I think I've tried this bit before, but we're doing it for real this year. Every week where we get the transcript of the coach and player press conference, I'll pull some select quotes from the Monday press conference. To try to get some things out of the way, it still looks like that QB Michael Brewer is day-to-day and the injury leaked in yesterday's comments, which is that Brewer's back is a fractured vertebrae matches up with what I was told and that C Tony Morales is out for this game, which was probably expected.
This week we had head coach Kliff Kingsbury, DT Kerry Hyder and WR Bradley Marquez (PDF). That means we'll most likely see a freshman quarterback on Friday night.
Q. How do you approach game week with a quarterback who has never started a game in college? Any of the three starters (No microphone)?
COACH KINGSBURY: Yeah, kind of the same thought process there is you don't want them to think too much. It's still situation he had been here a little while, but you just attack it. It's still football. It's going to move around a little faster, but we try to get all these guys a bunch of reps and I think they'll be ready to go.
I hope that QB's Baker Mayfield and Davis Webb take this to heart . . . the idea of not getting to high or too low. I think they'll be ready to an extent, but it's going to be different. It just will and there won't be anything that can prepare them for it other than stepping on that field on Friday night. It's the same rational with the game being a different game in the NFL playoffs vs. the regular season. Things get stepped up a bit. It's not explainable, it's jut different.
Q. What can you talk about just generally, not the situation here, but just generally for a true freshman? What would the challenges be for any true freshman starting at any college program anywhere in the world?
COACH KINGSBURY: Yeah, I think not to get too high or too low. I think physically kids these days with the training they receive, seven on seven year round and the private quarterback training; physically they're ready when they get here. It's the mental aspect as far as the ups and downs, handling your composure, being poised, things of that nature. The offenses that both these kids come from are very similar to what we ran in high school, similar to what we had with Johnny last year. They feel comfortable in it because that's what they played in through their high school careers.
I do think that one of the more interesting things that we'll see is how the SMU offense is going to play out. And don't sleep on that defense too. That SMU defense has been really fantastic over the past few years, led by Margus Hunt, who has now graduated, but they were incredibly stout.
Q. Can you talk about your expectations from SMU and what they'll show you offensively and defensively and how you want to counter those?
COACH KINGSBURY: Yeah, offensively it's going to be interesting to see how Coach Mumme plays into it, obviously, those two great offensive minds coming together. So we'll have to see. If it's a blend of both or more Coach Mumme or more Coach Jones. So there is some unknown in that. Then defensively, Coach Mason's an incredible defensive coordinator. He's always giving us problems with his schemes. You look at the numbers he has last year and the takeaways and the turnovers, it's been like that since he got there. So it will be a real challenge.
I sometimes think about the choices about the players that a coach chooses and I think that Kingsbury pulled the two most veteran guys that know how to speak to the media without revealing too much in Kerry Hyder and Bradley Marquez.
Q. You know there is a lot of experience on that front line. Is there any extra pressure added to make sure you guys keep pressure on the line?
KERRY HYDER: I won't call it pressure. We've got a lot of good guys up front. They expect a lot of things from us, and we plan to show up. We don't try to dwell on the pressure or whatever it is. We're the captains of the team, and we expect the team to lean on us.
Q. These last few weeks you showed among your defense who has been the most impressive or who do you think has had the best camp?
KERRY HYDER: I would say like Branden Jackson. He has a real great camp. I expect a lot of big things from him this season. The work he's put in this off-season, I feel like it's going to pay off a lot this season.
Q. What about Dartwan Bush?
KERRY HYDER: Dartwan Bush is another guy that's a great pass rusher. I expect big things out of him this season. He's pushing me all the time. I feel like Dartwan Bush is a guy that can really jump on the scene this year in the Big 12
I would love to see additional turnovers, especially with a freshman quarterback playing.
Q. Have you noticed a difference in the defense this camp compared to last camp?
BRADLEY MARQUEZ: Absolutely, they're getting turnovers in practice, and they're going against us every day and competing. As fast as we go, they have to go fast as well because we have to have a defense to go against. They've been flying around and making plays, and I feel it's going to benefit both sides, our offense and defense how fast we play come game time.
So yes, it will be a collective effort from every player in addition to the quarterbacks doing their thing.
Q. Do you have any concerns about the possibility that a true freshman is going to be leading the team in the opener? You've worked with one or all three of the people vying for the job?
BRADLEY MARQUEZ: No concerns at all. Each of these guys have the will to win, and they all do great things for this team. Them being a freshman is not going to be an excuse for us come Friday night. They're going to come out and they're going to perform as well as the rest of the team. That's just something that the players around them and everybody else is going to have to make that transition a little easier for them. So just put them in a more relaxed state because it may be a little bit overwhelming at the beginning, but they'll be ready for it. Most of these guys have played in pressure situations and in high school. They've come from great high schools, obviously. So just now at the college level, it's just something that they've trained their bodies and minds for and the way they've been coached in the past to be able to come out on a stage like this.
Since I highlighted Hyder's answer, I thought I'd highlight Marquez's answers about players that have performed well. Jakeem Grant tends to get forgotten a bit because of Jace Amaro, Eric Ward and Marquez.
Q. Among your receivers, who has had the best camp would you say?
BRADLEY MARQUEZ: From receivers? Well, I would say Jace, Jakeem, those guys have had really good camps. Eric Ward is a guy that comes to work every single day and does what it takes. This past year has proven his work ethic and everything like that. So guys like that and across the board, I would say our receivers have had a really good camp, especially buying into the system and the tempo. It's been a great camp I would say for everybody.