There were three distinctive themes out of Scott Shafer if you braved the snow to hear Scott Shafer talk about the offense: tempo, passion and decision making.
Let's hit the tempo first. This has been a topic of discussion all offseason as the new ten second rule has stirred people the wrong way. "Our coaches have really slimmed things down and put together a package I'm really excited to watch," opened Shafer. This was a constant theme when discussing putting together an up tempo offense: slimming the playbook and simplifying formations. "We always want to push the tempo, push the envelope by being simple yet complex," said Offensive Coordinator George McDonald. "When we say open it up we want to be great at what we do and run it as fast as we can."
The other hot topic of conversation was surrounding the new coaching hires. There was a lot of beating around the bush that Shafer may have reached down in the ranks for these guys, but Coach answered it succinctly. "They were the two best guys on the market, in my opinion." The ensuing comments really shed light on what Shafer is trying to do as a program builder and who he is as a person.
"It's important that you get guys of like value systems," said the coach. "There's also something to be said about hiring head coaches, especially head coaches where you do everything. I think the love of the game, appreciate of the game and passion for the game when you're coaching at a school where the coaches line the field and throw grass seed down, there's something about their passion that's near and dear to my heart.
If that isn't Scott Shafer in a nutshell, I don't know what is. Shafer continued to elaborate on the passion the new coaches brought to the table along with great experience that comes from coaching the game at any level. It's apparent now has HIS guys in place, always a big factor when looking at recruiting moving forward.
The final dominant piece of conversation was surrounding the quarterback position. Much like last Spring, there is a clear cut favorite in camp. Unlike last year, Terrell Hunt has a previous season's worth of experience to ensure the job is his to lose. "We didn't want to put too much on his plate because he was fighting to just play," said Shafer. "But I want to see increased decision making and increased leadership."
A final note: Yes, Rob Trudo is set to play center. According to Shafer, he was ready last year to step into to Mackey's shoes and play and has been working the position since being recruited.