Q: Howâ€™s the defense looking so far?
A: Okay. Next?
Q: Talk to me about some of the young guys. Different dynamic with the quarterbacks being live? How good is it?
A: Itâ€™s really, itâ€™s really good for them, fun for them to really turn loose and not have to stop their feet. Because itâ€™s a bad habit to have to stop your feet anytime youâ€™re going after a quarterback. Youâ€™re not doing it in a game, end up stopping cause thatâ€™s what you a habit of doing for whatever, a year, 2 years, for us itâ€™s 6 years. So we have been live since weâ€™ve been here. So itâ€™s good for them.
Q: How does it bode well for the quarterbacks?
A: I donâ€™t care. I donâ€™t know. I havenâ€™t asked them lately.
Q: Is that good? Some good repetitions to get them chasing live? Itâ€™s kind of like the Rocky movie chasing chickens around.
A: Thatâ€™s right, no doubt about it. Itâ€™s good for them. Itâ€™s good for them.
Q: Have you seen some progress in Shilique Calhoun? He looked pretty good in the bowl game. I know heâ€¦
A: Yeah. Heâ€™s been good. Heâ€™s had six practices. Weâ€™re very, very pleased with the way heâ€™s played. Heâ€™s played well for us. So weâ€™re happy for him.
Q: Any other young guys stepping up?
A: Any other young guysâ€¦ Trae Waynes had a great bowl game. Heâ€™s had six great days of practice. Excited about where he is. Demetrious Cox has shown some good things. We got a little play star at 3rd down at nickel back. Iâ€™ve seen some things I really like out of him. Heâ€™s smart. Ezra Robinson, Jermaine Edmondson, doing reps with the 2â€™s right now. Darqueze is hot and thatâ€™s been a bonus in the corner spot. So a lot of young DB work in there. And all those guys have done a nice job. Another guy that hasnâ€™t played a whole lot is Arjen Colquhoun. Made some great plays today in practice. Heâ€™s just gotta keep progressing and being consistent. Linebacker spot Riley Bullough is backing up his brother Max right now in spring ball and really has done a nice job. Had a nice goal line pear down last practice so Rileyâ€™s doing well at the mike. All the other linebackers are pretty old. D line, Shiliqueâ€™s not young but he is. Itâ€™s a work in progress for a lot of the D tackles.
Q: I saw Taiwan Jones and Darien Harris out there, those two guys playing outside linebacker. As those guys get older that might become more common place?
A: Oh thereâ€™s no doubt about it. Theyâ€™re two good athletes. They like to be on the field at the same time.
Q: What did you see today? I know you havenâ€™t seen film of todayâ€™s practice yet, but anything raise your eyebrows or just more of the same?
A: Jus the intensity and the attitude. I was just talking to a couple of coaches from Ohio. They said, Iâ€™ve never seen anything like that. Thereâ€™s 11 guys on the ball every play. And just to hear a high school coach say that to me is impressive. Thatâ€™s I guess what I saw. The kids got great attitude, theyâ€™re flying around after the football. Thatâ€™s what itâ€™s all about. They might make a mistake here or there but at least theyâ€™re getting after it.
Q: What about Riley Bullough, tell me a little bit more about him at linebacker?
A: Every day he gets better. Heâ€™s so green at the position. Itâ€™s the first time weâ€™ve put him in the mike position and heâ€™s really picking it up. Every day he gets better and we see progress with him in the mike position. Picking up right where his brother is, talking about Riley Bullough.
Q: Lylesâ€™ playing mostly defensive end right now?
A: Yeah, heâ€™s gonnaâ€¦.heâ€™s played both but with just our depth at defensive end. Heâ€™s done a nice job. Heâ€™s getting better every day too. Itâ€™ll be interesting to see how he does today.
Q: What would you like to see in the scrimmages?
A: Dominance. I just wanna see guys execute. Thatâ€™s all you can ask for as a coach is just execution. Just do what youâ€™re supposed to do and make plays.
Q: Whatâ€™s jumping out at you so far?
A: The big thing that jumps out at me is when I walk off the field and thereâ€™s four coaches from the state of Ohio, from probably one of the power schools in the state of Ohio, the head coach, defensive end and staff. Say, Coach Iâ€™ve never seen anybody run around like that with 11 guys in play. Thatâ€™s what we did from inside all the way up until last training period. So thatâ€™s the biggest thing. Just our attitude in our kids and the way they fly around. They just got it. You donâ€™t have to coach it as much anymore.
Q: Whoâ€™s spearheading it? Max? Is some other guys emerging as leaders?
Q: Well, yeah you.
A: Itâ€™s our attitude, itâ€™s what we do. Theyâ€™re all leaders. What Iâ€™m saying is itâ€™s built and the kids are running the football. We think about it every day that theyâ€™re running the ball but then when you hear a high school coach say, Golly Coach that was unbelievable. I canâ€™t believe what I saw. Thatâ€™s when you go, Hmm I guess weâ€™re doing okay. I wouldnâ€™t have said that had a high school coach not said it to me. To me I get graded by what other people say when they watch. Thatâ€™s the biggest compliment to me
Q: Has that gotten better over the years?
