RE: How the backup spot will be determined
"They're going to determine it themselves -- that's the easy part about it. We always talk about does your talent equal your production? They're all talented but they've got to be able to produce. Production in our room is what do you do beyond what's blocked? I think our offensive line does a great job of blocking everybody in the box and those safeties, those free hitters that show up, those are the guys that we've got to be able to make plays. Their ability to be able to do that on a consistent level will be able to help me determine that. Tony Mathis, that's something that he had to work on going into spring ball and he did a great job and one of his biggest emphasis this fall was to continue that surge from spring and thus far, he's done that. And the freshman Justin Johnson has done a phenomenal job of showing that ability as well."
RE: Importance of reliability behind Leddie Brown
"Obviously, Leddie is an elite player but as a position group when he's not in the football game, we can't have a big drop off. We've got to have production behind him. Tony Mathis did a phenomenal job in the spring. He's doing a good job right now and Justin Johnson is doing well too so we've got to have somebody that's reliable that can not drop off when he's out of the game."
RE: Relationship with Leddie Brown
"Trust is the biggest thing. I've known him since high school. The relationship I have with him but not just him, his family as well allows me in even more. He's an extremely competitive person, he's hard on himself and sometimes he gets too hard on himself where it effects his game and he doesn't let people in when it gets to that point other than myself. I know how to talk to him and deal with him and get him to the point where he understands that he needs to move onto the next play."
RE: The moment things started to really click for Leddie
"He sent me a text I believe it was April 29th and said 'I'm tired of being overlooked, I'm going to ball coach. I want to learn everything offensively.' And from that point on, he just took his whole mental preparation and learned the entire playbook in and out from run game, pass game. It was really from that point where he just took off from a maturity standpoint and a leadership standpoint."
RE: Concerns of overworking Leddie
"It's a feel throughout the game to be honest with you. If it's getting to the point where he's running really well and he's productive and you got a decent lead and not much time left in the game, you got to get him out. But if it's a close game -- it's just kind of a feel."
RE: Progress of A'varius Sparrow
"He's got to continue to come on. He's been in the program for a year. We'd like to see him be a little further than where he is right now. He has the capability to do it, he's just got to go out and do it.
RE: Thoughts on freshman Justin Johnson Jr.
"I tell you what, it's been pleasing to see that kid. First of all, pass protection is the toughest responsibility for a young running back. The recognition of it and then the actual, physical picking it up and picking up bigger guys that you ain't never picked up in your life but he's done a phenomenal job at both of them. Phenomenal balance, great vision, and since I've been with Coach Brown, he's probably had the best summer of any freshman that we've been around. Weight room, academic, and to see him carry that over into fall camp, it's been really pleasing. He's picked up on the offense really well."
RE: Tony Mathis' development
"He's doing everything well right now to be honest with you. He's always had the ability, a great high school player. He's running the ball at an elite level and he has tremendous strength. He had to find a way to take his strength from the weight room to the football field and break tackles. He's doing a really good job right now. He's been consistent every day."
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