HOUSTON - Houston head coach Tony Levine met with the media Monday to preview the Houston program prior to the start of spring practice.
Monday’s practice is the first of 15 this spring with all practices open to the public. Practice will kick off at 4:30 p.m. and be held at the Houston Football practice fields and Carl Lewis Field located behind the Athletics/Alumni Center at 3100 Cullen Blvd.
Fans attending practices are asked to remain outside the fields’ boundary lines and are asked to refrain from cellphone usage during practice. The area between the two practice fields will be limited to team personnel and media only.
“It’s an exciting day. I’m looking forward to this afternoon. We’ll practice Wednesday in helmets. We’ll take next week off for spring break, come back, and basically go four straight weeks. It’ll be a long spring in terms of really maximizing our days. It’s going to be a physical spring as well. I’m excited to get going this afternoon. It’ll be a fun day and the weather is supposed to be beautiful. A lot of competition starting this afternoon at 4:30.”
On competition during spring practice
“I think spring is when you try to solidify as best you can your two deep coming out of spring practice. We’ve got a number of kids coming in that will be here in June; they’ll have the chance to compete for a number of positions as well. Some of this competition will go into August. I think among other things, one thing we have to do is get tougher as a team, so that’s going to be a big part of the tone that we set this spring.”
On what changes are being made to become more physical
“You play how you practice. We’re in practice and when we’re allowed by rules to tackle on those days, we’re going to take full advantage of that. I don’t want it to sound like they haven’t been tough or physical in the past, but there’s going to be a tremendous emphasis on getting tougher; being mentally tougher and physically tougher all throughout this spring and summer. It’s something we started right at the beginning of this semester. We’ve had four 6 a.m. workouts already the last two weeks, so it’s something we’ve continued to emphasize and it’s something we will emphasize even more so this afternoon.”
On excitement for spring ball
“I am excited about a lot of things. In no particular order I am excited about the coaches that we’ve added to our staff, the energy they bring, and the experience they bring. Doug Meacham and Glen Elarbee on the offensive side of the football have a great track record of success at the places they’ve been and certainly on the offensive scheme. David Gibbs and Vernon Hargreaves have a ton of experience. Coach Gibbs had been in the NFL nine years and he’s coordinated at Auburn and Minnesota at extremely high levels. Coach Hargreaves’ track record coaching linebackers is good as anyone’s in the country. I’m excited about the addition of those four to our staff and the energy they’ll bring. I’m excited about the players we have returning and to watch them grow on the football field.”
On defensive side of spring ball
“We’ve got to get the best players on the field. We’ll have a better assessment on exactly what our defensive personnel looks like. Players make plays. We’ve got to do a great job as a staff of teaching them and putting them in position so that they can be successful individually, which in term will make us successful as a unit. That’s something that will be critical this spring.”
On student-athletes sitting out
“We don’t anticipate on holding anybody out this spring. We’ve got a couple guys that probably will not practice today and Wednesday. We’ll give it another two weeks or so to make sure they’re healthy like Charles Sims, Daniel Spencer and Andrew Rodriguez. “
On Big East excitement
“I am very excited to be moving onto the Big East. The schedule is going to come out soon and it’s going to be a challenging schedule. It’s going to be one that our coaches are looking forward to, our players are really excited about and I know our fan base is really going to be excited once they see it. It’s a great league. It’s going to be a big challenge for our program, and one that we are really looking forward to. When you look at spring practice, it’s more about us getting better… not so much who we will be playing. As soon as spring ball is over, as a staff, we’ll turn our attention to the schedule.”
On Doug Meacham
“The offense he’s been involved with at Oklahoma State is one that Dana Holgorsen brought there from Houston, so there’s a lot of similarities. I think there’s a lot more familiarities for the players with what he’s bringing from Oklahoma State. Terminology wise, it’s going to be very similar. I’m excited to see the creativity that will be a part of the offense here this spring.”