The following is a full transcript of Matt Campbell’s appearance on the Big 12 teleconference on Tuesday.
Q: I know you dealt with a few injuries during spring with Allen Lazard and Jake Campos. I was wondering how did you guys make it out of the spring besides those two in terms of health?
Matt Campbell: I think we’ve come out of spring in overall a pretty good situation. You know, obviously with Allen and Jake both not relieving in the spring but kind of living through it. Really I’m confident about those two being at full strength as we get back into our summer program here shortly. Really, the only long-term injury is with Denver Johnson. You know, and hopefully we’re getting him back at some point in the middle of the season. But, you know, really close to full strength to start the summer and really excited about that.
Q: As you kind of, I guess, end the spring at this point, what are some of your top priorities heading into the summer of things that need to be addressed?
MC:Well, I think the biggest is just continuing to get bigger, stronger, faster as we go into the summer conditioning part of things and summer lifting. Really, the biggest plan now from our standpoint as coaches is evaluating each of our spring practices. You know, really identifying roles within the program. What role does each person have coming into fall camp? Obviously, the excitement of getting our incoming players here and seeing what this team really looks like in its whole. But, I think we’ve done a really great job from a coaching staff standpoint of identifying the roles and making sure everybody’s got a great understanding and progressing through that this summer.
Q: Welcome to the league, here’s a couple questions. One, I noticed, and I guess you did this at Toledo as well, but the guardian pads on the helmet to kind of prevent concussions, especially with the guys down in the trenches, the offensive and defensive lines. In you’re experience with that, do you feel that it has been a big help?
MC:Sure, first of all, thanks for the welcoming. Second of all, you know, those guardian caps are something we did do at the University of Toledo. I don’t know if there’s any verification that those prevent an injury but I know at Toledo we had great success with them and certainly amongst our offensive, defensive lines and some of our linebackers. I thought it was something again that we were able to come out of spring practice without any of those issues amongst that group. So we certainly feel like its a way to be proactive in the world of concussions and certainly an area that we’ve certainly seen great success with.
Q: Second question I wanted to ask you, you’ve got a pretty good quarterback situation there coming out of spring practice there on campus. You also signed a pretty highly touted young man (Jacob Park) originally from South Carolina. I didn’t see him scrimmage but I saw him throw the ball around last Friday at (Northeast Oklahoma A&M). How much of an impact do you think he could make coming into the fall. Coming out of some inactivity and knocking the rust off?
MC:Well, you know, I think it was really great for Jake to get to NEO and to, number one, finish up with his AA degree, number two, the opportunity to really get to work out and get back into routine. Even being able to go out throwing the football, kind of getting some of that rust knocked off before he gets here in May and I think we’re really excited to have him joining our program and really see through the months of May, June and July and as we get into the early parts of fall camp to see where he’s at. Obviously, he’s got a great skill set and certainly a great ability. I feel really feel that we leave spring practice confident in certainly Joel Lanning and Zeb Noland, a true freshman, that had a really good 15 days of practice for us. We all know that the quarterback position is so critical to the success of any program. We’re really confident in at least that position group as we head into fall camp ourselves.
Q: I’m wondering in your past history at Toledo, or any other stops along the way, had you ever used satellite camps outside your own campus to evaluate talent?
MC:Yeah, we definitely have. At the University of Toledo it was huge for us. We traveled the state of Ohio. Did about six satellite camps within our state. We were on the borderline of Ohio and Michigan as well so we were able to go up close to Detroit and do one. Certainly as a mid major it was huge for us in terms of working Ohio State, Michigan State and University of Michigan at times as well so we did. We traveled a great deal and used that more than anything as an evaluation tool. But I think for us the opportunity to really help the parents to recruits as sophomores and juniors that have already been on our campus to financially be able to save them some money and the opportunity to come and really get to their neighborhood and be a part of, really, their community. So we saw it as a huge advantage for us to be able to do that for the recruits.
Q: So was there naturally some disappointment with the NCAA’s ban on those kinds of camps?
MC:Well, yeah, and you know, my comments have been very strong against that. You know, I think it’s not so much a disadvantage for our program, or programs in general, I think it’s a disadvantage for young people. You know, obviously the opportunity for young men to get exposed by different schools and certainly get themselves the opportunity to get evaluated in a multitude of different ways. I think it certainly handcuffs young people today and puts the onus on some people that maybe wouldn’t want young people getting to different schools and that opportunity to do that. So I think it really puts young people today at a disadvantage but I’ll be interested to see where the NCAA goes with this.
Q: Just wondering with Allen and Jake’s injuries at the beginning of spring, do you think they’ll be able to catch up with all the different strategies from the new coaching staff, the new plays. Do you think they’ll be able to catch up in time for the beginning of the fall?
MC:Sure, well, you know, first of all, Allen was able to practice, really, the majority of spring and so I think he got a really good foundation of what our expectations are of him and what we’ve asked him to do. He was really able to do a lot of individual, not just the team stuff through the later part of the spring. Really, Jake was in the same boat. Jake was able to do a lot of individual towards the end of spring practice. Get a really good grasp of what we’re trying to get accomplished. Obviously both are going to have to play a little catch up but I think there’s plenty of time. Both guys have played a lot of football here and certainly been able to play in the games. So I think from a standpoint of trying to understand what we’re trying to get accomplished schematically I think both of them were able to get foundational work in that this spring.
Q: I know you guys were really examining what you could get out of the offensive line, different combinations and stuff like that. Where do you guys sit now that you’ve concluded spring practice?
MC:We’re still a work in progress there. I think we feel a lot more comfortable, especially with the interior of our offensive line. I feel really good about the growth of Patrick Scoggins and Julian Good-Jones and obviously Nick Fett. You know, Nick especially having some playing experience. You know, the development and the continued growth of those guys was a huge positive. I think feeling comfortable with that. You know, obviously, look forward to getting Campos back and feel like JayPee Philbert has continued to improve through spring so I think the growth has been there. Obviously, we’ve still got a long way to go and, again, these next three and a half to four months are really important for this offensive line group to continue to develop if we’re going to be where we want to be heading into the early part of the season.