A: I think it has. I think it has. I donâ€™t think the coachingâ€™s hard. I think maybe it comes naturally and thatâ€™s whatâ€™s expected.
Q: Whatâ€™s Coach Burton brought?
A: Heâ€™s brought a lot of enthusiasm. I think Coach Gill was a great coach and everything. But Ron Burton has a little more enthusiasm about it and I think the kids are reallyâ€¦ Gholston comes up after practice and goes, Man, Coach I feel like Iâ€™m missing something. Itâ€™s good to hear him say that too.
Q: Cornerback Trae Waynesâ€¦
A: Trae Waynes is playing super. Darqueze is out, but we feel like weâ€™ve got two topnotch corners that are quick with Darqueze and Trae out there. Weâ€™re really excited with what Traeâ€™s done. Heâ€™s had six big practices. I donâ€™t think heâ€™s given up a pass over 10 yards in six practices so I think heâ€™s a lockdown. Heâ€™s done that since TCU in our bowl game. He played unbelievable. I donâ€™t think weâ€™ve had a chance to talk since that bowl game, but he played great. Which is kind of what we expected of him but we werenâ€™t sure what we were gonna get. He hasnâ€™t had a chance to play much during the year, unfortunately. But heâ€™s playing real well at the corner and we have Robinson and Jermaine Edmondson, Arjen and guys with the 2â€™s that are getting a lot of reps. Weâ€™ll find out. Itâ€™s a big spring for us.
Q: Demetrious Cox.
A: Demetrious Cox is doing good. Heâ€™s getting reps with the 2â€™s right now, getting full time reps with the 2s. And heâ€™s also getting some reps in as our star on the 3rd down package. Heâ€™s done a nice job at it too. Heâ€™s shown some ability to go blitz the quarterback. Heâ€™s been great in coverage too.
Q: Jones working at star linebacker?
A: Heâ€™s playing star linebacker. Heâ€™s playing star linebacker, heâ€™s playing safety as well. So heâ€™s playing a little bit of both. Just with his athleticismâ€¦ Weâ€™ve got pretty good depth in safety for spring. Weâ€™ll find out if he can do both and I think he can.
Q: There was a play in the bowl game, it was like a 3rd down, where Trae Wayne stuck his head in there and took on a run. Do you remember that?
Q: But anyway, you might remember he showed he could play the run. No surprise?
A: No surprise. Heâ€™s a tough kid. Heâ€™s one of my better tacklers back there, heâ€™s always been one of our better tacklers in practice. So that didnâ€™t surprise me at all. Heâ€™ll hit ya.
Q: The back seven looks obviously loaded, maybe the front four a little bit of a question mark? Is that fair to say?
A: I would say the depth in the front four might be, but when youâ€™re looking at defensive ends with Rush and Calhoun at the defensive end spot. Then youâ€™ve got, Joel Heath has been playing well. The last two days heâ€™s really turned it on and I think heâ€™s just starting to come back to him a little bit. And then Denzel Drone, those are four pretty good ends. So I feel really good with the four ends youâ€™re talking about there. I wish we had 10 more. Then inside, Tyler Hoover is having a good spring, and then Micajah Reynolds and Kittredge are playing well inside. A lot of those young guys, you knowâ€¦Lawrence Thomas. Heâ€™s getting reps, heâ€™s showing some good things. Heâ€™s been banged up a little bit, gotta keep him healthy. But Brandon Clemons, David Fennell, all those guys are getting reps and weâ€™re gonna find out and see how they shake out.
Q: Anything that Marcus Rush, heâ€™s a player. What do you want him to do to get to the next level? What does he need to polish up?
A: He needs to polish up his pass rushing skills. Coach Burton been working with him and has been identifying some things that we havenâ€™t seen in the past. If we can just clean up his pass rushing I think thatâ€™ll make him a better football player. When we went back and watched all the cuts, Hoover was our best tackle. I love Rashad White, Rashadâ€™s played well, but Hooverâ€¦as we went through all the cuts, weâ€™re like Hoover was the best tackle we had on our team last year.
Q: Even in September?
A: All throughout the whole year. We looked at it fundamentallyâ€¦ Hooverâ€™s doing what heâ€™s supposed to do; Hooverâ€™s doing what heâ€™s supposed to do. That was a bonus. Thatâ€™s not saying, Okay we donâ€™t need Rashad. Rashad was a great player for us. But Hoover technically did the right things most of the time.
Q: Also, do you notice heâ€™s stronger as far as double team, technique wise?
A: Yeah, a little bit. He should be. His second year in it. Heâ€™s only played D tackle for a year.
Q: He says he wants to be a dominant defensive tackle. Do you think thatâ€™s possible for him?
A: No doubt about it. 6â€™6â€, 300 lbs.