DevilsDigest: Coach Guy, now that Camp Tontozona has culminated how would you evaluate the defensive side of the ball?
Brent Guy: "First of all, we're so happy we didn't have any major injuries and have someone have surgery or stuff like that. We did have some folks that had to miss some practice, but nothing that would hold them out for an extensive period of time."
"I think we did find some young guys that can help us in some depth areas, which is always encouraging. We have more depth in athletic ability, but not experience. I think our team speed and depth is as good or better than what we had. Today (at the scrimmage) I saw a first unit that stood up at different times when they needed too. We try and train them at some different situations, and I like what I saw…Brett Hudson is a guy that jumps out and made some really nice plays in critical situations. I was pleased to see that. One position we still need to work out is my position at linebacker. We have a lot of guys that have a lot of athletic ability, but no one that started a game and won. So, that's my emphasis on them – that we have a lot to prove. Especially, when guys run the ball at us, we have to make the plays. There was a couple of times (during scrimmage) that we didn't stop the run like we need to do to win some games."
DD: What were your goals coming up to Camp T and were those goals accomplished?
BG: "Our goal always is to be good tacklers. Our first unit today was pretty good. A great example was a 3 and 10 where the offense threw a ball in the flat and we make the tackle to prevent the first down. You have to understand your situations, and that was a great example of where you get your eyes on the guy, wrap him on the ground and have them punt."
"Communications and assignment, which we call teamwork in our three T's, we're getting much better at that. We had so many young guys in the secondary's second unit, and the communication wasn't what it was suppose to be. We had a lot of issues with coaches yelling at the sidelines, and players didn't know what to do even when we had call cards out there. So, we still have some work to do there."
"The third T is always the big one and that's turnovers. We created only two today, not near as many as we wanted. But we held better in situations. I told Dirk (Koetter) that I wanted the ball deep and backed up, like when we finished the season. I want to work on those red zone situations. We have to make the play, and not let teams make drives on us when it's time to end the game. That's why we did the scrimmage the way we did it."
DD: Even with the limited experience at linebacker, have you been pleased with your group?
BG: "Oh yeah. Jamar knows the defense. It's just that at game situations he's still trying to help out other guys, when really he needs to be concentrating on what he's doing. That did hurt him the first week…Bart Hammit understands the defense much better. He's gonna contribute. Jordan Hill will contribute. Mark Washington over time when he's confident with his assignments will contribute. Washington got a little tired there at the end, but we were able to get him some work. He was out of position a few times, so he has a lot to learn. De'Andre Johnson was a little hampered, but based on what we saw in the last week of practices I think we could have the confidence to use him later in the season."
DD: Is the second cornerback job opposite Oliver still an open battle in your mind, or does Josh Golden have that position nailed down?
BG: "I wouldn't say Josh has locked it down. Like I told everyone with our linebackers last year, I consider that we have three starters. At cornerback, we have two spots and three guys that are playing very well now. Manny Franklin is playing as good as anybody. It's been a year and a half since that guy has been in a game situation but we will get him in early. Mike Davis has made a bunch of plays. He's playing with a broken thumb and some stitches, but he's competing very well now. Chris McKenzie continues to get better. We try to bring in junior college guys early in the spring to get familiar with the scheme and know all the calls. He hasn't been in spring ball, so today is only practice number 13 or 14 for him. It's gonna continue to come to him slowly. Nothing is locked down yet, we have two more weeks before we play our fist game and anything can happen."
DD: You had a lot of injuries in the secondary today, how did that affect the scrimmage?
BG: "It was good for us in a way because Josh Barrett is gonna be a good player and we got him a lot of work today. J.W. Lucas is gonna have to contribute, and he learned a lot of valuable lessons today. He has to step up and make some plays. It was good for Matt Fawley too, because he will have to be one of those dual (safety) guys. We've been fortunate that in two years Jason Shivers never missed a game, and the free safety position is so critical. So today gave us that opportunity to dual train some guys. That position is the ‘take charge' position for us, as far as getting everybody lined up where they're gonna drop or who they're gonna cover."
DD: Will you still experiment with Josh Barrett at corner or will he stay at safety?
BG: "I think that for now because we think we developed enough depth at corner, that we can leave him at safety. In an ideal world, we would like to have safeties that cover like cornerbacks. So, it's always good to give those guys some work, because sometime in the future they may have to play there. But Barrett will be in there (at safety) for the first game."
DD: How would you assess Daniel Varvel through camp?
BG: "Daniel had a really good first ten days, but hit the wall at the end and became a little indecisive. But he has a lot range – he's a long tall guy that can make a lot of plays in the jump ball passes. We threw a lot of him as a true freshman; and what happened to him is the same thing that happened to Matt Fawley last year. But he's farther along than we expect a true freshman to be. He's another guy that's gonna contribute the first game."
Camp T Recap – Coach Brent Guy
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