Maryland releases revamped 2020 football schedule

By José Umaña/The Sports Pulse Contributor

Photos by Michael R. Smith/The Sports Pulse

WASHINGTON – In a newly released and revamped schedule, the University of Maryland football team will face five teams that finished last season in the AP Top 25 poll this upcoming season.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Big Ten Conference switched to a 10-game conference-only schedule to limit travel.

The Terrapins will open the season on the road against No. 15 Iowa on Sept. before coming back home to Maryland Stadium to take on Michigan on Sept. 12.

Following a home game against Rutgers, Maryland will travel to Evanston, Illinois, for the first time since joining the Big Ten Conference to play Northwestern on Sept. 26 before returning home to face No. 11 Wisconsin on Oct. 3.

After a bye week, Maryland will play two consecutive road games: against rivals No. 9 Penn State on Oct. 17 and Indiana on Oct. 24.

After hosting last season’s Big Ten Conference Champions No. 3 Ohio State on Oct. 31, the Terrapins will face No. 18 Michigan at Ann Arbor in their final road game on Nov. 7.

After the Terps second bye week, Maryland will close out its regular season against No. 10 Minnesota on Nov. 21.

College Park, MD: September 22, 2018: Maryland Terrapins wide receiver DJ Turner (1) on his way to the end zone for a 54-yard touchdown reception during an NCAA football game played at Capital One Field at Maryland Stadium in College Park, MD. Photo by Michael R. Smith/The Sports Pulse

Maryland will follow guidance from the Prince George’s County Health Department and have no fans in attendance to start the season. According to a university fan guide, when fans return, the state’s masks order will be in effect, and mobile ticketing will be in full effect.

Kickoff times and broadcast information for each game will be released at a later date.

The Big Ten said the start dates for other fall sports, including cross country, field hockey, soccer and women’s volleyball have been postponed until Sept. 5. Those sports will also operate in a conference-only schedule.

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Washington’s NFL team adopts temporary name: ‘Washington Football Team’

By The Sports Pulse Staff
Courtesy Photos: Washington Football Team

The football team formally known as the Washington Redskins will be using a new moniker this upcoming season: Washington Football Team.

The temporary naming will give Washington more time to complete a renaming process while officially retiring the formal name. Last week, the team formally announced the decision to the retire the Redskins nickname.

“We encourage fans, media and all other parties to use ‘Washington Football Team’ immediately,” the team said in a press release. “The Redskins name and logo will officially be retired by the start of the 2020 season.”

Much of its original aesthetic will stay under the Football Team branding, including its burgundy and gold colors. Jersey details include removing the former “Redskins” name to add Washington. Each player’s jersey numbers will be displayed on their team helmets.

On the home field at FedExField, the team’s retired logo will be replaced with the NFL shield. The endzones will be painted yellow with Washington spelled out across it in burgundy.

The press release also said the club would also be reaching out for alumni, fan, community, and sponsor input in the new name.

Washington Football Team’s Chase Young will be playing his first NFL names under a new jersey and helmet with his number on display. (Courtesy: Washington Football Team)

“To date, we have been pleased to see so many people putting forward their vision of what the new name and design should be on their social media channels, and we look forward to including their feedback as this process progresses,” the team said.

In the upcoming days, the team will begin retiring all Redskins branding on team properties at FedExField, Redskins Park or other physical and digital websites.

Fans will be able to purchase new team merchandise under the new Washington Football Team branding on Fanatics and NFL Shop in the coming days.

The team will debut their home uniforms in their Week 1 game against the Philadelphia Eagles and away uniforms during Week 2 against the Arizona Cardinals.

Meanwhile, players officially began reporting for training camp Friday with rookies, quarterbacks and players returning from Injured Reserve arriving to Virginia to get tested for COVID-19.

