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DeMeco Drops: 'We want to build trust'


Head Coach DeMeco Ryans

On how the defense could look if Jonathan Greenard stays healthy all season

"I think if he continues to work like he's working – he's doing a really good job for us. He's improving daily. I've seen a lot of improvement from him, so he just has to continue what he's been doing – improving. And for me, on our defensive line, I want as many guys as possible so we're rushing the passer and if we can have eight, nine guys who can all rush the passer, then that will be great for us."

On QB C.J. Stroud performance and if there's anything to make of him taking most of the first team reps

"You know, [C.J.] Stroud is doing a great job, and he's improving just like we asked all of our guys. When it comes to development and what do you expect from training camp – what do I expect from camp? I expect everybody to be better than they were the day before. That's the main that I'm seeing out of a lot of guys, and today it was really nice to see new guys stepping up and making plays. So, as we continue to build and new guys step up and make plays, it shows that our team is definitely growing in the right direction."

On how much his former playing experience influences how he puts together a practice

"With what goes into a practice, there's a lot of planning that goes into a practice. For me, it's a lot of guys working together – myself working with the offensive and defensive coordinators, and we want to make sure we're putting our guys in the right situations – making sure that we're giving them everything they could possibly go through before we actually hit a real game. So, there's a lot of detailed planning that goes in as opposed to who gets what rep. We want to make sure that we have very selective reps so just because we have three different groups – ones, twos, threes – we may have a one who needs to get a certain pass look or a certain defensive pressure look and he may have to go with the second group. But that's okay because it's detailed enough that we know that guy is getting that specific rep and hopefully he can make the adjustment that we are hoping to see."

On where LB Henry To'oTo'o is right now

"Henry is in a really good spot for us right now. He's improving, he's doing a really good job of communicating the defense and we put a lot – we ask a lot of the MIKE linebacker to communicate on defense and Henry has done a really nice job of stepping in, making that communication and he's improving each day. I'm pleased with where Henry is."

On what he's told C Juice Scruggs to expect as the next man up following C Scott Quessenberry's injury

"With Scott [Quessenberry] being hurt first and foremost, we're all praying for Scott and hoping for a healthy recovery from him. It was hard to see him go down yesterday, and you hate to lose anyone like that on the practice field. Scott's a competitor and I know he'll attack the rehab just like he attacked his preparation each and every day. [He's a] smart guy, tough competitor – wishing him the best. When it comes to replacing guys or guys stepping up, it's part of the game, alright? That's why you're here. Everybody's here because we expect you to step up and play at some point. Who knows that time? No one knows what can happen, so you always have to be ready, you always have to be on your 'A game.' You always have to be prepared because you never know when that moment is for you to step in and play, and that's the situation we're in now."

On if it's a concern that rookie quarterbacks tend to hold on to the ball for too long

"With how quarterbacks hold the ball, with C.J. [Stroud] what I've seen is he's definitely made adjustments. He's getting the ball out quick, he's making the proper reads and that's the first thing. We want him to just make the proper reads and if one is open, deliver the ball. He's doing that today and that's how we want him to operate efficiently. That all starts with our coaching staff and the plan that they have, the plays that they design for him to run. It's making sure that they're efficient plays, making sure everyone knows what to do and it's not just about that one player at quarterback. A lot of emphasis goes on him, but it's also about the receivers, the tight ends, the backs – making sure they're running the right route, their eyes are where they're supposed to be, they have the proper depth on the route. So, it's a lot of things that go into a play being efficient and also the quarterback delivering a nice ball. So, he's been doing a good job."

On what he's seen from DE Chase Winovich

"Yeah, Chase [Winovich] is working his way back – still knocking off some rust – he's working his way back. But, excited to see him out, see what he can do [and] how can he help us."

On being a 'no-BS' coach

"I am a coach that's going to shoot it straight to the guys, right? These guys have a limited amount of time in their careers, and we don't know how long their career will be. So for me, I'm not going to sugar coat it to a player to make him feel good. I'm going to tell players the truth whether they like it or not because I know in the end, they'll respect me more by telling them the truth. And that's the type of coach I am. If it's good, I'll let you know it's good and I'll celebrate the good as much as I can – that's what I want to do – spotlight as much good as possible. But we also have to make sure we are getting things corrected in a quick manner. We don't have a lot of time – it's a sense of urgency that we have a short amount of time to get things fixed and move on so we can be prepared to go play and play well. So, I have a lot of sense of urgency in my approach to coaching and I hope the players feel that."

On how this offense works through WR Nico Collins

"What I like about Nico [Collins] – I like Nico. He's been consistent – that's what I like about him. The consistency that he's shown throughout camp, he's stepped up and made big plays. Each and every day, he's making big plays. He's been detailed in his preparation and detailed in his routes, so I'm excited what Nico is doing for us."

On what it's like as an Alabama alum to have former Alabama players on the team

"My connection with the Alabama alum is – it's an honor and it makes you proud to see guys from your alum just doing well and playing well enough to be drafted here or however we acquired those guys. It's an honor to have those guys [and] you have a special bond because you played at the same place. But that's one part of it. At the end of the day, it's about [how] those guys are here because they're great football players, first and foremost. Not just because they went to the great University of Alabama, but they're also great football players and they're really great young men. So, [I'm] excited to work with them because of, first, the talent that have and they're also just really genuine guys – fun to be around."

On having TE Dalton Schultz back today

"With our tight end group, I guess they've done a really good job throughout camp and those are guys that we will rely on. Our tight ends – they should be quarterback friendly. With the route-running ability, they should be very quarterback friendly for our offense that we're expecting them to be big time playmakers for us."

On what goes into teaching a young quarterback how to trust the play call

"Yeah, with our offensive timing – what do we see, what do we want? We want to build trust. We build trust through constant preparation here. It's routes on air, it's the quarterback and receiver or tight end making sure their steps are in sync. The quarterback, sometimes there is a little blind trust because the guy at the back of your drive, he may be covered. But can you still trust that my guy is going to get open and he's going to run the proper route? That trust is developed all through OTAs, through training camp – that's when you develop that trust so when you get into the season you're not holding onto the ball and not trusting or believing that your teammate is going to be where he is supposed to be. So, we're operating on schedule. We're letting the ball rip because we're building trust in each other. We can build trust because we'll be a tight team. We'll be a connected team. These guys will fight for one another and they're going to make H-Town proud."

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