Head Coach James Franklin Opening statement… “First of all, I haven’t been here very long, as you guys know, but I was very pleased with the whole organization of everything. The weather – we planned that perfectly. The autograph session was very well attended. I got to interact with a lot of fans. We stayed healthy today. We had pretty good fan support. Like I said, I don’t know what it was like in the past, but you look up at that one side of the stadium and it was pretty well attended. I was pleased with the whole organization of everything.
“I would have liked to see a few more plays. On special teams, on offense, on defense. We did see some flashes like Kenny Ladler’s interception. I think we could have called the game a little more aggressively but I’m pleased overall. I think John Townsley is a great story. You are talking about a guy two and a half weeks ago and he was out there chucking it around and having a good time out there.
"I think it was hard to evaluate Larry Smith early on because I think the offensive line was having a difficult time with [Tim] Fugger and [Colt] Nichter. I thought as the game went on, he made some really big throws that we hope to see form him.
“We have to clean up on offense in the red zone. We would make a good drive down to the red zone and then our sloppiness would show up. Fumbled snaps, jumping off sides. When you get to the red zone, you have to score touchdowns, you can’t settle for field goals. On the same hand, our defensive line was pretty active tonight.
“The big thing is that we stayed healthy. With our depth issues and the way we practiced in spring, I wish we would have set more of a tempo in practice and gone harder and been more physical, but the reality is we stayed healthy. We didn’t have any major injuries that lost guys for the season. Our need for offensive linemen and depth for the future is going to be very important to our success.
“Overall, I was impressed. I thought the coaches did a good job with coach [John] Donovan on one side and coach [Bob] Shoop on the other. From top to bottom I was pleased.
On the importance of getting sacks… “I think being disruptive upfront and the things coach [Bob] Shoop is going to do – we are not the biggest d-line, but we are quick and we aren’t going to allow those guys to stand still. We are going to move and be active and disrupt people.”
On the offense… “The reality is, we are going to do whatever we need to do to win the game. I believe being balanced means you have the ability to run or pass in any situation in the game. One week we might pass 65 times but it might help us to come out the next week and run 65 times. I want to have flexibility in the offense. I think we have some things to clean up in the running game and passing game and we need to make some more plays in the passing game.
Larry Smith On playing in the new system compared to the old one… “They have similar formations and some of the concepts are pretty similar. The main thing is learning the new terminology and the coaching staff. I’m getting very comfortable right now, being involved the last two years things seem similar and it hasn’t been too hard of a transition for me.”
On the mentality of making plays… “I think it makes me looser. I can’t be afraid to make mistakes. We all make mistakes and you have to bounce back from it and be aggressive. Coach Franklin, the offensive staff and the defensive staff instill that in us every day. “
Jordan Matthews On if the receivers have gotten on the same page as Larry Smith… “Definitely. I think that the chemistry between me, Jonathan [Krause] and Larry has grown a lot. Even with the other receivers, we have taken time to get in there after workouts and get some throws in and on the practice field, if I’m not open he’ll look for Jonathan underneath and if he doesn’t see him he’ll look for the next guy.”
On what he can improve on… “Two main areas: route running and blocking. Coming out of high school you could just go out and catch passes and score whenever I had to. Here, you have to be perfect every game so in the offseason I’ll work on blocking to help out in the run game and route running to make them crisper so I can get open.”