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April 8, 2006

Head Coach Steve Spurrier

Opening remarks:
“It was good fortune that we got the game in today. We didn’t have any fumbles; the defense only got one turnover, so we took care of the ball. The balls went through the wide receivers’ hands a little too much. It was a good scrimmage for players who haven’t played much. O.J. Murdock and Cade Thompson, offensively, did some things that were impressive. We knew that Cory Boyd could run like that. That was a big-time run for 71 yards. Other than that, the Garnet Team completed 14-of-19 passes in these conditions, which was really good. The other team was not that good. Noah Whiteside caught some nice passes.”

On who the starting quarterback is:
“We’ll have to see how it plays out. Blake Mitchell is still the starter. He threw some errant passes today. He didn’t play his best and he knows that. It’s encouraging that Cade can play if something happens. We’ll try to get him as ready as we can. But, Blake has had the best spring of the quarterbacks until today.

“If one player is not performing well at any position you have to give him a chance. Cade gave himself a chance to get a shot if the opportunity arises.”

On the defense:
“The defense did a lot of good things this spring and some not so good things. We’ve got a ways to go. Marvin Sapp had a very good scrimmage last Friday. We haven’t been overly impressive on defense. We need to get stronger and faster and play harder. We’ve got a ways to go on defense and offense.”

On wide receiver Freddie Brown:
“Freddie played better than we thought. He looked quick and beat Fred Bennett on the first touchdown. Freddie gave him a little stick-step and went in almost uncontested. Freddie did some really good things today.”

On Mike West:
“Mike has a tendency to drop passes. If he catches a whole bunch of balls this summer he’ll be more sure-handed. He has to make more plays that come his way. The only play he made was at the end on the goal line. At least he got that one.”

On spring practice:
“I don’t have any great words of wisdom. What was most important was we stayed injury-free. It’s been a helpful spring, but we’ve a long way to go. We don’t have many seniors, and this is not an overly talented junior-senior team. We have very few seniors ready to play. We’re still building this thing, and I’m looking forward to what we can do.”

On offensive guard James Thompson:
“He needs a good off-season of getting quicker and getting lighter on his feet, but he’s improved quite a bit.”

On next year’s freshmen:
“We’ll let them all compete when they get here. Maybe two or three can help us; we’ll see. We’ll be okay on the offensive line. It’ll be just as good as last year and maybe better.”

On the tailbacks:
“Cory Boyd and Mike Davis will be the top two tailbacks. Bobby Wallace is a quick guy as well. We don’t play a lot of guys. We need a lot of players, not just starters.

“Cory has speed, toughness and is a good team leader. He’s ready to really help us. Mike Davis was our offensive player of the spring. Mike didn’t have much running room today. Sometimes it happens like that. He didn’t get many opportunities.”

On kicker Ryan Succop:
“He’s definitely our kickoff man. He has a tendency to miss some field goals, but so do the other guys. He’s the No. 1, and we still have some competition on field goal kicking. Thomas Hooper is an accurate inside-the-40 kicker.”

On the team’s goals:
“We’re trying to get stronger, quicker and smarter. We still have two or three weeks of school, and a lot of guys are always on the bubble academically. We’ll stress academics for the next three weeks. We’ll take the month of May off; most schools do that. We’ll come back in June and start summer conditioning. That’s the general plan and that’s what we’ll do.”

On the secondary:
“They didn’t play all that super today. They played man-to-man and zone. The offense should have had an advantage knowing there are only two coverages. We have a whole bunch of different coverages we’ll use during the season.

“We know a lot more offensively what we’re trying to do. The defense is practicing what it’s going to do next season. We’ve been practicing up until today what we’re going to do.”

Player Quotes

Cade Thompson

On whether he closed the gap between himself and Blake Mitchell for the starting position: “I’m not sure about that; that’s up to the coaches. I’ve just got to do the best I can and the rest is up to the coaches.” How do you feel about your performance throughout spring practice? “Overall, I think I got better and that’s all I was trying to do. I wasn’t trying to become the starting quarterback overnight. I just wanted to get better and I think I got better.”

On his opinion of Coach Spurrier’s confidence in him: “I hope he’s confident in me. Again, I really don’t know what he thinks in terms of playing me right now, but I’m just going to do the best I can.”

On whether he believes he can start right now: “Yeah, I think so. If the situation is there for me to play, I can go in there and do a good job.”

On whether the talent level at receiver makes his job easier: “Yeah, I think so. O.J. (Murdock) had a real good day today and Mike West has been doing well at receiver, too.”

Freddie Brown

On how much he’s improved this spring: “Yeah, I think I’ve improved a lot. I’ve worked hard with Coach Smith in the weight room. I’ve improved a lot, but I’ve still got a long way to go. Hopefully I can just do a lot over the summer to get better.”

“I was happy to catch anything, get anything. I was just happy to be out there. It’s been a long time. I was just happy to be out there and catch anything.”

On whether he tried to earn a starting job today: “No, I just went out to do the best I can. I didn’t really go out to get a starting job or anything. So I’d be pleased if I got called upon.”

On beating Fred Bennett for a touchdown catch: “Fred’s a really good corner, you know, and it was a challenge to go against him. I just took it as a challenge.”

Blake Mitchell

On what he expects from his offensive line in the fall: “The starting O-line will be pretty good. I think we’ll be okay. They’ve worked hard and they’ve continued to get better.”

Fred Bennett

On where the team stands going into the summer: “I think some guys worked hard during the offseason and during the spring, particularly. Getting things done, doing the little things and let the big things come to them. We’re not trying to rush too much; we’re just taking one day at a time going out there on the practice field and getting better.”

On whether he’s noticed a change in the team’s attitude since the bowl game: “Yeah, I think we’ve got a group of guys that hate to lose. And during the scrimmage, I know the white team had some guys that were pretty upset and I was one of them. I hate to lose, most definitely. I think we’ve got a lot of guys who hate to lose and that’s going to fit in to what we’re trying to build.”

On his impression of Freddie Brown: “Freddie Brown put on a showcase for the fans. I always knew he had talent; he just kind of introduced it to the fans today.”

Noah Whiteside

I tried to forget about my injury and make up for it this year.”

On his assessment of his performance this spring: “I feel like my leg is back to 100 percent. I can do things I want to do and move how I want to. I can catch the ball and make plays.”

Did you think of last year when you walked out today? “Yeah, I was thinking about it. I was proud I made it through halftime.”

How did you know you were fully recovered? “I think in the weight room. I tried to push myself real hard in the weight room during the offseason and through winter workouts and push myself real hard. And it showed today.”

On whether any player surprised him: “All the receivers played well, but the one that surprised me was Freddie Brown–that spin-and-catch.

On depth of the wide receivers: “We’ve got good depth.”