Camp T Recap: Defensive Line Coach Ted Monachino

With two returning starters, the objective going into camp was to find two other linemen to complete the starting front four on defense. Has that objective been achieved? Coach Monachino answers that question and more in this exclusive Devils Digest interview.

DevilsDigest: How's the defensive line looking at this point?

Ted Monachino: "Right now we still have a lot of questions to answer. The good thing is that we have a lot of guys fighting to answer those questions. We have some guys that are stepping up, some guys that need to get better…I think we're gonna have four guys on the field that can be effective every snap."

DD: When you talk about the defensive line, the conversation obviously starts with your foundation of the two returning starters: Kyle Caldwell and Jordan Hill. During camp it looks like those two have gone in different directions, with Kyle being injured and Jordan playing well…

TM: "I don't think they have necessarily gone in different directions. I think Kyle is as just as frustrated as I am right now. What I will tell you is that Jordan has solidified himself as one of our best players on defense, not just up front. Kyle has shown at times that he can dominate as we all know he can, but he really hasn't proven anything up here (in camp)."

DD: It seems like it's always the same thing with JC transfers, where the switch goes on in their second year. Sure enough, that's what happen with Dewayne Hollyfield

TM: "Dewayne had the camp of his life. He's playing his butt off and really putting himself in a position to be a contributor on a lot of down and distances."

DD: Ever since the first camp scrimmage, it seems like Kellen Mills has really stepped up…

TM: "Kellen is paint by numbers guy. He's gonna go out there and play what he knows. He's not gonna create much, because he hasn't been a defensive lineman long enough. But he's gonna know his assignment and know how to play hard."

DD: Will Kofe had a solid spring, and it sure has transformed into a good fall camp…

TM: "Will is doing a great job. He's a very versatile defensive lineman that can play all four spots. He can run, he's quick and can change directions. Will is going to be really valuable for us."

DD: Have you been pleased with the progress of Mike Talbot?

TM: "Mike is Mike. He's not gonna come out here and dominate in practice, but he's also not gonna come out there and embarrass us. Mike is gonna be a guy that when we pick and choose what spots we can use him in, he's gonna be very effective in those spots. As a senior he has a done a great job leading our guys. That's what he was asked to do."

DD: How has the transformation of Mark Washington from linebacker gone?

TM: "It's gone slowly, but I will tell you that he is willing. It's a position that he hasn't played, and when you're used to playing behind the type of defensive linemen he has played behind in his career – you know the importance of the position. It's always been said that there's a lot less learning as a defensive lineman and that's true. But when you're new to the position, it all new brand concepts. He's struggling a little bit right now but he'll get it. He has the ability to do it."

DD: Speaking of learning, how much of an adjustment has the defensive line gone through under the Bill Miller scheme?

TM: "There's a lot of new learning, but from a technical standpoint there hasn't been any. I'm still coaching them, and they're being thought the same way to execute. That's the thing a lot pf people don't understand. Yes, there's new stuff, but a defensive tackle will play a three-technique, two-technique, or a shade and I know how to coach all three. So it hasn't been that tough."

DD: What goals are you looking to achieve for the defensive line between now and the Temple game?

TM: "We got to solidify who are fifth and sixth guys are. We're gonna have to go into the Temple game with six guys and make eight out of them. We're gonna continue to cross-train guys like Dewayne and Will, and hopefully we'll always be able to move around and put our best four in there."

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