PARK CITY, Utah — Head coach Jody Sears sat down with Hornetsports.com during the final day of the Big Sky Kickoff for a Q&A regarding Sacramento State football.
With just two weeks remaining before the team reports, what are you hoping to see in the first few weeks of camp?
I'm looking forward to competition at each position. We had good competition in the spring and I hope that carries over. In those first couple weeks of camp you get a good idea on what freshmen can help you. However, we will always be evaluating during the season and might be able to get some of the young players to step up and make an impact during the season.
The NCAA has eliminated two-a-day practices. How will that change the way you prepare?
Those two-a-days developed chemistry and mental toughness through the trials of camp. You have to come at it from a different angle. The teachings and reps will still happen but you have to lengthen the time that you have. We will still get 25 or 26 practices we start the season.
You have some changes to the coaching staff with the addition of Luke Huard, John Therrell and CJ Cox. How is that working out and what can we expect from the offense with Huard and Paul Wulff calling plays?
Adding Luke, John and CJ have been nice additions and they have fit in extremely well. They are like minded and Luke brings in a lot of experience. CJ and John bring energy and are quality good young coaches. Luke will call the plays but Paul will be the leader. The offense does not belong to one person — it's not Paul Wulff's offense or Luke Huard's offense. We've decided that it's really hard to be an O-line coach and call plays at the same time and that will allow Paul to focus up front and Luke to call the plays. Luke has had success calling plays at his previous stops and comes from a football family."
Big plays were costly last season on defense and you made that a priority during the spring. What are some of the things that need to happen to eliminate the big play?
It comes down to knowing and understanding your roles and responsibilities. I don't ever question our kids' heart but we have to be a little less eager to make the play which has put us out of position. The safeties and linebackers need to understand the phillosophy, stop being ready-fire-aim, and we need to play more as a team.
What are the advantages of returning all five starters on the offensive line?
The heart of your football team starts up front no matter where you are. That's where your leadership comes from and where the mentality of your football team is established. Those guys returning does not guarantee anything. Hopefully they are a little bigger and stronger and the chemistry improves.
Quarterback is one of the few spots where you don't have an obvious starter. Who's involved in the battle for the position and how do you evaluate the players during practice?
Coming in to camp Kevin Thomson, Wyatt Clapper, a healthy Kolney Cassel and Roman Ale will all get a chance to prove what they can do. It comes down to consistency, getting the ball to the right people at the right time and making plays. We will evaluate on the field and also by watching the film from practices. Ideally, one person pulls away and establishes themselves as a clear cut starter but we will need all of them to be ready to play and help the team.
North Dakota was picked to finish first in both the coaches and media preseason polls. In fact, the top eight teams in both polls were picked in the same order. Sacramento State was selcted to finish 12th in both polls.
|2017 BIG SKY CONFERENCE PRESEASON POLLS|
|Coaches Poll||Media Poll|
|1. North Dakota (6)
||130||1. North Dakota (15)
|2. Eastern Washington (2)
||124||2. Eastern Washington (5)
|3. Northern Arizona (2)
||119||3. Northern Arizona (3)
|4. Cal Poly (1)
||108||4. Cal Poly
|5. Weber State (1)
||103||5. Weber State
|6. Montana (1)
||83||6. Montana (1)
|7. Southern Utah
||80||7. Southern Utah||175|
|8. Montana State||69||8. Montana State||156|
|9. Portland State
||62||9. Northern Colorado
|10. Northern Colorado||60||10. Portland State
|11. UC Davis
||35||11. UC Davis
|12. Sacramento State
||26||12. Sacramento State
|13. Idaho State
||15||13. Idaho State||44|
The Big Sky also announced a deal with Eleven Sports which will air a football and men's basketball game of the week. The network will also broadcast the quarterfinals and semifinals of the men's basketball championship as well as the women's basketball semifinals and championship game. The conference's women's soccer, volleyball and softball semifinals and championship games will also be televised on Eleven Sports.