Concluding our assistant coach interviews for today, here’s receivers coach Jimmie Dougherty commenting on Cody Bruns, Kasen Williams, Marvin Hall, Kevin Smith, and more.
Some video follows the transcript.
On Cody Bruns and redshirting him last year: “Cody, as you guys all know, is a great kid and really it was just the right thing to do for it. Just mentally, at that stage, his mind was elsewhere, obviously, as any of us would have been with what he was going through and it was really just a heartfelt decision by the coaching staff in talking it over with him and it was the best thing for him.”
On having a fifth-year senior with all of the young receivers: “It’s great. I really wish he was healthy right now so he could be helping us more on the field and you guys can all see him, he’s limping around, but he’s still out there trying to battle through it and that’s the type of kid he is, but that leadership, not only the receivers but the whole team really respects Cody and what he brings and what he’s been here, so he’s huge from a leadership standpoint.”
On Kasen Williams and what he’s working on: “He weighs 220 pounds and it’s a mentality of throwing people around, really. He can do it and he’s showed that at times and it’s just being that all the time, doing that all the time, not allowing yourself to ever get jammed up, don’t ever allow yourself to do that, throw guys out of the way. Kasen is still young and he’s still learning this offense and the nuances of the position and the offense and the details. We’ve been on him really hard about all that from the mental aspect of it and once he gets that down he’ll play that much more physical, that much faster, that much better. It’s crazy how much potential he has and the bar is set really high from a coaching staff standpoint, from the fanbase, everybody, from the day he stepped on campus and it’s all warranted. The kid is super-talented, out of this world talented and it’s just a matter of him now mentally catching up with the physical side of it and the sky’s the limit, he can be as good as he wants to be.”
On how long it takes to get over the growing pains: “I think all kids, when they show up as freshman, they go through that, those growing pains. Everyone out here is fast, everyone out here is strong, everyone out here is gifted and now it’s going to be the little, technical things that are going to separate you, it’s going to be the mental aspect of knowing your position inside and out, that’s what’s really going to separate you and allow you to really flourish.”
On what Williams and James Johnson are doing right now: “I think they’re doing it. They’re bringing it every day. They’re bringing their energy, they’re bringing their passion, they’re bringing their leadership, they’re really bringing a lot of playmaking ability to the position right now. We’re really excited about those guys. Obviously, losing Jermaine (Kearse) and Devin (Aguilar) to graduation, that’s part of college football, and you gotta prepare the next guys and get them ready to step in and play those roles. We’re still going to throw the ball, we’re still going to run our offense, we’ve got No. 17 (Keith Price) back there, so those guys have gotta step up and if anything it’s more opportunities are going to come their way and I think they know that and as a competitor and a guy that wants the ball in their hands they’re really seizing those opportunities and taking full advantage of it.”
On the progress of some of the younger receivers: “Those guys are still just hampered by the mental side of it again. It’s so hard for those guys right now because they’re not confident stepping into the huddle, knowing their position, knowing their job, knowing their route, whatever it is, it’s really hard for them to play like they’re capable of playing, which is pretty normal for a young kid coming into this system. It’s not like we’re lining up in one formation every play. Every snap we’re motioning, we’re shifting, we’re running a bunch of different concepts. Every play you have to be dialed in, especially at the receiver position so those guys are working really hard, they’re talented kids, there’s no doubt about it, but it’s just the mental side that’s holding them back.”
On Marvin Hall: “Marvin, the sky’s the limit for the kid. He can run, you guys can all see that, and that’s a special trait. You’ve got a redeeming quality, something we talk about all the time in recruiting, and that’s his. He’s not the biggest guy in the world, but he’s really fast and that’s been our message to him – ‘You might not run the right route, you’ve been here running routes for not that long, but do it really fast every time you line up’ – he’s got a ton of potential, a ton of talent, again there’s going to be some growing pains with him, but we’ll get there with him. He’s a kid that really loves football. He’s really impressed me as far as that, he loves the game of football, he’s already working hard, he expects to know it already. Some kids show up and if they don’t know it they kinda use that as a crutch, ‘I’m a freshman, I’m new here’, and he’s not using that and he’s holding himself to the same standard as the other guys.”
On James Johnson overcoming the injury issues of the last two years: “James is an all-time kid as far as character and perseverance and all those kinds of things — one of the best we’ve all ever been around. So never a worry with that. It was always my hope that this is the position he would be in, with a chance to be a captain and a true leader of this football team, not only at his position but with the whole team. And he’s earned that right — he’s persevered and been through that storm and weathered it and now here he is. He’s playing so confident right now it’s making a world of difference for the kid right now, the confidence he is playing with right now. He’s got to keep that going, and he will. Being through everything that he’s been through, he’s not going to stop. Really, his sophomore year was the year that was tough for him. Last year he got back in the rotation and ended up catching (28 passes). But I expect big things out of him this year.”
On if he expects Kevin Smith back for the season: “I hope he’s back. We miss him right now just from a standpoint of he was finally getting there mentally, finally turning that corner towards the bowl game and the end of the year, really playing confident and fast and making plays in practice. It was coming and we all knew it and we all saw it and just too bad for that kid. And what a great kid, too, on top of that. So he’s down right now, wishes he could be out here helping us out, but he’ll be back. To answer your question, very hopeful — I do expect him back. But understanding too the good thing is he didn’t use his redshirt year so if something happens where August rolls around and he’s not ready we’ll make a decision then what’s best for him and the football team.”
On how Smith got hurt (he was injured in a practice prior to the Alamo Bowl, suffering an ACL injury): “He caught a ball coming across the middle and the safety showed up right as he was turning to go up field and he just kind of planted his foot to kind of change direction that he was going in and the knee just went. He’s such a physically explosive guy, it was just an explosive cut he was trying to make and his knee just went out on him. For that same reason because he is so strong and just physically a strong guy, put together well, he’s going to have no trouble, I think, coming back from this thing. … It was really tough for that kid and again, there’s not a better kid out there. Really, really sad to see him go through this, unfortunately it’s part of this game.”
Here’s some video of Dougherty’s interview:
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