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DeMatha football standout Greg Penn III commits to LSU

By Demetrius Dillard/The Sports Pulse Contributor

Four-star linebacker will take his talents to SEC football powerhouse 

BALTIMORE — DeMatha linebacker Greg Penn III, a four-star recruit and highly touted prospect of prominent college football programs, announced his commitment to Louisiana State University (LSU) on Sunday afternoon.

The rising senior recently narrowed his school list down to six: LSU, Maryland, South Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee, and Texas A&M. Of those six, he was expected to commit to either LSU or South Carolina. 

On July 6, Penn posted on Twitter that he would publicly decide on July 12, leaving hundreds in anticipation of the announcement.

In a three-and-a-half-minute video posted to Penn’s Instagram page, he announced his commitment to the 2020 NCAA football championship program.

“First and foremost, I would like to thank God for the gifts that he has provided both on and off the football field. I also want to thank the many coaches and universities for recognizing my talents,” said Penn, who helped the Stags to a 7-4 record in 2019.

“Through this journey, my family has been my biggest fan…they are my reason why. I would like to thank my dad for encouraging me to strive for greatness, academically and athletically. I am thankful for my current and former coaches, as well as my trainers for believing in me.

“A special thanks to my DeMatha brothers, the DeMatha administration, and teachers who helped me to be the best version of myself. To whom much is given, much is expected. Therefore, I will be taking my gifts to the Louisiana State University.”

Penn, a tenacious pass rusher with a 6-foot-1, 225-pound frame, is regarded as a good fit for LSU’s defensive scheme. Past conversations and encounters between LSU defensive coordinator Bo Pelini and Penn likely played a large part in the prospect’s decision. 

“They have a great track record of getting linebackers to the league,” Penn said according to a rivals.com report. “Coach Pelini and I really have a great relationship. Over the last couple of months, our relationship has really gone to the next level and I just feel comfortable there. I could really just see myself playing in that stadium when I went to that Florida game. I really got chills and I knew that’s where I wanted to go.”

Penn is the latest addition in LSU’s prolific 2020 recruiting class, many of whom are nationally ranked defensive standouts at their respective high school programs. 

A 24/7 Sports report noted Penn’s characterization of LSU as LBU (‘linebacker university’), a reference to the school’s pipeline of linebackers into the NFL over recent years. Penn hopes to join the class of elite DeMatha athletes to make his mark on the collegiate level when he transitions to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in 2021.

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Gonzaga star Caleb Williams announces college decision on Fourth of July

By Demetrius Dillard/The Sports Pulse Contributor

Photo by Daniel Kucin Jr./The Sports Pulse

WASHINGTON — Gonzaga College High School’s Caleb Williams, widely regarded as one of the nation’s top prospects in football, announced his commitment to the University of Oklahoma on Saturday evening.

The five-star quarterback, ranked No. 4 overall in the class of 2021 by 247Sports and No. 1 overall as a dual-threat quarterback by ESPN, had more than 20 offers, including Alabama, Maryland, Clemson, LSU and Florida State. The 6-foot-2, 210-pounder made the announcement via Twitter and on a live broadcast of CBS Sports HQ.

“With the past three quarterbacks, I honestly felt like it was for me…with what Coach [Lincoln] Riley has been able to do, I kinda just want to learn and hopefully get to the next level,” Williams said in an interview with CBS Sports.

“I got a year [left] here [at Gonzaga], but I’m ready to go and gain the trust of my teammates, earn a starting spot and hopefully help them get to a national championship.”

Over the past few seasons, OU has emerged as a program that has produced high-caliber quarterbacks. Two of the last three Heisman Trophy winners – Baker Mayfield in 2017 and Kyler Murray in 2018 – played for the Sooners. Jalen Hurts, a recent second-round draft pick to the Philadelphia Eagles, was a Heisman runner-up in 2019.

Washington Redskins running back Adrian Peterson had a few words of acknowledgment for Williams, the rising senior at the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference (WCAC) football powerhouse in Northwest D.C.

“What’s up, Caleb? It’s all about making good choices. Welcome to the family, and I wish you nothing but the best. Boomer Sooner,” said Peterson, a former Oklahoma standout.

