Feb. 1, 2006
"It's always an exciting day for those involved in athletics, and a lot of things go in to making it work. I'd like to start by mentioning that Pete Germano, our recruiting coordinator, has done a great job. Pete is somebody that took that position over for us when we came in as a new staff so we've gone through about a season and a half of recruiting with Pete. He's done a great job of organizing our recruiting and certainly has great hold on what Ohio recruiting is all about.
On signing players from Ohio:
"We did end up signing half of our class from Ohio. Of the 20 people that are new to the program, 10 of them are from Ohio. We did travel around the country though to find other players that we felt were the kind of players that we needed to help this program be what we all want it to be."
On the assistant coaches' roles:
"It's obvious that the staff did a great job, and I think for the second year in a row that holds true. We've tried to put a staff together of nine guys that just go out and work hard and do the kind of traveling and have the kind of work ethic it takes to be great recruiters. They're excellent communicators and are able to go into homes and convince players and parents that Ohio University is the place for them. If you have nine guys, you've got an exceptional staff, and I truly believe we have that. I think our coaches did a great job."
On what they were looking for with this class:
"We set out to try and make sure the kids we brought in would supply us with immediate depth. We are a young football team. Yet, we're going to have our back-ups be young again. We started off the season fairly well. We had a pretty good football team, but as we got banged up and the season came down to the end, we really didn't have the kind of depth that you need to challenge coming down the stretch. We're taking that and making sure it doesn't happen to us again. We've built this recruiting class around players coming in to give us depth. Again, we'll be a young football team, but I think we'll be a talented football team."
On the two players listed as athletes:
"We have two listed as athletes, Donovan Fletcher and Chris Garrett. Donovan will be a safety for us, but could play wide receiver. He's the kind of player that could go on both sides of the ball. Chris will start off as a wideout, but could also be an excellent running back, and he's played some corner. He's a big play guy, so right now we're looking for a big play guy at receiver."
On cornerback Julian Posey:
"Julian Posey is a true corner. He's got excellent size and great jumping ability. We do have good corners in the system, but anytime you have a chance to take an excellent corner you do it."
On the defensive line:
"At the defensive end spot, there's really three guys. Alan Goff, Ernie Hodge and Kris Luchsinger are true defensive end types. Pete Reese will end up being an inside player. He's 260-plus (pounds) right now. He's very strong and has excellent height. He'll continue to grow, and as he grows we think he'll move inside to defensive tackle or noseguard. We did sign three players that could give us some help inside. Horace Hubbard and Marcellis Williamson can give us immediate help inside, and of course, you can put Pete (Reese) in there also."
On the linebackers:
"After this year we're going to be graduating a lot of linebackers. You see only one there. There is the possibility of another linebacker being added a later date, but Stafford is an outside type of linebacker. We have guys that can line up and play inside for us. We need guys with excellent speed on the outside. When you play in the MAC and you're having offenses spread you out, all of a sudden you have your will and sam linebacker flanked out to cover wideouts. You need some speed. If you're bringing them off blitzes, you need some speed. Stafford has got that. We've also moved Michael Brown, who was a safety for us this past year, to linebacker to give us more speed at the outside linebacker spot. There's the possibility we could move one more safety. We think we have a good number of safeties in the program. Last season, we played with truly young players there. We have a talented group of safeties, with numbers at the spot, so definitely one, and possibly two could move to linebacker to give us more speed on the field."
On the offensive line:
"The offensive line wasn't a priority for us this year because we did sign five last year and had a walk-on or two that has shown some promise, but yet you look at Jacob, Cole and Pete, and what you have is the type of linemen we're after. They're bigger and thicker. They're physical guys that can knock you off the ball a little bit, but have the kind of feet to pass protect very well. We're real pleased we did get these three offensive linemen. We only set out to get two, and then as we studied more film and saw the potential of all three we decided to go with all of them."
On running back Robert Hightower:
"Robert Hightower gives us a bigger, stronger running back than we have in the system. We feel we have excellent running backs in the system, of course. With the possibility of Chris (Garrett) lining up at running back sometimes, we feel we'll be pretty deep at that position."
