Emptying the tape recorder: “Finishing things is important”

Selected offensive players met with the media on Tuesday.  This is a transcript of the interviews I was able to record.

Charley Meyer and Aaron Moorehead

Charley Meyer

On his scholarship offers: “I got recruited a little bit. I had six scholarship offers to Naval Academy, Eastern Michigan, Fordham, JMU, William & Mary and Richmond. I had schools interested in me like Virginia Tech also, that maybe couldn’t offer any money right off the bat.”

On the decision to walk on at Tech rather than accepting a scholarship from another school: “You know, it was tough. It was a family decision. It’s what my family felt best with. It was a tough decision, but I don’t have any regrets about it.”

On whether he’s exceeded his own expectations: “I don’t know if I would say I exceeded my expectations. I’m definitely proud and happy with what I’ve done. I always believe in myself. I’m a confident player and everything. I wasn’t going to come up here and turn down the scholarship offers that I had unless I was going to be confident here. I believe in myself, I knew I could play at this level. I knew it would take a lot of hard work and everything, and I’d have to go out there and really prove it and earn it. I’m happy with the way I’ve played so far, but I wouldn’t say it’s surprised me necessarily.”

On whether it was difficult to transition from Kevin Sherman to Aaron Moorehead: “I wouldn’t say it was a tough transition … it was a little different, with a new coach coming in you really had to win him over, show him what you had all over again. Coach Moorehead is a really good coach. It’s a good coach/player relationship and stuff. He really knows his stuff. I like the move. I miss Coach Sherman, he was a really good coach too.

Jonathan McLaughlin

Jonathan McLaughlin

On whether he expected to progress this quickly: “I was going to play my hardest coming in. I took Fork Union as my redshirt freshman year to get better.”

On how he views the Alabama game: “I look at it as a football game. We have a good defense too, so practicing against our defense is a big advantage. We’ve got some good guys like Gayle, J.R. Collins … playing against them is not easy. Playing against Alabama will be a challenge, but it will be something that we can get through.”

On how he looks at Tech’s offense from the standpoint of an offensive lineman: “It’s a lot of running. There’s a lot of technique to it, it’s really fun. There are a lot of doubles (double teams), and things like that.”

On Jeff Grimes’ coaching style: “Coach Grimes is on you in the meeting rooms, on you on the field, on you off the field, on you about grades, on you all the time. But he’s a good guy, I love Coach Grimes. Pretty intense, most definitely.”

On finishing the runs at the end of Monday’s practice despite cramping up: “I just wanted to finish it and show my teammates that finishing things is important. It’s a big season for us coming up, and even though I was cramping, I still finished the last one, with the help of Brent [Benedict] and [Mark] Shuman. Just showing them that even if you’re hurt you can push through it sometimes.”

On how the year at Fork Union helped him, not only physically but mentally: “Mentally, it helped me real well. We played a lot of college jayvees, most of those guys were pretty good. They were there for a reason. They were pretty good … the speed of the game. Also practicing at Fork Union with Division I players every day, that really helped me also.”

On the chemistry of the offensive line: “It’s been really well all summer. All summer we’ve been pushing, learning things. The chemistry is really there. We all have fun in the meeting room. We learn together. It’s never like ‘I’m better than you or you’re better than me’, we want what’s best for the team and we want to be the toughest offensive line in the ACC.”

Logan Thomas

Logan Thomas

On Joel Caleb ‘s move: “Joel is one of those guys, you’ve got to get the ball into his hands. He’s very athletic, very strong and fast. He makes the transition pretty well, he did well yesterday. At receiver he could do some things, but I think what he’s doing now he can be a lot better.”

On the news that Antone Exum will miss more time: “I thought it was tough, because I did the same thing. I played basketball as much as I possibly could. It’s something that’s kind of a stress reliever and it also helps me get into shape. Obviously I feel bad for the guy, but I can’t fault him because I do the same thing.”

On whether the injury scared him away from playing basketball: “Anytime it gets near football season, I stop. But no, I didn’t stop playing even after I heard the news [about Exum]. It was still January.”

On what he’s seen from Charley Meyer: “Right now I think he’s got a little tweak so he’s not 100%, but in the workouts we’ve had this summer he’s been that emotional guy, kind of the guy who gets everybody going. He makes plays. We’ve just got to get him healthy and get him moving along, and he’ll be a big asset to our team.”

On whether he wants the OL situation to be settled quickly: “At a point, yeah, but right now I think it’s good that there’s nothing but competition. Everybody is pushing each other and it’s going to make our offense better.”

On whether it’s important for him as a quarterback for the center position to get settled: “I feel pretty comfortable with the two centers that are fighting for the spot right now. I’ve been here with both of them the entire time. Obviously I’ve been here with David [Wang] longer. He made the switch over to center last year (editor’s note: Wang moved in the spring), so I’ve got a good feel for both of them. It doesn’t really bother me. They’ve just got to be able to make their calls, and I’ll make my calls.

Trey Edmunds

Trey Edmunds

On whether he has a preference for how the running back rotation shakes out: “I don’t. I think with the group of guys we have, any of us can go out and play any series, any play. We all bring different things to the table, we’re all able to make plays at any time.”

