Post Signing Day Comments – Linebackers

Defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Brent Guy offers his thoughts on the linebackers in ASU's 2002 recruiting class, and talks about his expectations of the Sun Devils defense this season.

DevilsDigest: Coach, could you please give us your take of the two linebackers signed in the 2002 class?

Brent Guy: De'Andre Johnson – "He's a playmaker first of all. The thing I was most excited about when watching film about him, is that they (his high school) moved him around a lot. He played different positions in different games. He played with his hands down on the ground sometimes, and played as standup linebacker. He's very aggressive as far as tackling blocks. He makes explosive hits, and I think in our defense he'll be a good run player and a good blitzer for his size."

Jamar Williams – "He played in more traditional type positions, like the ones we would have him playing in our defense. He's also a playmaker on film, and blitzes around the edge. He's a great athlete who plays Basketball too. In his senior year he caused 13 fumbles, blocked five punts, and had three interceptions. He shows up around the ball a lot, and makes a lot of plays. He was attracted to us because he wanted to play in a blitzing style defense. "

DD: Mike Talbot who signed with ASU, as a fullback was originally a linebacker. As the linebackers coach, did you know from the start that we weren't going to recruit him as a linebacker?

BG: "When we saw him in our camp, he was very athletic for his size. At the time we were real impressed by his speed. Then in his senior year, he started to play fullback and really did well there. As recruiting went on, we had more linebacker prospects than fullbacks, so when we approached him to play fullback for us he said he had no problem with that. He just fit our need better at fullback. It may not be the typical case in recruiting, but it worked out for the best. I'd be happy with him at linebacker, but he's going to be a good fullback for us."

DD: Since we only signed two linebackers in this class, can you share your approach to this position going into the recruiting season?

BG: "We were only slotted for two linebackers. We only lost one guy from last year, and we return a lot of linebackers. Next year we'll be senior heavy, so our approach will be probably different."

DD: We've been hearing about the conditioning program Solomon Bates is going through. Can you tell us how he's looking these days?

BG: "He's changing his body. We'll have to see how that works out on the field. But the structure of his body is very different. We'll have to see how that carries over when he gets the pads on. I think though that Josh Amboi will be a good player, as well as Mason Unck. Our younger guys have to step up and contribute more, and I think our two freshmen can step up and contribute for us right away."

DD: As far as competition for the starting spots, would you say that it's still Bates and Unck's jobs to lose?

BG: "I think it's pretty wide open between our three seniors (Bates, Unck, and Amobi). I think Amboi improved the most through the year. So we'll wait to see who makes the most plays. Like all positions, we want to make it as competitive as possible everyday."

DD: When you look at the defense and what was accomplished during the recruiting season, and your goals for this season, how do you think we're standing right now?

BG: "For us to bring three defensive players in the middle of the semester, Shane Jones, Ishmael Thrower, and Brett Hudson, that's just tremendous for us. It's very hard to get a junior college player that you can bring in the middle of the year, and get him through an off-season workout and spring training. That was critical for us, especially on the defensive line."

"As far as spring ball goes. We're evaluating all our calls among the defensive staff. We have to find ways to improve the players we have, and to put them in the best position to make plays in our scheme, and be the most productive. We have to be better tacklers. We'll understand the scheme better, and we won't be as concerned about our assignments as much. Now we have to do it faster and more physical. We just have to execute better."

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