Notebook: Pelini UM Week Press Conference
Carl Pelini addressed the media Monday morning and talked about the Owl's upcoming game against Miami. With questions looming around the quarterback position, Pelini reiterated that three or four different players could take a snap against the Hurricanes.
"They will all probably be out there at one point or another on Friday," Pelini said. "I have no problem playing multiple quarterbacks, as long as we are not juggling the starting role. When I say more than one quarterback is taking snaps, I'm looking at ways in which we can have specific packages for the two and three guys to come in and create problems for the defense."
At the tail end of Monday's closed practice DJ Juste, Greg Hankerson and Jaquez Johnson all worked with the first team offense while Melvin German spent time at wide receiver. Pelini isn't expected to name a starter before Friday night's game, but it's clear youth will be a factor in the season opener.
"I'm sure there will be jitters, but the sooner those jitters go away and they take a deep breath and just start playing football, the better off they will be. My advice is to let the game slow down" Pelini said.
With no official starter at quarterback, Pelini could only comment on the preparation of the group. Both Juste and Hankerson are true freshmen while Johnson is a sophomore junior college transfer.
"For a quarterback that means they will have to spend some extra time on their own and really having a through understanding of the defense we're going to be facing and the offense we're going to be running. It's a lot on a freshman to prepare that way and it's a lot on Quez (Jaquez) too being his first start," Pelini said.
- One of the most interesting moments in Monday's press conference came when Pelini revealed that he played against former NFL quarterback and Miami standout Bernie Kosar in high school. Pelini's high school was rivals with Kosar's school back in Youngstown, Ohio and the FAU coach recalled a play when he sacked the star quarterback. "He was a year ahead of me. He was one of the best high school quarterbacks I had seen," Pelini said. Kosar will be horned with the 1983 Miami national championship team before Friday's game.
- The Hurricane's offensive line is billed as one of the top in the country, and the unit even has a nickname with the "Great Wall of Coral Gables." Miami has six able-bodies on the line that have combined for 93 careers starts. FAU struggled to find depth last season along the defensive front, but Pelini thinks it's now a different situation. Miami should prove to be a strong test for the line. "It will be a great challenge for us because we feel like as a position group we have had more improvement than anywhere else on the team. The fact that we get to go up against an offensive line as good as theirs, will be a great measuring stick."
- Pelini said last this week his staff would have conversations about the rotation at quarterback."That's something that we should sit down as a staff on Wednesday night and talk about rotations and substitutions and what that plan is."
- Quarterback won't be the only position that true freshmen are expected to see action. Pelini said nine different freshmen could see playing time on Friday. DE Trey Hendrickson, LB Robert Relf, RB Jay Warren, CB Lester Thomas, CB Reggie Brown and WR Kalib Woods will all be in the rotation along with Hankerson and Juste.
- Miami senior quarterback Stephen Morris has been regarded as one of the top passers this season, and Pelini agreed with the hype. "He's as good of a quarterback as I have seen in a long time and the NFL scouts that come through here feel the same way. He's got great skills, got great vision and a quick release and a live arm. It's going to be a big challenge for us."
- Linebacker Andrae Kirk is a longtime friend of Miami's super sophomore running back Duke Johnson. The two grew up playing youth football together for a few years according to Kirk.
- Both FAU and Miami's rosters are stacked with local talent and Pelini offered his take on the recruiting process. "The more time you spend in South Florida the more familiar you are with Miami and FIU's roster," Pelini said. "Any recruiting area that you focus on no matter where you are, you begin to recognize those names as they go out and you always find those ones that got away, and you eat your heart out."
- Pelini and Miami head coach Al Golden have crossed paths once before, back in 2007 when Pelini was a defensive line coach at Ohio. Golden and his Temple squad were held to just 48 rushing yards in a 23-7 loss to the Bobcats.