On Joel Caleb ‘s move: “I’m loving it, I’m loving it, being able to see him back there with me along with the rest of the running backs, being able to see him in the meeting room, being able to learn with him, I’m loving it. He’s a big guy, he’s going to be hard for people to tackle. I think as soon as the game slows down for him and as soon as he starts to learn the running back position he’s going to be amazing. Yesterday was his first day and he was wonderful.”

On whether he gets tired of hearing how the running backs struggled last year: “Not really. We just go out there every day and try to be better than last year, just try to work on our games. I’m definitely aware.”

On the comments about RB production motivates the group: “Most definitely. We all stick together, we all go out there and work hard. Eventually that has to pay off.”

On whether he wants the offensive line to get settled soon: “I feel like Coach Grimes will put us running backs in the best situation with the offensive linemen. I feel I would want to run behind any of those guys at any point in time.”

On whether Shane Beamer ever gives them updates on the depth chart and pecking order: “We just play. We just got to practice, have fun, learn together. At the end of the day, we just play. We let the chips fall where they fall.”

On how things would look if Tech played Alabama this Saturday: “I think Coach Shane would put us in the best position. Whatever he decided to go with, I think it would be the right decision. I would just leave it in his hands. The only thing we can control is playing hard.”

On the news that Exum will miss extended time: “It was kind of hard to swallow and kind of hard to digest. I know personally, I like to play basketball a lot, and I like to play it in as much free time as I have. It’s a freak accident, I know it could happen to anyone. I think Antone is rehabbing really well. I know it hurts him, but I know when he does come back he’s going to make a statement.”

On whether he will play less basketball in the future: “I haven’t really thought about it like that. I just want to focus on football right now and do the best I can.”

20 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. Wasn’t there some evidence that he may have injured it during the season but didn’t know it? I thought that he had already compromised it, which was probably what led to the injury versus basketball. Playing Bball just accelerated what would have happened anyway.

  2. Injuries can occur in many different activities. Players should ALWAYS be aware when they are competing in any off-season sport not to compete too seriously. Real athletes are naturally real competitors, but there comes a time to limit competiveness to YOUR sport.

  3. Yes, well actually soccer is a good off season sport. With a good coach these guys would learn great foot skills that they will not get in basketball. There would be less jumping and opportunities to wreck a knee or tear ACL. However, these guys grew up with basketball.

    When my son was in HS the fullback off the football team came out for soccer. Said this would be more fun than just running. Thing was when football came around his team ran many more carries to the fullback because this guy could fake out a linebacker or a db with his foot skills he learned in soccer.

    1. Soccer ain’t risk-free. In fact, NCAA injury rates for men’s soccer are 2x for men’s bball. For children it’s the opposite. Basically, competitive soccer has about as high a risk of injury as basketball. Maybe we should force them all to do non-competitive sports in the off season. Stuff like yoga, and tai chi, and so forth.

  4. I think banning basketball is rediculous since you all can probably count the number of football players that have been out for extended period of time because of a basketball injury on one hand. For all we know if he was not injured playing basketball his injury could have happened lifting weights and I know nobody is going to say ban weight lifting. If I recall we have had more players out with injuries from lifting weights than playing basketball.

  5. Playing basketball keeps these guys in shape, builds eye hand coordination, agility and keeps them out of trouble. I don’t think banning basketball is the answer. Exum could have hurt himself chasing rabbits, climbing Cassell, hiking to the falls or tripping from TOTS. Live your life!

  6. Liked seeing the note about Shuman and Benedict helping McLaughlin finish the end of practice runs, with him cramping up. Shuman at least is competing with McLaughlin to some extent, but was right there to help him out. Good cameraderie.

  7. Jonathan McLaughlin sounds like he’s a rs-junior. Very mature sounding and seems to already know how to talk for public consumption. Probably one of our best pick-ups in awhile. You can tell he respects Grimey rather than just likes him. A very big distinction.

    1. Trey Edmunds had great responses too – no hint of any weirdness about having a new competitor at his spot, he seemed honestly happy to have Caleb there. Classy.

  8. These guys are ready to work, ready to do whatever it takes.
    Some coaches have banned twitter – ban basketball!

    1. Laphroaig, I tend to agree on the Ban Basketball sentiment. In high school, my coaches banned any sport that involved a board (Skateboard, Wakeboard, Snowboard, etc.) because every year somebody would miss time because of a broken ankle or broken arm.

      However, football player’s lives are already so dictated, it is tough to ask somebody to not go and have fun with their friends in the off-season.

      1. I know it’s not going to stop. But you have to admit, AE is paying a high price because of basketball, he may pay a higher price when the NFL draft comes around, and his current teammates are paying, too. I say it’s a payment that didn’t need to happen – it was avoidable. Maybe a line has to be drawn. Lines are drawn all the time by management, parents, and coaches. Just because basketball is a common activity doesn’t mean it doesn’t have consequences.
        I agree with your coach on the board sports – he drew a line. My personal experience with injuries, football and basketball lead me to this conclusion.

    2. Yeah, I think that nobody should ever play basketball. I mean nobody wants to have their knee wiped out, even if they aren’t a football player. Especially basketball players. Since the risk is so great, I think basketball players shouldn’t really play basketball except for once fall practice starts. Basketball is really dangerous stuff. (Don’t insurance companies increase your premium if you admit to playing basketball?)

        1. Yep, absolutely. Great point. ‘Cause skydiving and basketball are definitely the same thing.

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