Q&A with Jackie Shipp

With the 2013 season opener quickly approaching for Arizona State, Devils Digest caught up with Defensive Line Coach Jackie Shipp to discuss the defense's approach to stopping the run, the depth along the line, and player development.

DevilsDigest: On the overall development of the defensive line as the season opener approaches:

Jackie Shipp: "I think today has been one of our better days of practice. I think we've made improvements, but we can be a whole lot better. We've just got to stay on the guys every day about focusing. The main thing is continuing our fundamentals and technique. And effort. Awareness. Being aware of your situations on the field. I think we're getting closer to gameday, which is good. It's been a long fall camp. We're making improvements, but we're not where I think this group can be."

DevilsDigest: On the strength of the starting defensive line:

Jackie Shipp: "I'll tell you what, all the starters have done some good things. The big thing is still, to sit up here and make it a point of what? Where we should be? Is this it? Let's build on that. Bottom line: we're making improvements but I think we can all be better. What can they better in? Technique-wise. Always technique-wise. Knowledge of the game. We're shooting to be perfect. We know nobody can be perfect, but you can get that percentage up there pretty high. So it's about effort, knowledge of the game, technique, and just improving on that, day in and day out. Improving on studying your opponent and all those types of things."

DevilsDigest: On the depth of the defensive line:

Jackie Shipp: "I think we're getting a little bit better. I think our depth is more consistent in the play. We do have some depth and that depth is going to have to help us. But you know, Coach Graham makes a great point: we're not talking about your top three or your top four; it's how five, six, and seven are going to play that's going to make a difference. So we're getting some depth but that depth is going to need to improve."

DevilsDigest: On improving the run defense in 2013:

Have we gotten more physical? Yeah. But you can talk about that all you want. It's going to come down to what we do, game in and game out. And that's what you're going to base your decision off of."

DevilsDigest: On returning All-American Will Sutton:

He's done some good things but I think he can better than what he's done. We have a very high expectation for him and we need to get him to exceed that expectoration. We want everyone to be great. We want the team to be great. So that's what we're pushing for. We want everyone to be perfect but we know nobody's going to be perfect."

DevilsDigest: On senior Gannon Conway, who has solidified himself as a starter at defensive end:

Jackie Shipp: "He's gotten bigger, he's gotten stronger, and he's gotten better at learning the technique and trying to use the technique and has gotten more consistent with the technique. But I'm going to tell you, he can still get better. A lot better. Just focusing on that technique and playing hard and what? Not peeking into that backfield."

DevilsDigest: On whether he was surprised Gannon Conway was able to hold onto that starting position throughout the fall camp:

Jackie Shipp: "No, I wasn't surprised. I wasn't surprised at all. I saw some things from him in the spring. It didn't surprise me."

DevilsDigest: On the development of sophomore Jaxon Hood:

Jackie Shipp: "He has to keep getting better and improve his technique and understand what he's doing. He's got to learn to play hard every play. He's got to get better. He's a young guy. Everyone talks 'Freshman All-American' and I respect what he did but still, my thing is this, he can be better. He can be better with his fundamentals and technique and the effort he gives every day. You have to give that effort in order to get better."

DevilsDigest: On how junior college transfer Marcus Hardison has done picking up the Sun Devil defensive schemes:

Jackie Shipp: "Marcus Hardison is picking it up, slowly but surely. But he'll have it."

DevilsDigest: On the status of Mo Latu:

Jackie Shipp: "We've just got to get some weight off Big Mo. If we can get rid of some of that weight, he has a chance to be a pretty special football player. We just got to get Mo to play more than ten plays."

DevilsDigest: On senior Davon Coleman:

Jackie Shipp: "With Davon we're trying to take that ability and put those fundamentals and technique with it, and focus on that every time, he's got chance to do some good things. That's what we're trying to bring to together."

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