.

We're getting close to two weeks into camp. Are you satisfied with the way your group has been approaching practices?

Alexander: It's been fun. I've got an old group. I'm really pleased with the guys and they know a lot. It should be a lot easier.

Does that make it easier to coach?

Alexander: It does. It takes a lot more stress off me being able to talk to the freshmen and use (the veterans) as examples.

It's been a long time coming. You had some growing pains with these guys?

Alexander: There are still some growing pains, but we've definitely continued to climb. We've gotten better.

What do you expect out of David Gilreath this year? With healthy feet for a change it seems like he's looking more confident out there.

Alexander: Well this is his last year so most seniors step up in their last season. That's it. I just want him to do things the right way and make as many plays as he can.

Does he look more explosive to you?

Alexander: He looks like David. He's just confident, and like you said, he's healthy.

How about Isaac Anderson? Last year at times, especially late in practice, you'd see him lose a little bit of focus. You haven't really seen that a lot this year, at least I haven't since I've been here this week...

Alexander: No. They're old. I mean, they're old guys. They're mature now and they know that this is it. Anything you want to do here, you've got to do it now or the opportunity is gone.

Is that needed for him? He could be a heck of a player if he's mentally right.

Alexander: Right, and he's worked on that stuff. He knows this offense just has to relax. I think he's come a long way from some health issues early and I think he's ready to play. I think he's pretty proud.

Who's got the fourth wide receiver spot right now?

Alexander: Who's got the fourth wide receiver spot right now? I don't know yet. We've got another week and a half of camp. When you get to No. 4, he's spotting you a little bit. We got our two starters and I think I'm trying to set it up like always, where a bunch of guys can come in when the two starters aren't there.

Is Abbrederis one of the guys that is going to contribute?

Alexander: Yeah, he's one of the guys. Garner is one of the guys. Kyle is right there as an old guy. I think we've got pretty good depth.

Have you been impressed with Garner? He's a physical guy out there.

Alexander: Yeah, he's physical. I mean he knows a lot for a freshman. On the flip side of that, there's a lot of things he doesn't know. But he's in a really good place right now.

What went into the decision of keeping him at wide receiver instead of moving him to H-back?

Alexander: I don't know. That could have been the night before.

You weren't pining for him?

Alexander: We just knew he was an athlete so when we looked at it coming in, we said, let's just put him over there. If he does move, everything he's doing now is going to help him.

How do you plan on utilizing him? As a depth guy?

Alexander: We'll see. We haven't gotten that far yet. We just want to keep him growing and learning the offense. That's exactly what he's doing. He's doing a really good job of it.

How do you like the approach Nick Toon took throughout the summer and to where he is now?

Alexander: He's showing up right now in how we're playing. I think the game is slowing down for him. If it's slowing down for him then he can speed up.

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