Hi-lights from Coach Crowe’s Comments At OVC Press Conference

General Thoughts About the Upcoming Season

We’ve got enough returning players offensively and defensively to have optimism. We have some statistical leading players that are returning on defense. Offensively, other than quarterback, we lost our leading rusher our leading receiver and both of them were all conference players. I’m not sure about our play making offensively because of the loss to graduation of those two players, but we feel like we have recruited well enough. . . . We should be ok offensively if we can continue to develop the running back spot.

OFFENSE

On Greg Smith
We have a transfer wide receiver that will take Maurice Dupree’s slot. He wasn’t here in the Spring, but he’s a quality talent, person and player. His name is Greg Smith. This is probably a first- he started against us last year at Georgia Tech and this year he will be lined up against Georgia Tech starting on the other side of the ball. . . . He graduated [from Tech] in 3 and 1/2 years. Ultimately, we are going to try and make a coach out of him.

Quarterback
Ryan is certainly a marquis name in talent we feel like he is positioned to be better this year than he was last year. He certainly showed signs last year of being able to make plays and illustrate his talent but he did not have the consistency that we looked for and hoped for at that position. He is on track to graduate and we look for him to add more this year. We also would like to take every advantage to play Marquez Ivory, the backup. He was very recognized high school quarterback out of Northside-Warner Robbins. . . . He is a guy that when his opportunity comes we would like to start developing him.

Running Back
We don’t feel like we have arrived there yet. That will be something that will have to develop. . . Brandon George is . . . the top of the pecking order.
One new name that has a chance to show up statistically is a running back/kick returner named Jamal Young. Jamal is going to be a junior that came to us from Gulf Coast Junior College. He was not really recruited because of his size. . . . He reminds you a lot of Lionel James “Little Train” that I coached at Auburn. He is a very unique player is the reason that I made the comparison because he is small and will do anything and appears a lot of times to be capable enough to be a difference maker. He will be with Brandon at tailback and may be a name that as people start following us may draw attention.

Offensive Line
We have a fine center, Reggie Wade and we have enough people that have played that we feel like we have a start there.

Tight End
Eric Johns . . . I think he has a chance to be a real difference maker, almost a wide receiver type player that weighs 245 pounds and is a very good blocker. . . .

DEFENSE

All Conference Players
I’ll second the vote of the people that voted for Brandt Thomas at nose, Alexander Henderson at linebacker and Carnell Clark at safety. I think that gives us a chance to have at all three levels of defense a core of confidence for the people to build around.
We’ve got returning players at all three levels [line, linebackers and secondary] but we are breaking in somebody new at each one of the three levels of defense.

SPECIAL TEAMS
Probably the biggest go forward for us is that we lost a senior kicker and a punter. Gavin Hallford was a record setter and [punter] Zack Walden. We are going to start spring training with Patrick Tatum with the ablility to do all of it, but we are trying to keep that from happening. We are looking to a couple of walk-ons but there is no need to give any names. That is a very important aspect that we are very aware of but we have to decide who are return guy is after having Dupree in there for so many years.

APR/POST SEASON BAN
We can’t be #1 in the country when the year is over with, but we can make a mark.. .. To the players credit, I [have not seen] a whole lot of whining. . . It appears they are committed to being the best football team they can be under whatever circumstances that have been presented. . . This is a historic penalty. It is not these guys that represent what the penalty is about. But, we are not going to make any excuses about that. We had a chance to plead our case and did not get much support. We are not criers and moaners here. We are going to be big boys.
Our APR has shown improvement. It had a downward spike. The question the NCAA had was which one was an anomaly the previous improvement or the downward spike. I think history will show that the anomaly was a downward spike that we tried to justify. I’m not going to respond in what ways. We thought we had justification but it was not recognized. . . .
I’ll tell you what I’m going to do, I’m going to put up the GPA of every starting player . . . so everybody that thinks these guys are not college students– because they are and they are good ones. It’s the ones that are not here that caused the downward spike.

RELATIONSHIP WITH OVAL JAYNES
There’s only one thing I ask from the people I work for. I’d like to know that they have the same knot in their stomach that I have in my stomach about ten minutes before kickoff. That’s all I need to know about Oval. I think his knot’s bigger than mine.

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