In addition to being named the MVP of the 2020 Elite 11 Finals for the nation’s top high school quarterbacks, Williams registered 1,770 passing yards for 19 passing touchdowns and 838 yards on the ground for 18 rushing touchdowns in the 2019 season. 

One of the unforgettable moments of Williams’ prolific career was a last-second heave into the end zone to win the 2018 WCAC title game over DeMatha as a sophomore.

Oklahoma has already landed 11 high-profile prospects, receiver Mario Williams, tight end Ethan Downs and cornerback Latrell McCutchin, as the Big 12 program prepares for the 2020 season.

The latest member of OU’s class of 2021 recruiting class, Williams has been esteemed as “the most talented quarterback prospect to come from the Mid-Atlantic region in a decade” and “projects as a multi-year impact starter at the Power Five level with the upside to first round if not top 10 pick in the NFL Draft” according to an assessment by 247Sports’ Charles Power.

Gonzaga head coach Randy Trivers weighed in on Williams making the jump to the next level.

“Caleb Williams is rare talent,” Trivers said. “His excellence is most prominent when a competitive challenge arises. Oklahoma is fortunate to get this Eagle to eventually wear the Sooner uniform.”

UMD outlines gradual, phased launch for safe return of student-athletes

By The Sports Pulse Staff

COLLEGE PARK – Maryland Athletics announced today details for a gradual, phased return to campus for student-athletes and staff.

Recently, the state of Maryland and Prince George’s County announced phased reopening of certain activities, which now allows Maryland Athletics to begin Phase 1 activities, focused on maintaining the health, safety, and well-being of student-athletes and staff.

These activities are restricted to the resumption of individual, voluntary workouts by football student-athletes only, supervised by a select number of sports medicine staff. Football student-athletes are permitted to return to campus on June 8 for pre-participation medical screenings. Voluntary, individual workouts may begin June 15.

“Our gradual, phased approach prioritizes the health and well-being of our student-athletes, coaches and staff,” said Damon Evans, Director of Athletics. “We remain optimistic about the return of fall sports, and this plan will serve as our cautious and considered roadmap to the resumption of athletic competition.”

Phase 1 includes significant new measures to ensure the health, safety and well-being of student-athletes and staff:

  • Prior to the return of student-athletes and staff, all facilities will be prepared with deep cleaning, disinfection, and engineered physical distancing.
  • Prior to returning to campus, student-athletes must self-report to be symptom-free for at least 14 days prior to return and have had no known contacts with any positive COVID-19 case.
  • Prior to the resumption of any athletic activities, student-athletes will be subject to a COVID-19 diagnostic test, a complete physical examination and mental health screening. 
  • Each student-athlete will undergo a complete daily COVID-19 wellness check prior to entering athletic facilities at a designated checkpoint. This screening will include, but not be limited to completion of a symptom questionnaire and a temperature check.
  • Before beginning voluntary workouts, each student-athlete will participate in educational activities to review the recommended COVID-19 prevention best practices and give them an opportunity to ask questions regarding the current situation and hear others’ questions.
  • All voluntary individual workouts will be held outside under supervision.  The usage of indoor facilities, including weight rooms, locker rooms, lounges, meeting rooms, and dining halls will be restricted during Phase 1. 
  • Each student-athlete and staff member will be provided two face-coverings, but may also bring their own personal face-coverings. Everyone will be required to wear a face-covering as directed. Physical distancing will be enforced and proper hygiene, including frequent handwashing and the use of hand sanitizers, will be strongly encouraged.
  • Strict staff-to-student-athlete ratios will be enforced for all activities. 
  • Only a select number of staff may return to campus during Phase 1, limited to sports medicine, strength, and facilities personnel needed to facilitate the individual, voluntary workouts.
  • All participation in the individual training permitted during Phase 1 is voluntary. No student-athlete will be required to be on-campus for these voluntary workouts.
  • Any student-athlete concerned about their health may opt-out of any training, practice, and competition and this will not affect his or her scholarship status.

