Tough day for the defense, what happened today?
We have a good offense that we're going against. We started out strong, our ones versus their ones, made some plays, but we couldn't sustain. It's all about 11 guys doing their job. When you have 11 guys doing their job and the offense beats us that way, that's one thing When you get two or three guys not doing their job on one play something is bound to go wrong and it did. We've got to work on tackling. We've done a good job in practice working on tackling, it didn't show up today. We've got to do our job. You do your job, the plays will come to you and it is your job to make those plays.
Anybody stand out today?
No, not really. That's not a bad thing. I love where our guys are at, I love their mentality. We've got a bunch of tough guys. That's one thing I love about this defense, not a lot of soft individuals. All eleven guys need to be doing their jobs and plays will come to them.
You have a true freshman in Brian Blechen at strong safety. What's it like having a freshman back there?
We've played with a true freshman before. The strong safety spot is very difficult. You've got to be able to play in the box, you've got to be able to play two deep, cover down on the slot receiver, sot here are a lot of variables. He's got a great learning curve. He's got the size you look for and athleticism and the speed, so it's a matter of me getting him to learn his assignments and for him to make plays.
He seems to have great ball skills as well, always around the ball whether it is in the air or on the ground. Why is that?
He's got a great football mind with great spacial awareness. Having played quarterback in high school you have to have some understanding of what an offense is trying to do the to defense so it's good to have that knowledge moving over to the defensive side of the ball so we've just got to keep him going.
He has a good frame on himself and looks like he could add quite a bit of weight. Are you looking to bulk him up at all or keep him where he is?
Keep him fast. Just keep him fast.
In the secondary there are a few open spots right now. Anyone standing out at this point?
Bryce Bennion is a walk-on that's been doing a great job. He's someone that's stepped up assignment and technique-wise. Victor Spikes has gotten better at the free safety spot. Brian is where he is because he's shown the ability to make some of those plays.
Justin Taplin-Ross is your quarterback in the secondary?
No question. You have to hace range in the post and he provides that. Sometimes as a free safety it gets frustrating at times, but that's a good thing. When quarterbacks don't want to throw the ball in the middle of the field because they see that long legged defender, that's a good thing as it helps out our corners.
Damian Payne is another true freshman. Speak a little bit about Damian and what he has done so far.
Damian is a guy that can play the strong and the free safety spot. Like I said, when you put someone at the strong safety spot, the learning curve is a lot tougher than just putting them back in the post. Right now, no one is redshirting, everyone is in that bullpen. We have Justin Taplin-Ross and Brian Blechen is a guy that has shown he can learn and continue to grow. We're just looking for some depth right now. We've got Damian, Victor Spikes, Chris Washington, Quade Chappuis, another walk-on, and Bryce Bennion and they are all just competing right now against each other. It's a good group, tough guys. Obviously with the Pitt game coming up we've got to narrow that down a bit.
3 weeks until Pitt. What are your goals between now and then?
Depth. Depth and make more plays. Get that strong safety spot solidified.
the defensive coordinator talks about his unit's struggles during the first scrimmage...…