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Head Coach Scott Linehan August 2, 2006

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  • Head Coach Scott Linehan August 2, 2006

    Head Coach Scott Linehan

    August 2, 2006

    (On today’s practice)

    “We worked some situations today, some goal line, short yardage, continuing to work our blitz on both sides of the ball and continue to hone in on situations. We’re getting there. It’s the dog days, particularly now. We’re almost there. You get through this week and then you actually have a game in sight. But right now we’re still plugging away and I think we made some improvement this morning.”

    (On reminding players to keep the tempo up during practice)

    “That’s what you have to do. The body starts to shut down. They’re friendly reminders, that’s a good way of putting it.”

    (On his expectations for RB Steven Jackson)

    “The expectation for him is like all of the players: To give their best and improve everyday. I think Steven’s done a great job of accepting what we’re doing as far as our attitude and our philosophy. He’s certainly going to benefit from practicing the way we are and committing to the things we’re committing to. He’s running that ball downhill. We know he can get to the edge, and that’s going to be a big part of what he does. We’re going to hit that thing inside, and be able to get it outside as well. He’s doing a great job of really working on that part of his game.”

    (On LT Orlando Pace)

    “We have the obvious special players on this team that have played at a high level for a number of years Orlando’s certainly one of them. If you were going to make one of those LTs, he’s what you’re looking for. And he does a great job. He obviously had the child the other day, but he’s been out here grinding with everybody and doesn’t miss any reps. He certainly does things you can’t coach, but he’s also a very coachable player who takes pride in his technique. It’s a luxury for us because the young guys can watch how he goes about his business.”

    (On the backup RB situation)

    “Obviously, Tony Fisher is doing a great job there. One announcement is that we’ve agreed to terms with Moe Williams, who played for me when I was in Minnesota and played last year there, got hurt and actually went on IR and recovered from a knee surgery in the offseason. We brought him in twice. The first physical was incomplete so we brought him in again and he cleared that physical. We met with him yesterday and we came to terms today. He should be here by tonight or tomorrow. He’ll be ready to go. What Moe brings is somebody that is familiar to our system, but a veteran who has played in a role as a backup and as a three. So, between Mo and Tony Fisher we’ve got guys that are handling the same thing. Mo was a real strong special teams player as well. We’re just strengthening our team because we add a real quality back-up running back that has played very well in this system at Minnesota.”

    (On the severity of RB Mo Williams knee injury he’s recovering from)

    “Mo has been in the league 10 years, so he’s come back, but it’s like anything else, those injuries tend to start to add up. I’m not concerned about it because Mo has always been able to manage himself, a lot like other veterans do, to make sure he’s ready to go on game day. He never missed any playing time during my time last year. He just had to have the surgery and it added up for him. He feels good, looks good, and says he feels like he’s in better shape than he was when we opened camp last year. I think it’ll be a great addition to our team.”

    (On Williams’ physical)

    “It’s a medical check-up. I know what Mo can do. Mo’s not going to be able to take every rep of every play. We’ll work him into shape. He’ll be able to come out and get a lot of the mental stuff while he’s getting in shape. We’ll be able to do that as we go. Basically, we managed him because of his age . He’s been nicked up a little bit over time and we always did that with him in Minnesota. In 2003 he was our starter for six games and we went 6-0. He certainly can fill a lot of roles at running back.”

    (On Williams being able to rebound from surgery)

    “He went back to have the check up and he said it worked. I’m sure it works at different levels for some people. We know Mo probably doesn’t have 10 years left in his career, but he and I have a really good working relationship and he looks and feels as good as ever. I think we just have to work him and keep a good eye on him and make sure we’re not trying to push him too fast. He’ll be able to practice. We’ll keep an eye on him and work him into shape and make sure we don’t have any setbacks with it. We’ll just manage him.”

    (On what Williams brings to the table)

    “Toughness. Attitude. When you get in one of those games when the team was going to bring it, you knew the defense was going to bring that Will linebacker or they were going to challenge how tough we were. If you went back and watched our film you would always see who started the game was always Mo. He always matched up well and never backed down from anything. He’s very sound in what he does. There’s nothing flashy about him; he’s a get it done type of guy. In 2003, I think he led all RB’s in third down conversions because he was our third-down back. It wasn’t because he was the classic guy that you flare out, he was just a guy that gave great protection first, but if you threw him the ball he always knew where the first down marker was and he always seemed to get it. He’s one of those old school guys that you love to have on your team.”

    (On being interested in acquiring RB Michael Bennett)

    “We were certainly in the mix, things happen. I don’t know exactly the details around it. I think that things just work out the way they do for a reason. You certainly have to have yourself backed up if it doesn’t work out. We’ll continue to keep our eyes on RBs that become available because a lot of things happen between now and September 10.”

    (On Williams’ running style)

    “We used him in short yardage a lot. He was kind of a short yardage and 3rd down kind of back. If we needed a guy that was going to run downhill and get that ugly 4 yards, so to speak, he was the man. He just filled a lot of roles and he was a very, very good special team’s player. He made a name for himself, especially early in his career on special teams. His familiarity with what we’re doing is certainly a good thing for us.”

    (On TE Dominique Byrd’s potential)

    “He’s got great ball skills. He’s got good enough size to play on the line as a tight end. He knows that it’s an absolute must that he improves his blocking ability. That’s why we spend more time on that area. We know he can be a good receiver. We work very hard on that as well, but he’s got to be a guy that can do both. His style is a little more like an off-the-line tight end that can flex out at times, but you don’t start there, you don’t start out there at the slot and move in. You have to start inside and then move out. That’s what we’re establishing right now with him.”

    (On Byrd’s blocking ability)

    “I think he has improved every day. I certainly know he blocked at USC but we’re asking him to master that task. It takes time, there’s a lot more to it. I always say that blocking, especially for the guys that play in spaces, is 90 percent desire and 10 percent technique. I think he is definitely buying into that and knows that that is going to be a key for his ability to get on the field for us.”

    (On the punting competition)

    “I thought Matt punted better today. He has been a little inconsistent. I put a lot of that on the fact that he has had the setback with the knee. I see that he is feeling better, not having the swelling. He punted very good when he came back after they had taken the fluid out of his knee. Then he had an OK, so-so night the afternoon, the other day. Then he came back today and did a better job. I think that’s what we are looking for, just to be more consistent there. He will work himself into it, he’s an old pro.”

    (On LB Dexter Coakley’s role on the team)

    “Similar to that of Mo . He’s an older veteran that you have to keep and eye on and make sure he is taken care of, but he knows how to take care of himself. One thing is, you can count on him. If we had to call on him to play a lot or start, because he has done it before and done it very well, we know we can count on him. That is what is really crucial when you do have a veteran that is a backup on the depth chart. You want him not just to be there as a good locker room guy, but you want him to be able to play at a high enough level where if you asked him to start he would go in there and you would win. He’s one of those guys.”

    (On Coakley’s potential as a special teams player)

    “Yeah. No doubt. Like I said, he is similar to what Mo is like offensively. He can kind of do it all. If you ask him to do it, he is going to do a great job and be real solid doing it.”

    (On WR Kevin Curtis’ progression as a kick returner)

    “It’s hard to say. It’s too early. We are really working the schemes now. He’s certainly one of the guys in the mix. We don’t want to take away from his ability to be the third receiver. So there is a fine line there. We are certainly going to look at him there. We will put the best kick returner back there come September 10. It’s pretty much too early to say whether he is going to be the guy or someone else right now.”

    (On combating the heat and how the team has been successful in doing so)

    “I think it’s the two-one schedule. It gives the guys time to replenish and get their weight back up. There is no way that if we were doing the two-a-day schedule in this heat, the old way where you come back two or three hours from now and get back out here, that guys are going to meet their requirements to get back on the field. That is why we do it . The teams in the southern states where its normally hotter than it is here, where it’s going to be consistently hot and humid down south, I think they are all going to that . There is just too much at risk with these guys. One of the things about being in the heat that has changed since the old days is that these players are a lot bigger and they lose a lot more water weight. A lot of these guys are massive and if they’re losing a lot of weight and not putting it back on, that is not being very smart. That is why a lot of us are going to this schedule.”

    (On the possibility of ever ending practice early because of the heat)

    “I think we keep an eye on it. Yesterday we added two breaks. Today we had a nice breeze it was going fine. We weren’t really dragging. It looked like we were maintaining well. The guys were hydrating. We factor into practice a three-minute break which allows them to get their bearings straight again. If it was real, real hot like it was yesterday afternoon, we are going to factor more breaks in there. I think the schedule we are on handles that. If you are doing two-a-days, you have to consider that.”

    (On how much offseason conditioning has helped in dealing with the heat and injuries)

    “No doubt. I’ve talked to Dana and Brad about it at length. We spent a lot of time running . They ran more. We pushed them. A big part of their conditioning program was to run and keep their weight down to get themselves ready for camp. We wanted to have them in shape and have their weight where we wanted to so we could eliminate soft tissue injuries, which is where we’re at so far, knock on wood. I really think that has as much to do with it as the schedule does, no doubt.”

    (On what Coach Linehan learned from the aftermath of Kory Stringer’s death)

    “We weren’t on this schedule but we were going to extremes for good reasons, obviously. You never know what is going to happen in Minnesota. You could have a 90-degree day and then, I think two years ago the average temperature during training camp was 62 degrees. We had fans and umbrellas out there and guys were out there in long sleeve shirts on for practice. I think you just have to pay attention to what the weather is like and make the proper adjustments and take the proper precautions with where the weather is.”

    (On DE Leonard Little’s condition)

    “He did not feel much better this morning. In fact, he might have felt a little worst. He basically has a stomach virus and we are keeping an eye on him. He took three IVs last night and we’ve got to get him back healthy.”

    (On the acquisition of RB Mo Williams)

    “I’m happy to get Mo. For what ever reason, things happen for a reason. They are great two-three backs. Both of them are real, real, real solid. You can win with them any day of the week.”

    (On Marques Hagans’ development at wide receiver)

    “That’s one thing Henry and I talked about at length last night. We really think he looks much more comfortable, more smooth. He understands the position and has his playbook down now, which helps. It’s a tough transition to move from quarterback or any position to another and he has made it real well. He is working very hard at becoming a returner. I think he has got a great shot there to make a big impression for this football team as a returner and as a receiver.”

    LT Orlando Pace

    August 2, 2006

    (On the competitiveness of camp thus far)

    “Camp is really competitive. I think guys are really excited about the fact that there’s an even playing field; some of the younger guys really respect that. Everyone came in on an even playing field, nobody worried about the past, so I think it’s really competitive out there.”

    (On the difference between this camp and previous ones)

    “I think it’s a little different. Coach Martz was here with Coach Vermeil, so that kind of flowed pretty good, but this one is a little different. It’s a lot more physical, we’re really emphasizing the run and we’re going after it pretty good.”

    (On whether or not he likes the more physical play)

    “Yeah I do. It’s an attitude you develop just being around here and having a fresh start. It’s one of those things you look forward to and respect.”

    (On whether or not a more physical style of play was a necessary change)

    “It’s tough to say, but I think with a new start guys come in with a new frame of mind knowing their going to work hard. It’s only going to make our team better and I think guys realize that, so they just go out and practice hard.”

    (On whether or not the change has left him feeling rejuvenated)

    “Yeah, I feel good. I keep saying this, but it’s actually true: just having a fresh start and being in a new environment, with new coaches, different schemes, new challenges (is rejuvenating). The older you get, if you’re in the same regime, you kind of get bored with it. But now, this year, it’s one of those things where you have new challenges and different coaches that want more out of you. You really have to push yourself and do it, which is something I really look forward to.”

    (On the arrival of LG Mark Setterstrom and RG Richie Incognito)

    “Richie is one of those guys that didn’t get to play last year, but he’s a physical guy and he’s playing well. The kid from Minnesota (Setterstrom) is a rookie, but he’s playing well. Obviously, he’s been coached well in college and he’s stepping in and I’m really shocked and surprised by the effort he’s given out.”

    (On the importance of Steven Jackson to the offense)

    “I think he’s really important. With Marshall having surgery and not being around this year, I think he’s really important. Coach has done a great job with getting him the ball in camp. He’s going to be really important to our success this year.”

    (On whether or not there is a sense amongst players that they need to step up in response to the firing of former head coach Mike Martz)

    “I don’t know. We didn’t have a great season last year. I’m not going to say our actual play on the field last year was why Coach Martz got fired because he wasn’t here for most of the season anyway because of his health. It’s one of those situations where it’s actually going to motivate us, being that we didn’t have a great season last year, to have a good season this year.”

    (On the new offense being more balanced than in previous seasons)

    “It’s a situation where we’re running the ball more than we ever have since I’ve been here. Just by the emphasis on the run, the technique, and the things like that that the coaches want from us, you can tell it’s a different regime.”

    (On whether or not he likes the greater emphasis on the run)

    “I like the balance. It doesn’t make a difference how we win the ball game, whether we run or pass. I like the balance where teams don’t come in the Edward Jones Dome and say ‘OK, they’re going to pass the ball 50 times a game.’ I really enjoy the balance of knowing that we can run and pass.”

    (On whether or not the offense can return to the dynamic unit it once was)

    “Yeah I think so. Coach Linehan is a great offensive mind and he’ll put us in the proper position to make plays and I think we can really get it rolling and going.”

    (On playing on the line with Incognito)

    “He’s a physical guy and a high energy guy. Sometimes I have to wind him down a little. I’m pretty low key and he’s a little high motored, so that’s a good combination for us.”

    (On whether or not Incognito is picking up the offense mentally)

    “He really is. He’s working hard everyday and having a veteran like myself beside him, we can kind of talk things out and start making things happen without even communicating. This is what camp is for: to understand the offense, to get in there and make the right calls and make the right plays.”

    (On whether or not his mind wanders a bit after the birth of his new son)

    “I’ve set this up pretty good. I planned this pretty good. I can sleep good at night and things like that. I’m here in camp at the hotel, so I planned that pretty good.”

  • #2
    Re: Head Coach Scott Linehan August 2, 2006

    great news, good to hear, What about steven at Kick Return? I know his rookie year he did not do so well, but I think he could have great success their. people already have a tuff time bringing him down as it is, Now going into his third year I think he could be a good Kick returner.


    • #3
      Re: Head Coach Scott Linehan August 2, 2006

      Originally posted by Return To Glory
      great news, good to hear, What about steven at Kick Return? I know his rookie year he did not do so well, but I think he could have great success their. people already have a tuff time bringing him down as it is, Now going into his third year I think he could be a good Kick returner.
      With the RB depth we have, if Jackson gets hurt we are in trouble. So I want him nowhere near special teams.


      • #4
        Re: Head Coach Scott Linehan August 2, 2006

        it would not be a wise move to have such a key player on the offense returning kicks, it just increases his chances of getting injured.


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          (On training camp thus far)

          “Unfortunately we had to practice our emergency ‘go inside routine’, so we didn’t get to use the lights. They look nice, though. We’ll see if they work. Just a little wrap up: We talked yesterday after the first practice. We were a little flat, but we picked it up a great deal as far as our intensity and attention to detail. Our players certainly understand what we are asking and respond. Nobody’s backed down a bit. You could see the heat wear them down a bit today, but nobody ever really turned it in, which is what you’re looking for at this time of the year. I was relatively pleased the last two practices with where we’re headed.”

          (On how players are dealing with the heat, in particular needing IVs)

          “It’s not unusual. The heat index has been worse; it was worse last week. We checked it and knew it was safe to be out here. We script in a break, but we actually took two and got some wet towels. I think Jimmy (Kennedy) went in with some cramping. It’s not unusual for big guys. He’s doing an excellent job. He has his weight right where we asked him to be. He’s got a little ways to go before the start of the season. We haven’t had that many IVs; we’ll probably have few today, though. An afternoon practice in the heat usually gets them pretty good.”

          (On the status of the number three spot on the depth chart at QB)

          “It’s still early. Obviously, Ryan (Fitzpatrick) has an edge because he’s been here with the terminology we’re using and had reps with the centers. Dave (Ragone) has had a couple of quarterback exchange issues, but that happens when a guy hasn’t been taking snaps from somebody, especially competitive snaps. Some of those things will hamper Dave over Fitz. We were talking about it as coaches and that’s going to be a really interesting battle because both of them bring certain levels of talent that you really like. The intangible qualities of Fitz are great, plus he has the ability to move and run. My background with Dave, I know what kind of a competitor he is and his talent will continue to show more and more as he gets more comfortable with what we’re doing. There are a lot of similar things we did with him in college, but the terminology is quite different for him. So basically, he’s learning everything new until he gets that down. It’ll be a lot of fun watching those two guys compete.”

          (On the effects of today’s practice on the TE battle)

          “I think the two rookies (Dominique Byrd and Jim Klopfenstein) have made a lot of improvement from the first practice. Both last night and today, I’ve noticed them more. We’re still light years away in the run game and if you want to be able to run the football in this league, your tight ends have to block. If your tight ends don’t block, you’re...
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          Head Coach Scott Linehan

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          (Opening remarks)

          “Just one thing, in season with the injury report being pretty self-explanatory and pretty detailed, what we will do since we are on an afternoon schedule on Wednesday’s and Thursday’s cause some of the stuff is going to come off the field, the accuracy of that thing could vary based on somebody not participating in practice for some reason the second half or first half, what we will do is release as soon as we get done with this and we get with Jim (Anderson). So you can get it after the press conference on Wednesday and Thursday and then Friday we will pretty much have an idea. But I don’t really need to give you the status or whatever on those guys; you will get the exact amount of playing that they were involved in practice. So I think that will alleviate some of the grey area on any injuries. With that said we have had two really good days of practice, Monday and Wednesday. Pretty much similar practice format. This has been a really good, long road getting to this point and I am real excited about opening on the road against a really great football team. It is going to be a heck of a challenge.”

          (On any changing on the injury report)

          “It is almost identical to Monday. I would say that would be accurate. We are pretty healthy, I think we are as healthy as we will be all year but that is the way it is. Right now I think everybody in the league feels the same way, maybe some a little different, I don’t know what is going on around the league other than our team and the one we are playing a little bit but we feel pretty comfortable about with the depth we have going into the game.”

          (On what Gary Stills brings to the special teams)

          “Well he is an intense special team’s player which means, he kind of brings attitude and energy to them. He is not the fastest cover guy on the team and there are reasons for that. You have different speed guys on any team but he brings that great amount of intensity at really key spots. He is a guy that is going to be on our four facets of our special teams when it come to our big four but he is going to bring instant creditability and leadership to a group that has some developing players. I mean we really like our developing special teams players but we really wanted to bring a veteran that has kind of made a name for himself that can influence our young players in a positive way towards special teams.”

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          “Oh yeah, I think right now our plans is going to be that he is going to be out there playing. A lot of the schemes and some of the things that were doing, that he has been doing are real similar.”

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          Head Coach Scott Linehan

          September 5, 2006

          (Opening Statement)

          “In transition to our weekly schedule, today was a Wednesday-type practice. We got a lot of work done. It’s a little bit of a change because we don’t have the bodies. A lot of guys went from not being scout team guys to figuring out they have to wear a lot of hats in one practice. We’ll get better. I didn’t think our look was as good as it needed to be, but I predict we’ll have a better look tomorrow in practice. Other than that, I feel that we got a lot of things accomplished. Obviously, there have been a couple of moves on our roster. Yesterday was a gameplan day, so I didn’t get a chance to talk to any of you. We released WR Marques Hagans yesterday. Hopefully he clears and we’re able to re-sign him today on the practice squad, but there’s a 24-hour period there that has to be done. Also, the signing of J.R. Reed who has been a real gifted kick returner in this league. (Reed is) coming back from an offseason injury a year ago. He missed last year and this year he went through the entire training camp with Philadelphia and was in their last cut, but came and worked out for us and did a nice job. A couple of different changes there, but we’re getting closer and closer to what will be our 53 going into Sunday’s game.”

          (On J.R. Reed being the immediate kick returner)

          “I think so. We’re working kick returns primarily tomorrow and then we’ll work it Thursday and Friday as well. Today was a punt return day. He’s acclimated himself a little bit with some of the other teams. He plays on some of the other teams as a gunner and some other things. He worked some of that today while he was learning the schemes that we’re going to run. He’ll start that way.”

          (On getting medical assurances that Reed could still perform)

          “We did a pretty extensive physical on it. It was an odd injury. He had some nerve damage to his leg and an area in his foot. He has a custom brace that allows him to have that foot the way it needs to be so he can run on it. He came in and did a very lengthy workout on it as well. He has every reason in the world not to pass the physical, but there’s something about his will, desire, and want to that impressed all of us. I know it was tough for Philadelphia and I think it’s to our advantage because we were looking for someone who had been able to do that. I think he’s certainly got it inside of him to overcome any questions we might have. He looked pretty good; he worked out pretty good for us.”

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          (On today’s scrimmage) “The best part about today is that, for the most part, everyone is going to come of the field healthy. That’s a big objective as you try to make improvements as a team. We definitely did make improvements. There are some things we need to fix. I think our first units on both sides of the ball did some pretty good things. We’ve got to continue to build on the depth of this team. As you saw, we worked a lot with our second and third groups and some people showed up in there. So, we’ve got to continue to work on the depth as we prepare for our four preseason games, with the first one being the most important.”

          (On RBs Antoine Bagwell and John David Washington) “They’re coming along. They’ve got the typical rookie ups and downs, free agent-type things. They’ve got a couple things they do very well but they’ve got some other limitations that they’ve got to continue to work on. First of all, it’s playing at this level and [getting used to] the speed of this game. I think both of them have improved there and both of them are working very hard. I’m very happy with their attitude, for sure.”

          (On CB Tye Hill being helped off the field) “He had a slight sprain. It happened in the Senior Bowl, he [Hill] said. It was a slight sprain of the AC joint but it wasn’t too bad. He came back in, which was a good sign. Those things are painful, but if you have a bad one they’re real painful and you can’t even move. I think he got it hit right on that AC joint.”

          (On S Jerome Carter being helped off the field) “I think he got the wind knocked out of him. Sometimes when you get that knocked out of you it’s almost like you’re knocked out for a while, until you catch your breath. He’s just fine.”

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        • RamWraith
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          The Quote Sheet - Saturday

          Head Coach Scott Linehan

          (Opening Statement) “We’re in September, you can tell. The weather’s
          changed a bit. I’m sure we’re due some warmer days still, I haven’t
          been through a calendar year in St. Louis, but it’s a pretty nice day.
          Down to 53, so if you have any questions on that certainly ask me.
          Some tough decisions. Probably since my time here, that was probably
          my toughest night. They were all tough, but last night, went round and
          round on a couple, but you’ve got to make decisions, live with them and
          move on. I’m very happy with the group we have. I think we’ve got a
          very good roster. I’m pleased with the fact that we’re very healthy
          going into the first game. Now we’ve just got to go and put out a
          great effort here starting September 10th.”

          (On why QB Ryan Fitzpatrick was chosen over QB Dave Ragone) “I think
          Fitz [Patrick] having some extra time certainly gave him an advantage.
          He played well in practice and most of the preseason. I don’t think
          either one had their best night Thursday night, but it’s like I told
          Dave this morning when I met with him. Not one game made the decision
          for me or for anybody. He worked an uphill battle, and improved, and
          did well, and better every game he played until the last one. I said
          ‘You should have no regrets.’ He’ll have feelers from other people.
          He’s certainly someone who’s been here that is now familiar with what
          we’re doing, so I told him I wouldn’t forget about him. I go a long
          way back with him now and that was a tough one. I’ve done it…I left
          before his senior year when I was coaching him in college, and then I
          had to talk to him about this deal today, which was certainly not

          (On depth being the reason CB DeJuan Groce was cut) “No question. We’
          ve added some real quality depth to our secondary. We needed to. The
          battles were very good there. DeJuan did a nice job for us. I think
          he had an interception early in the preseason, I think I might have
          even been the Indianapolis game, but he did a nice job for us. Had a
          little set back with the hamstring injury, and that held him back
          some. It didn’t allow him to stay in that mode he was in as far as
          competing, but that was another tough one. It hampered him being able
          to help possibly making the team as a specialist because he was never
          100 percent healthy after he got that hamstring injury in training

          (On if the hamstring injury was what kept Groce out) “The hip flexor,
          and then his hamstring was bothering him this last week, so he was
          having some problems with both. He went as much as he could but it
          -09-03-2006, 12:17 PM