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Aug. 21, 2006

Highlights from Al Groh’s Media Teleconference on Monday, Aug. 21, 2006.

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Question: Which true freshmen, if any, do you expect to play in the season opener at Pittsburgh?Groh: The most likely new player to play for us would be Nate Collins.

Question: Would that be a nose tackle or defensive end?Groh: Both nose tackle and defensive end are a possibility.

Question: What has impressed you most about Collins and is he further along than you thought he’d be at this point?Groh: He was in our camp, he was here as a fullback and linebacker. But he had obvious size and the athletic ability that went with that size was very impressive. He didn’t have a significant background in playing in the interior line, but he’s got really good athletic ability. (And) he just finds a way to get off blocks and get to the ball.

Question: You’ve talked about the back-up quarterback and wanting to see those guys more. Has there been any progress towards the No. 2 guy over the weekend?Groh: No, I’d like to say there was, but we had a 90-play scrimmage yesterday afternoon and it reallly didn’t determine anything. We would have liked it to move it further in that direction and it’s disappointing in that respect, but frankly it was probably disappointing in most respects.

Question: You have talked about how tight things have been at the center position between Ian-Yates Cunningham and Jordy Lipsey. Has anything changed on this in the last few days?Groh: One of the real bright pieces of news out of camp has been that probably nobody on the team has had a better training camp than Jordy Lipsey has. He has really hit his stride as far as getting his game together and looking like a college center.

Question: If Lipsey keeps playing at that level does Cunningham become a candidate at guard?Groh: Yes, he certainly becomes a candidate to play other positions.

Question: What is the status of tackle Eddie Pinigis?Groh: On Saturday, Eddie Pinigis quit the team. I think he was looking for more playing time.

Question: Had he fallen behind Will Barker?Groh: He had.

Question: How does it affect the depth at that position?Groh: Zak Stair, who is another one of the players who has begun to establish himself, will just have more opportunity to play. He’ll be available to play at each one of the tackle positions. We usually put the next best player in at a position; not the next right guard, but the best next guard or whatever position might be.

Question: What’s the situation behind Sintim and Dias at outside linebacker?Groh: The two that have been taking the majority of the snaps at the back-up positions are (Marvin) Richardson and (Aaron) Clark. They’ve been there from the outset. Their progress has been good, particularly in the case of Richardson. I’d say he was amongst a handful of players who I would say in yesterday’s scrimmage elevated his game, perhaps what he had done in the past.

Question: How has Theirrien Davis progressed in this camp?Groh: He’s doing pretty well. He missed spring ball and he seems to be over his shoulder miseries, which he really kind of gutted it up and endured there for a year-and-a-half. Without having to deal with those things he’s been able to make every practice as well as do all the things in every practice that are required of the receivers. His progress has been very good and he continues to be a very viable contender to start at that position.

Question: Are you still impressed with Denzel Burrell and is he still making strides?Groh: He is (making progress). He’s really caught my attention in camp. He’s really beginning to develop physically; he’s put on quite a bit of size. He’s got good speed and a high motor. He is tough. He certainly going to be able to carve out some roles on special teams and he’s really doing some things to interject himself into the playing picture.

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