Post-practice with Tom Arth – August 17, 2019
What were you expecting to get out of today’s practice...what were the practice-specific goals, and did you see it on the field?
“I guess in some instances we did. Every day our goals are very similar. We want to come out and give the very best effort we can. We want to compete at a high level throughout the duration of the practice. For the most part I think we did that. I challenged the team today. I kind of questioned whether or not every single player we have in our program gave everything they had throughout the duration of the practice. There were some inconsistencies, and that’s an area we’re really trying to focus on. We need to become a more consistent group. Over the past couple weeks, we’ve had some really good days...we have some days when the offense has a great day and the defense struggles...and then the defense has a great day and the offense struggles. So we really just need to find that consistency. That’s what we need throughout the remainder of camp, working up to the start of the season.”
At what point does the switch flip from getting better...defining your 2-deep roster...learning plays...to focusing on preparation for Illinois?
“I don’t think you ever stop trying to get better. At some point here, probably next week, we won’t necessarily start to focus on Illinois, but we’ll start learning how to go through a game plan. Learning how to go through an in-season practice week. Developing our scout teams, making sure the scout team players understand the type of effort we’re looking for...the type of looks they have to give...and viceversa. The first and second units have to go hard in order to give the scout team the freedom to go hard. If the one’s and two’s aren’t giving everything they have, the scouts are going to be a little bit slower. So next week we’re going to start building in some of those periods. We’ll start training and developing the scout teams and really getting ready for everything necessary for the start of the season.
Where do you feel the team is today, as opposed to where you’d hoped you’d be at the start of the camp?
“I’m happy with where we’re at. I think we’ve made a lot of improvement. Who we were in the spring is very different that who we are today, and that’s a real credit to our players...their hard work and commitment to our program. We’re playing at a much higher level right now than at any point in the spring. That’s what you look for is that constant improvement. At the same time, you’re never satisfied. You’re always pushing them and challenging them to get better and to improve. I think the biggest positive out of camp has been our attitude, and the effort we’ve given. We’ve come out just about every single day put forth great effort in our practices. Now we need to continue putting forth that same effort, but also execute consistently.”
Obviously Nate Stewart was a rock star today. Can you give me the names of a few players that have caught your eye...guys that maybe you only have seen on tape, or in limited reps in the spring, who are shining in camp?
“Nate had a great day today, has had a great camp thus far too. Andre Williams has been really exciting to see. We didn’t get a chance to see him at all during the spring time. This being the first week and a half of camp, this is his first time practicing in a long time. And the first time playing in our offense. It’s taken him a little while to hit his stride, and in these last few practices we’ve really seen what he can bring to our offense. And that’s been really positive. Landon Forman is an offensive lineman that was out all spring. But what he’s shown us over the past couple weeks has been really exciting.”
Considering there are so many new faces on defense, how do you feel things are coming along on that side of the ball?
“We certainly feel a lot better (than in the spring). We have a lot of depth on our defensive line. That was a position where we might have had five guys in the spring time, and ideally, we’d like to have a nine-man rotation. I think we have nine guys right now that we feel confident can go out there and make plays for us.” I feel really confident in our defensive backfield. The freshman that have come in have added a lot of really good depth. It’s exciting that we have some young guys that are pushing for starting positions in the secondary.”
Here is link to the coach Arth interview.