Maryland Athletics’ gradual, phased approach has been developed in close cooperation with State and County guidelines, shaped by NCAA and Big Ten Conference protocols, and authored by University sports medicine staff. The plan is subject to change as health conditions and guidance from health officials continues to evolve.

University of Maryland Football student-athletes are permitted to return to campus on June 8 for pre-participation medical screenings. Voluntary, individual workouts may begin June 15. Photo by Michael Smith/The Sports Pulse

“We have developed a holistic approach to the health and safety of student-athletes for the Maryland Athletics program,” said Dr. Yvette Rooks, Head Team Physician and Assistant Director of University Health Center for Sports Medicine. “This approach includes diagnostic screening for COVID-19 which will include antibody screening, daily symptom checks, and educational training and reflects our absolute focus on the physical and mental well-being of the student-athletes.”

Subsequent phases of more permissible activities, indoor training, larger groups and additional teams are being developed. There is no predetermined timetable for the advancement through phases as it will be determined by state, county, and university health officials, and implemented only when it is deemed safe to do so.

Del Rio speaks about Young, the new look defense and return of the ice cream man uniforms?

Washington Redskins Defensive Coordinator Jack Del Rio Q+A

By The Sports Pulse

On what he’s seen out of DE Chase Young in the virtual meetings: 

“Well, it’s obviously a difficult time to kind of approach this. You’re excited to get your hands on your rookie class and really for us, as a first-time staff, get in and get working with all of our players. So we’ve not been able to do that in person, but we’ve done a great job, I think, of going through the meetings and going through the install and Chase has been doing what he’s supposed to be doing. He’s been paying attention; he’s been learning the system. For me, I just can’t wait to get going with him, but he’s doing all that he can right now as a member of our defensive line, a member of our Washington Redskins team. I think the sky’s the limit for him in terms of what he’ll be able to bring to us. We obviously have big designs, we think he’s a really good player, and we’re looking forward to getting him involved.”

On if Young can fit the mold of being a premier pass rusher:

“No, we haven’t seen him yet but I’ve watched enough tape. He’s going to be a real good player for us. And yeah, I’ve been very fortunate. My first year as a defensive coordinator at Carolina [Panthers], we had [Former DE] Julius Peppers. Obviously I go to Denver [Broncos] and we have [OLB] Von Miller. And then I’m in Oakland [Raiders] and we have [OLB] Khalil Mack. So when you have special players like that, very impactful players. In particular, if they’re about doing it the right way and everything that we’ve gathered in terms of trying to make the decision to take him where we did indicates that he’s a guy that loves football, that’s going to be a great teammate for us.”

On how the game planning aspect can change if Young becomes an elite player:

“Well I think the biggest thing is that he’s still just one player. But he’s one player that offenses have to deal with. It has an opportunity to create not only disruption and a problem in terms of how the offense feels with him, but also creates opportunities for others. It can in effect kind of raise the level of play throughout the defense. Obviously rush and coverage has to go together, and so you’ll hear me talk about that throughout the year. It’s not about just rush, it’s about rush and coverage and them going hand-in-hand. You’re going to need coverage to hold up so that when our defensive line does win, they can get there. You can have the best rush in the world but if you don’t have some coverage and make the quarterback hold it, it’s not going to be positive for you. They go hand-in-hand, but I do believe he can be impactful for us.”

On DE Ryan Anderson:

“We’re excited about him getting more opportunities. Looking at the film, he did some nice things. So yeah, we’re looking forward to getting Ryan involved. I agree with coach, we kind of look at it the same way. We think we have some depth in that group, and we’re going to try and get everyone involved. Obviously there will be some fierce competition for playing time and roles once we get started in camp.”

On LB Reuben Foster:

“I think he’s done a good job of trying to be involved in the meetings and we’ve approached it as though he’ll be there. Then we’ll see whether we get the clearance or not for him to actually go. In terms of the mental approach and in terms of his participation in the meetings, being up to date with the install, getting the coaching and all of that, he’s been on point with that. The part we can’t impact right now, is where he’s at with his rehab and whether he gets the clearance to go. But he’s working hard, doing all the things that he can with us in the virtual meetings and absorbing all of the information about what we’re going to expect out of him as a linebacker.”

On what he has stressed to the team in virtual meetings about improving communication:

“I mean a lot of little things. Part of it is really understanding the principles of the defense so that you can react as the offense deploys. The communication is huge. I think the understanding of what we’re going to do is huge. Then you have time when you’re merging and your alignment as the offense deploys, you’re able to recognize and get clues and share information pre-snap in terms of how you want to adjust and things. I think all of those factors are the things that we work on, that allow us to then be a defensive that does combine rush and coverage and is effective in getting quarterbacks off the field in 3rd down, and getting them into 3rd and long and then getting them off the field. That’s exactly what we’re talking about, being on the same page, making sure communication is sharp.”

On how he views the linebacking room and the traits he looks for in a linebacker:

“I think what we have isan interesting mix. I am excited to get them on the field and let them compete. We have a blend. We have some older guys. Obviously adding TD [LB] Thomas Davis and you mash that up with a guy like [LB] Cole [Holcomb] who played last year, was thrust into the lineup and got some valuable experience and showed some real speed and linebacking ability. Obviously, we added KPL [LB Kevin Pierre-Louis] as a free agent and he is flying under the radar, no one really talks about him. We are excited about letting him go and seeing what he can do. We know he is a dominant special teams player. When he was able to play, he played very well last year in Chicago. We are excited to see them all compete. Obviously, having [LB Jon] Bostic back and [LB] Shaun Dion Hamilton and those guys competing in the middle. There is a lot of competition throughout the roster. [LB] Khaleke [Hudson] we added in the draft. We have a group that is going to be very competitive fighting for playing time and fighting for roles. We will let that play out. I like the way they have been working with Linebackers Coach Steve Russ. He has done a great job in the meetings. Guys are very attentive and are working hard in understanding exactly how they are going to do things. They are going to be a key part of us when we talk about tying rushing coverage, the ability to fit the run, the linebackers are essential to that. We are going to count on them playing well for us.”

On the changes in the secondary and what his philosophy is going to be with the back end of the defense:

“First of all, I think [Vice President of Player Personnel] Kyle [Smith] and Coach Rivera have done a great job of giving us a chance. We looked at a lot of needs when we got here and talked about the wish list of approaching and filling holes on defense, giving us a chance to be competitive. I think we have done a really good job and they have done a really good job of giving us some pieces to compete with that will help us be successful in the fall. A large part of that happened on the defensive side and in the back seven. I talked about some of the linebackers just now in the back end. We were able to add corners in [Ronald] Darby and [Kendall] Fuller. Jimmy Moreland coming back and [Fabian] Moreau coming back. We have some guys that will be competing there as well. It will be a very competitive situation with guys in a competitive role. We added a safety in Sean Davis and we added to a group of safeties that were pretty productive players. Obviously you have Landon [Collins], [Deshazor] Everett and [Troy] Apke. We feel like we have a good group that is going to be very competitive. Right now, we are just trying to make sure we get everyone on the same page so we can play fast.”

On the best way to use CB Kendall Fuller:

“I think really, it just depends on how it fits and how it works when we get out there on the field. We have designs, obviously, to be flexible on how we approach it whether it is man-zones or what type of zones, true zones, we will determine that with the guys when we start playing and we start competing. Obviously, right now we are building the library and having guys understand our system. When we get a chance to actually work with them and compete against the offense to go through training camp and what not, then we will be able to see how far we can take it. For a guy like Fuller, he is obviously very versatile. He has played inside, outside, he has played all over the field. He was a versatile and valuable get for us and we are excited to have him.”

On how he has addressed the struggles with communication last year:

“We talked about that and there are a few things I would like to say, one being we want to spend a lot less time looking back and a lot more time looking forward. A big part of playing good defense is the ability to communicate and the ability to gather information pre snap and make any adjustments that you need to. That is all part of playing fast and being sound and solid. We are working hard at that. That was one of the issues that is apparent when you look at tape. I also believe this – in 2020, everyone here on defense, all the players and all the coaches, we all put our signature on what you see and how we perform. We are all responsible. I don’t think you could put it on any one person, I think it is a collective effort and I do believe it is very, very important and we will be stressing that from day one.”

On being able to coach with his son Luke:

“We are on opposite sides of the ball for sure. It is awesome that he is getting this opportunity. Obviously, he is excited for it. He has been around football his entire life. He loves ball and he has competed at the highest levels in college. It is awesome to have your son get a shot at something that he is passionate about. I am looking forward to that part. He is on the offensive side, so we are going to be doing some competing.”

On if there is one quality or trait that stands out to him that a defense must have:

“I think you have to be tough. The toughness part is not just physical. A large part of that is mental and that is where we are going to see a lot of growth. Defenses that play fast and are able to bounce back when they are discouraged or if they don’t get discouraged or a big play that you recognize. These are talented people in the NFL. They are going to make some plays from time to time. You have to be able to keep going and go to the next play. We will work hard at that in terms of mentally being tough and physically being able to tackle people. Typically, for me, when you look at defenses around the league when you are giving up explosive plays and getting hit with big chunk plays and giving up a lot of those, then you are typically not going to have a good unit. How do you minimize that? It really comes down to leverage and tackling. Those are some fundamentals that I believe in that we will be getting into. Then in terms of approach and scheme, there are a lot of different ways to do it. Where I have tried to do it wherever I have gone is take a look at what they have been exposed to and what experiences does the staff have. Then, we come up with what we are. It has been no different putting this defense together. I have done it everywhere I have been. You kind of grow that way and it is not like I come in throw a playbook down and say let’s go. It is a lot more involved and collaborative.”

On the transition to the 4-3 defense:

“Yeah it will be good. First of all, you have to understand we’re talking about how we deploy in base defense and we’re talking about base defense in today’s NFL, which is about a third of the game. Really you’re in sub packages, some form of sub packages where you’re playing against three wide [receivers] or more and you’re playing against that roughly 65-70 percent of that time. So we’re talking about a small percentage of the plays, but our overall approach is going to be more where they’ve been doing a lot of two-gapping and a lot of playing both sides of a blocker – we’re going to ask our guys to be more penetrating and disruptive. Our linebackers and secondary will understand how to fit off of that, so they’re going to have a lot more freedom in terms of being able to generate the beginning of a pass rush while we’re playing the run. It is kind of an aggressive approach to playing the run on the way to the quarterback and I think our guys are going to really like it.”

On Coach Rivera wanting a former head coach on his staff and if he has talked with Coach Rivera extensively about the defense and their shared vision:

“First of all, the head coach is involved in a lot of work. I think for him to surround himself with really capable people and guys that have been there, I did the same. I think it is wise to do so. I think it gives you an opportunity to delegate more and then he has asked for shared conversations for us to be able to bounce ideas and so I am doing that and I will continue to do that. Wherever I can help him and in any way that I can help him, I will do so. I think it is going to be a great working relationship. I have a lot of respect for Ron. We really have come along similar paths. We come off the West Coast, he was at Cal and I was at USC and we go in and have a long career and we both have careers as head coaches and defense and all that. Our roots go way back and I look forward to helping him in any way.”

