BI’s Vance Leavy asked Coach Smart about his goals for the staff are for 2017:
“With our coaching, absolutely. I think the big demand for us is what can we do to do a better job helping our players be successful. To pinpoint one of those, the No. 1 goal for me is to reach our goals. We have a goal on punt, we have a goal on kickoff, we have a goal on defense. For every statistic, we have a goal. We didn’t reach many of those. Now, do you change your standard? Do you change your goals so you can make them? Or do you say, oh well, we’re not going to be very good in this area, we’ll lower it. No, the standard is what it is, and we have to try to get to that point. But that’s true in our coaching staff, as well, whether it’s delegation of time, who has got what responsibility. All of that’s offseason stuff, who has got what opponents, what your job is in the off-season. All those things have been delegated and some are very similar to last year, and some are different, but each is its own entity with each guy.”
“Offensively, obviously throwing the ball more efficient is a big goal of ours. Because I think if you throw the ball efficiently, you’ll be able to run ball with the backs we’ve got. When you can’t throw the ball, it makes it hard. It doesn’t matter who your backs are. We’re going to have a lot of shuffling across the offensive line throughout camp. I’m excited about the opportunity for those guys. I think they are up to the challenge. I think it’s going to be a really key, integral part for our success to figure out who are the best eight, who are the best 10, how many do we have that can play winning football on the offensive line, and you can’t find that out on day one. You can’t find it out on day two because you’ve got still shorts on, but you start seeing who can learn and who is really serious about it early on. And then the red area offense was not where it needs to be. We have to score touchdowns and we have to cash the ball in, which when you get in the red area and the field shrinks, you have to be able to run the ball. You’ve got to be able to run the ball because the throwing area is very short. And I know that from being a defensive coordinator, and I also know that defensively, we’ve got to improve in the red area. That was probably statistically the worst thing we did on defense last year was red area. So, with that in mind, we practiced it a lot last year. We practiced it more in the spring. We’re going to even focus on it more this fall camp so we can improve in that area.”
Later, during player interviews, Vance asked players if they saw any changes in the expectations from the staff.
First up is Jeb Blazevich:
Next, Lorenzo Carter :
Finally, Roquan Smith: