Josh Heupel tight-lipped on quarterback plans
Is Dillon Gabriel starting? Is Brandon Wimbush returning to action? Will Darriel Mack Jr., now fully cleared, get on the field for the first time this season? Josh Heupel was asked all of those questions on Thursday. Here's a Cliff's: We'll find out on Saturday.
Here's everything Heupel had to say.
How have the preparations been for this weekend's game?
"Been great. Guys have been focused and they're excited about this one. They're excited play every Saturday. We're anticipating a great atmosphere inside the stadium and guys will be ready to play."
Do you look at the forecast, it looks like it might rain. How does that affect what you're trying to do?
"You have no idea what's going to happen weather wise. We were dealing with the hurricane. Our guys really, and coaching staff too, just kind of take it day by day. Whatever we face, we'll be ready to take on."
Is your starter at quarterback this week to be decided still?
"Yeah. Still to be decided."
Do you plan to play all three quarterbacks?
"Don't know yet."
How do you balance what's best for this week or what's best for three weeks from now?
"You balance it by what's best for this football team this Saturday to give yourselves a chance to go play our best football and get a win."
Can you talk about Darriel Mack's progress?
"He's been great. I think he's extremely comfortable in what we're doing. He's in really good shape. He's kind of been building it, after maybe the first 10 days of training camp, he started getting himself in shape. He was able to start moving around a little bit and been throwing with wideouts here for a couple weeks. Been really accurate and got a great understanding of what we're doing.
Would you say he is he's where he was before?
"Yeah, I think all the guys are ready to go play at their highest level."
Whoever plays a quarterback on Saturday, what kind of challenge will they face from the Stanford defense?
"They're physical up front in their front seven. The style of play, I think it's important in this game that you take advantage of your opportunities and maximize the plays that you have. That's critical for us offensively. It's critical for our o-line and our skill players and certainly the guy behind center too."
Brandon Wimbush is back to full strength?
What can you say about the possible match between Stanford cornerback Paulson Adebo and Gabe Davis?
"He's a special player. You look at him on tape, he's got every physical tool that you want. I think that's why a lot of people have him rated as a high draft pick. He's got the ability to get in and out of his breaks, really good during his transition. He's able to get his hands on a lot of footballs. So it'll be a highly contested battle. I anticipate that they'll play him on Gabe most of the day."
I know it's about going 1-0 and you treat every game the same, but it's a Power Five opponent. Does the level of focus heighten at all?
"I really don't think so. I think we're pretty consistent in the way we approach every week. I think it's really critical that you do that inside of your program. Our players understand that this is a big game. Everyone is. You only get one opportunity, one 60 minute clock to go out and play your best and find a way to win. Our guys been great in the preparation. We've been really the same routine all week long and our guys will be ready to play."
I get you only get one per season. But it's Stanford at home in the Bounce House. Is there an extra special factor?
"It's gonna be an electric atmosphere. Our fan base is excited to have these guys coming into our stadium. Our players are too and they'll be ready to go play."
What do you know about Stanford coach David Shaw?
"I haven't had any interaction with him. Just from the outside in, he's done a fantastic job with that program for a long time. I respect the way that their program goes about it, but the way their kids play too."
The defense has been successful getting behind the line of scrimmage. Going against the Stanford offensive line, is this a different test?
"Different in that they use different personnel groupings maybe than what we've seen here the first couple of weeks. They'll get heavier with more tight ends on the field. But at the end of the day, the style may be a little bit different. It comes down to us playing at a really, really high level, communicating, being in our gaps, playing with great technique and playing with great effort. And I think our kids will be ready to go do that."
Is this a game of contrasting style? You guys want to pick up the tempo and they want to slow you down?
"It is two different styles, absolutely. Two different approaches to offensive football. Absolutely."
When you evaluate depth, how do you feel like you stack up against a team like Stanford?
"The kids we're going to put out there, we feel really confident in. I've said it since first day of training camp. You prove you're going to play at a championship level and then it's our job to find a role and get you on the football field. The guys who are going to step out there are doing that."