On the tight ends:
"We'll use a tight end on occasion, sometimes two tight ends, so it's important for us to continue to bring in tight ends. After next year, we'll lose three tight ends so it was critical for us to have a couple in this class. Kody Carr, his weight is only around 200 or 205, but he's a basketball player and has not been able to put on weight because what he's been all about in the offseason. (Smiling) I consider anything other than football season being an offseason. He's not been in the weight room as much as we'll have in the weight room. We think he'll put on size and strength. He's a physical guy. He was in our camp and ran a 4.7 forty so you can take him as a tight end and split him out in the slot. He's about 6-5 so he's a guy that can go up and get the ball for you. Andrew Mooney played tight end at New Mexico State. We have some coaches that were on the staff at New Mexico State who knew Andrew and his talent. We feel very good about him coming into our program."
On the wide receivers:
"It's obvious if you want to be a balanced offense and you want to throw the ball well you need to have a good group of receivers. We set out to try and get a little more speed and a little more height. We do have some guys in the system that we think are very good receivers. These guys will add to that. I think they'll be able to give us some immediate help. Certainly, with Chido (Nwokocha) being a junior college player we expect him to come in pretty mature and give us some immediate help. Terrence McCrae has got good height, good speed and he's an athlete that can play on either side of the ball. He's a guy that can make a big play after the catch. Robert Mercer is a 6-5 basketball player at Harmony prep school. When you watch him play basketball you can tell he's got great athletic ability. They (Harmony) also had two great receivers so Robert didn't catch as many passes as the other receivers. When you did see him catch the ball, you did see his movement for being 6-5. He's a great dedicated guy who will be excellent in the classroom and be about all the right things. Taylor Price is a speed receiver. He's about a 200-pound receiver who will do some things after the catch. Also, we have a player, Steven Jackson, who is a walk-on from Houston, Texas, who we view as a scholarship player. He's in our program right now."
On how many of the newcomers will compete for playing time:
"I think they'll be a good share of them. The idea was to get a recruiting class talented enough to come in and do that. We're going to line up and give every one of them a chance. In the fall you don't have many opportunities, but we'll have enough practices and enough scrimmages to be able to tell if a guy is going to be able to contribute. We played 11 guys last year who were in their first year on our campus. If I had to do it over again, I would've played more. We will make sure have depth so if we get banged up we'll have people ready to play."
On what needs they addressed with this class:
"You look at what's returning and then start building a recruiting class from that. We wanted to make sure we did build up our defensive line. We were not very deep in the defensive line. We want to make sure we have explosive guys there. Guys that will not get knocked off the ball and be able to give you a pass rush when they're being blocked one-on-one. There were times last year where we did not generate enough of a pass rush when we were rushing four."
On what the new talent will allow them to do differently:
"As we went through the season we wanted to be balanced, but we weren't doing a good enough job in the throwing game to be truly balanced. We'll work very hard in the throwing game in the spring. When you add it up, it's a combination of things. It's not only your quarterback, but you need to have people up front to give him time to throw. Then you have to have receivers who will make the catch when the ball isn't thrown perfectly. They need to come up with a great catch, not just a routine catch. We'll have a lot of emphasis on trying to develop that phase of what we're doing offensively. Defensively, we think we'll have more team speed on the field. That will allow us to mix up some zone and man coverages and be a little less predictable in terms of down and distance and what we'll be in."
On the size of this year's class compared to last year:
"Last year we had that many scholarships to give and we filled them out. This is what we were after this year in terms of numbers. We may add one more, we may not. This is what we set out to do. I think we were received extremely well, not only in Ohio, but across the country. I don't see this class as being an example of any suffering going on. I'm elated to be able to come up with this type of class. This gives us two very good classes back-to-back. If you're going to build a program, you need to have good back-to-back classes. We did not struggle to get people to come to Ohio. It was very pleasing to get out there and see the kind of reception we got."