Jake Brendel talks about the development of Conor McDermott and Malcolm Bunche and whether any…
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On Malcolm Bunche at left tackle:
I was very pleased with him today. He's more natural at tackle than he is at guard. I thought he looked really good at tackle today. His junior year he was at left tackle. He seemed really comfortable out there. He took a lot of reps out there and I was really pleased. Obviously, he was going against Owa. But he was able to hold his own. But he'll be fine at left tackle.
On Caleb Benenoch at right tackle:
We went in to practice before Alex went down with Caleb at right tackle and Malcolm at left. We talked about that in our room. Caleb looked good and Malcolm looked good and I;m comfortable with that. It was just in shells, but we'll see how things go, but they looked good.
On if positions are set:
Everything is open, even center is open. Jake is obviously the leader of our offense with Brett, and in our room he's our leader. And you'd like to see him there. But every season it's 'what have you done for me lately?' Your balling, doing the things asked of you at a high level, you'll get the opportunity to play. I don't know if any of the freshman will play. We have guys that have some games under their belt so I'm excited. They're progressing. Noel will be excited about that, putting in some wrinkles we couldn't do in the best. We have numbers so we can rest some guys. The quality depth is something we want, but we're a young group and getting better each day.
On Alex Redmond:
Alex is a guy. He's a physical guy but he has to get better. Regardless of the accolades he got after the season, he's not where he needs to be. He's not nearly what he's going to become. He's a work in progress. He has to be physically tough and mentally tough as well, go out there and be disciplined. He's doing a good job at that and it's part of the maturation process. Today he had a little hiccup but he'll overcome it. He's a pretty tough kid so I expect him back pretty soon.
On Scott Quessenberry:
We get a lot of flexibility with him in the interior at all three positions. He obviously started for us last year out of necessity. He's right behind Jake. There is a good chance he could end up being one of our starting guards. He has the experience. He's battling Najee. The way he's worked in the offseason, the way he goes about his business, it's his to lose right now.
On Simon Goines:
Simon is day to day, trying to get better. He's gone through a lot. Some things he's gone through physically. But its not always about the physical, it's the mental. Some of the things that have happened to him, it's mental to get over. You have to come back and play without getting nervous. I'm patient with him and I understand it. He tries to come out here each day and work.
On Kolton Miller:
He's getting an opportunity because of numbers because Simon's out and Connor is coming back. It's hard to tell. We haven't had pads on and just shells. He's learning and getting acclimated. It's wait and see and hard to tell this early. I haven't coached that long but you can't judge a guy the first couple of days. Look at Alex, he wasn't even first team four days before then he starts the first game and he's first team all-everything for the rest of the season. Caleb loses his spot then he comes back and ends up making it. You see how everyone matures and catches on at separate times.
On his tackles:
I feel really good. Malcolm has started an entire season at tackle on his previous team. Next level he'll probably be a guard depending on his system, but he had a good day. More than physical. Different kind of player from that position. We did some things we haven't been able to do. We changed some things schematically. I feel very comfortable with him there and Coach Mora and Coach Mazzone do. You get a guy at left tackle whos long and rangy. But they don't have that physical. He's problematic for guys rushing the edge. They don't really see guys like that in our conference, they're more finesse. I knew he could play all four positions, but it was a matter of where we were going to play him. To his character, he didn't care where we put him. He wanted to get better at whatever position. He went in there, hadn't taken any reps, and said alright coach, and that's it. He's a grown man. He's mature and a lot different than other guys. He's a joy to have in the room.
On the depth compared to last year:
Obviously we have a lot more numbers. We had 7-9 guys last year. I don't have to take it as easy. We don't have the quality depth we'd like but we have the numbers. That's not to say we won't. They're an injury away from playing. We want to get them confidence. Not false confidence but confidence. We'll see how that goes.
On if Malcolm Bunche became a natural leader:
I'm not like that, I want it to happen naturally, not something that is manufactured. I want them to earn it. Jake has earned it. Malcolm is more mature, and not just because he's older. I could see he would be one of the leaders. He doesn't say a lot but when he does, it carries a lot of weight.
On how close he is to the depth he wants:
Probably another year or two. The offensive line is so different. The maturation process, physically and mentally, takes so much longer. When you think you've got it going, something happens, so I think maybe another year or two. This is the first time we've gotten walk-ons. This spring is the first time Jake got out in practice. Up until that point,he had taken every snap. X too. They're pretty beat up. Jake is running around more. You'd like 22 lineman, we have 19 right now, and 16 are scholarship guys.
On what led to Bunche moving to tackle:
I knew he'd played it before. I like to move guys around so they can learn every position. So they don't get comfortable with one position and don't know the other. I move guys around just in case out of necessity. Look at Caleb, he had to play guard than he had to move to tackle. Poasi plays both sides. You want guys to be prepared to have the most success they can. You try to do it early and get it out of the way.
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