Better intensity during practice on Thursday?
‘Yes. We had a much better practice yesterday and today was even better. I thought they picked up on it well.’
On Gio Bernard returning punts:
‘He catches the ball very naturally and you want someone back there that you don’t have to worry if they will catch it or not. He’s been in the battle before and when he gets the ball be can make a play. We’re going to create some seams so it’s going to be fun to see what he can do.’
Note: Bernard was taking extra punt catching reps even after practice ended.
Concerns about Bernard getting injured?
‘You can’t worry about that. You could get injured on any play. You could step off the bus and twist an ankle. If I had enough depth to worry about things like that then I would but I don’t. We have to put our players on the field.’
Does depth at RB help the decision to have Bernard at punt returner?
Morris could see his first game action on the first snap against Elon
‘I don’t think we have enough depth at running back. Tight end is the only place we have enough depth. I hope we have enough depth there, I’ll just put it like that. I’m concerned about depth at every position and this time of year there’s not enough to make me feel good about it. It would be year one or year fifteen and I’ll feel the same way.’
How has the team focused on game prep vs. Elon?
‘You’re teaching a scout team how to do things so everyday, something is going to be brand new for someone. You have to teach the scout team how we want things run and it took a day to get that straight.
‘It was much better the past two days and I think the team has done a much better job of focusing on our opponent.’
‘Every time we’ve given them an opportunity to make a play, they’ve made plays. What we’re looking for at the end of the play is to posses the ball. If it’s in the end zone that will great but we just have to possess the ball at the end of the play. That’s a big deal and we’re trying to make game changing plays but at the same time, no matter what we have to have the ball.’
On how much of a test Elon will be:
‘I think it will be a heck of a test. I don’t know where this team is yet. I won’t know until we get out of that game. There isn’t a coach here that has been into a battle with any of these guys. You’ve got knots in your stomach that are up in your throat the whole time because you don’t know how they’ll respond. I’m sure the players feel the same way about the coaches. Until we go through those things together then it’s too hard to tell.’
Davis continues to receive high praise from Fedora
Is that what tomorrow’s mock game is about?
‘Yes. We’re going try to do everything from the way we eat the pregame meal, what we wear, where we sit, who is going to say the prayer and every other single detail…what group goes out, where we go on the field, where the manager puts the ball…we want to cover every detail possible.
‘We’ll run through a simulation of a game and at halftime we’ll go through all the things that take place there. We’ll come back and figure out who sits where to getting a drink. Everything will have to be in detail so on September 1st we’re not looking around wondering what do I do.’
Will there be the same number of snaps like in a regular scrimmage?
‘No. We’ve got a few series for the offense and defense for a quarter and then we’ll go over all the different scenarios and situations with turnovers, safeties, and everything within the flow of a game over all the plays we think we’ll have every situation covered.’
‘We won’t do anything to prepare like we would the night before a game.’
Note: The team usually stays in an off-campus hotel the night before home games.
What have you seen out of Erik Highsmith?
‘He’s the senior with the experience. He’s the most comfortable. But ever since Quinshad (Davis) has been back, he’s made some plays for us. He’s definitely going to make some plays for us this year. It’s great because we’re going to need two guys there. They’ll both play. Mookie just has the experience.
‘I think Jhay Boyd on the other side also has some comfort there. We also have Mark McNeil backing him up and he’ll play. We’ll play 8 receivers in a game.’
Which freshmen will play if you had to guess right now?
‘I think Jessie Rogers, Quinshad Davis and on the offensive line Caleb Peterson has a chance…I hope Kanler Coker doesn’t but he’s prepared himself very well should that happen. Kendrick Singleton has a chance to play on special teams and is in the two-deep. Shakeel Rashad is going to play along with T.J. Jiles and Malik Simmons. There might be some more but those are the guys off the top of my head.’
What is so good about Elon WR Aaron Mellette?
‘He’s 6-4, 220-pounds and he can run. He’s a big receiver who uses his body well and he can run and make some catches. He’s a senior and the game is going slow for him. He uses his big body and when your corners are 5-10, 5-11, 180-pounds and you’re 6-4, 220 then it’s always a mismatch.’