Kevin Steele press transcript 8-3-2008

Alabama Associate Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator Kevin Steele Transcript. Courtesy of UA

Opening Comments:

“First I’d like to take a moment to send our thoughts and prayers to Coach Stallings and his family. Anybody who has ever met John Mark, and I did one time, knew that he was definitely full of sunshine.”

“To give you a brief synopsis real quick of kind of where we are at, we talk about process here a lot. We’re in the process. It’s kind of hard to answer a lot of specific questions or be very specific because we’re just basically two practices into it with a lot of youth running around out there and some returning experience that obviously we are very far ahead in terms of our installation and their application of that in the practices because they’ve been through it a lot now. It’s got a lot of little nuances in the defense. It takes a while to adjust. But the young guys have done a great job of being energetic and being focused, being mature about the process that they are in and not taken back in the shock of what’s happening. I think that’s a tribute to the young guys. They obviously did a good job in the summer of conditioning and getting acclimated to the way we go about things which is now translating into the football practice and the application of the x’s and o’s.

“We’ve got a lot of guys out there who are very athletic. We’ve got a lot of guys that have potential to fit into the pieces of the puzzle but we’ve got a lot of practicing to do and obviously some scrimmages when we get to that test. So anything above that will really be putting the cart before the horse.”

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On effects of changes in staff titles between him and Kirby Smart:

“The thing that’s good about it is that Kirby (Smart) and I had actually worked together before Coach Saban and Kirby were together. We were together at Florida State . He was a graduate assistant for us at Florida State so we’ve been friends for a long time. So in terms of just trying to make it happen and fitting everything together where people have a chance to be recognized for being a strong part of the staff which Coach Saban is very good about that, there has not been anything at all. We keep on keeping on. There’s enough work around here, I’ll promise you, that if you’ve got anybody who else wants to come along and get a title, we’ll give them a title and put them to work because there’s plenty to do.”

On Coach Saban’s references that Steele is ready, himself, to be a head coach:

“That’s putting the cart before the horse, too. I’ve been there done that. If an opportunity arises, and you have to look at each and every situation differently, I’ll promise you this, if the opportunity occurs, then we’ll access the situation to see the commitment of the program, see if they want to win, and if it doesn’t we’ll keep doing what we’re doing and be happy along the way.”

On the linebacker position and whether he’s been in a similar situation with so much inexperience:

“I assume you’re talking about the youth? The thing about it is, and just remember this, in the college cycle, you only have four years. And a lot of times if you really recruit the right guys nowadays with the early entry into the draft, you only have three years. So it’s a pretty short cycle anyway so you have to be prepared at all times to prepare the youth to play immediately. If you’re going to have to prepare to play immediately then the first criteria is to go get guys who have the ability to do that and then as a coach get it taught. There is no reason not to get it taught. If you do that, if you take that approach at some point in time it will all come together and you’ll have a pretty good group of talented young men that can play on Saturday. “

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On advantage of having entire defensive staff returning:

“I think just as you talk about players and them being in the second year of the process, the older guys, it makes it just more adaptable. You kind of know what the other is thinking before you get to the problem. You can anticipate problems and have them solved in advance, and I don’t think it’s any different for a staff. Anytime you get going and just kind of have a feel. I know my 20th year of marriage is a lot different than my first year of marriage was.”

On how Rolando McClain compares to other linebackers he’s coached:

“Every one of them is different in their own way. The first thing about Rolando is that he plays very, very, very intelligent. I mean in an extreme way, both across campus in a classroom it’s reflected in how he goes about that and also on the football field. He just understands the game almost from a coach’s eyes. Then you put on top of that he has an unbelievable amount of ability and he’s big and strong. So that can be a lethal combination.”

On how difficult/how possible it will be for a new player to come in and learn the playbook and become a starter:

“We’re only about 48 hours into it so there’s a lot that remains to be seen. But obviously we do have a comprehensive playbook, but it’s not hard in terms of there’s a lot of little components in it, but once you learn the concepts it all kind of fits together. So I think that process is still ongoing. I do know this: as a coach you always want to have something to do and you always want to have some way of trying to help somebody be better. I told one of the freshmen the other day, ‘Look, if you do it all in one (try) I’d be out of work. So right now I’ve still got a job.”

On the role McClain will have in leading freshmen even though he himself is fairly young:

“Rolando is a very confident young man, and like I said he’s very intelligent. He understands the defense. He understands all the little nuances. And he’s kind of a positive upbeat guy who is kind of outgoing and likes to help people. He just doesn’t go about his daily work quietly. He’s always got something going on, and he’s kind of applied that to help those younger guys. It’s just his personality. He’s got the personality to do that. I’ve been around some who were just as smart and just as talented but personality wise they just were not very outgoing, so they didn’t become coaches on the field. Rolando is certainly a coach on the field.”

On Courtney Upshaw and Don’ta Hightower:

“I’ve been around some really talented players and they fit the mold with those guys in terms of just putting the numbers on and what you’re looking for – they have that. They look the part. They act the part. And they have shown on film in high school that they can play the part. And so far in 48 hours we haven’t been disappointed.”