On DE Ryan Kerrigan and balancing all the talent on the defensive line:

“You’re getting right to the part that is not so comfortable. You’re fired up for having all of these guys, but then they can’t all go on the field at the same time. So that is part of it, like being able to deal with that aspect of it, having guys understand, ‘Hey, you’re not going to play all the time.’ Or, ‘You’re not the starter.’ Those are things to me, that always get settled best with competition and once guys earn what they’ve earned I think everybody in the room pretty much understands that. But, that is definitely one of the things that I’m going to have to navigate. It is kind of like a basketball team not having enough balls to go around and you have a bunch of stars. But, it is good to have good players and we have good players in our front, guys that were well thought of coming out of the Draft and they were taken high and we should expect them to be really good players for us and be a really solid foundation for us to build around and that’s how we’re going to approach it.”

On if the competition at each position is emphasized in year one with a new staff or if that is a theme that needs to be carried over to sustain a successful program:

“I think the newness gives you a chance to give everybody a fresh start for sure and so that definitely comes in to play. I think the other part is that both Ron and I have been in this league for over 30 years, playing and coaching and I think we both understand the importance of competition. I know in my time as a head coach there were several times where we had a young player come into camp who was not highly thought of who all of a sudden everyday just competed his tail off and ended up making the team and created a role for himself. So, to me when you’ve seen enough examples of that you understand that what it comes down to is competition and ultimately we’re going to put a squad together and go compete on Sunday’s. So it is all about competition and that is really what the league is all about, you have to perform, it is a performance based business, you have to perform and those who perform the best play the most.”

On the players feeling refreshed working with the new staff:

“It is not surprising. There is a freshness to it, there is a newness to it, there is an opportunity, there is excitement and to me it is just about going out and taking advantage of your opportunities. The biggest thing we want to do is make sure we give an opportunity for each guy that is invited to our camp to come in and show us what he’s got and show us how he can help us and then if somebody is capable of doing something then we have to take advantage of that as coaches and make sure we put him in the right place where they can be productive. The other part about coaching is kind of keep guys out of positions that they’re not good at. It is like accentuate the positives and try and keep your guys out of situations that they are not good in and put them in more of the situations that they are good at. It has been a basic approach, but a fruitful one over the years.”

On his Twitter account and his approach to social media:

“I have fun. I’m not on all the time. I’ll come on, I’ll get off, I’ll pop in sometimes and lay something out there. I don’t really have an approach. I’m just enjoying and I like to follow and read people and gather information and just participate. My kids try and keep me in check. Don’t get their dad in trouble, so they don’t want me to go too far. But, I just try and have fun with it and when it gets uncomfortable or when it goes places I don’t want to go, I just get off.”

On how the players have stood out to him during the virtual meetings so far:

“There are just certain things that stand out, and you’re not really looking for it. Like I popped in here right at the buzzer, right? I went right in at 10 eastern time. A guy like [DT] Jonathan Allen, he’s on there 15 minutes before every meeting. He’s always early. Everybody has their own approach, and you kind of see personalities even through virtual meetings. I think I’ve been aware of some of those things. But in terms of really making your impression, I think it’s going to really come down to getting in pads and getting out on the grass and going to work.”

On if he views the game any differently after working at ESPN:

“One thing I was able to do was study the whole league and just kind of watch ball. And then having an informed opinion about it. That was beneficial, I think. The other thing, I have a real clear understanding of the work you all do and a greater appreciation for the media side of it, bringing the news and bringing truth to the fans. Not that I won’t get irritated if, let’s say you, write an article ripping me (laughs). I’m still going to be irritated by it. The reality is that there’s a business, you’re a conduit to it, to the public. I have a greater appreciation for that and the work that goes into being good at it. I spent a lot of time making sure my opinions were legit. That I had put film study behind it. That I talked to other people in the business so that I understood what I was talking about. So I have a greater appreciation for those who do it well.”

On his take on the all white uniforms for Week 1:

“No. Again, I wouldn’t read too much into it. It just sounded good. I thought I’d say ‘yes, sounds good Week 1.’ I’ll tell you what, if Coach Rivera or Mr. Snyder, if they want to know my opinion, they already know I’m in favor of white Week 1. But other than that, I’m going to leave it up to them (laughs).”