DevilsDigest: How would you assess the performance of the defense in the spring game?
Craig Bray: "We have a long ways to go. We're playing with pretty good intensity. I like the fact that we got a lot of turnovers – that's something we emphasized a lot. I don't like anytime they (the offense) score. We didn't bring any pressure or anything like that – we played base (defense). But for the most part when we got going we did a lot of good things."
DD: What aspect do you feel the defense improved on the most from the beginning of spring practice until the end of it?
CB: "I would say intensity and our coverages. We're still trying to get a group of guys that we know are going to be the guys we need to win with. But overall I think we improved in a lot of areas."
DD: Coach Erickson shared his concerns about the front four. How do you feel about the defensive line?
CB: "We added Saia (Falahola) to the mix. He's only been there a week so we have to evaluate that. But we think he's gonna help us. We're definitely thin there, and we'll have to probably play a freshman or two. But from start to finish the front four improved and accomplished a lot. My position (the linebackers) probably had the most inconsistencies. I thought the front four had a better spring game than the back seven."
DD: How do you feel about the defensive backs as a group?
CB: "We had some guys that were real surprises to us. We have a real fine group of safeties. I'm still a little concern at the corner spot. No one emerged and separated themselves."
DD: Speaking of your position group, how do you feel Morris Wooten played in the spring?
CB: "I think he's gonna be a good player. He puts a lot of pressure on himself, and he has to get through that. He has to learn to relax and go play – he's wound tighter than a darn drum (smile). But I think he will be good for us. Mike Nixon had a solid spring for us. Ryan McFoy – we moved him (to linebacker) and it created some difficulty in his adjustment. It's not fair to evaluate him because he's thinking all the time. If we can grow as a group and be ahead from where we are right now when we start two-a-days, we have a chance to be at least a solid group of guys."
DD: It seems than players on defense are in consensus that the scheme is predicated on more instinct and gives more freedom than other schemes they've been involved in. Would that be an accurate assessment?
CB: "I would say that's very accurate. We don't want them thinking, we want then running and hitting. Heck, I'm not that smart anyway – I can't make all those darn calls (smile). The spreadsheet is too big."
DD: Let's look to the future for a second. The other linebacker signed in the recruiting class, aside from Wooten, is Derrall Anderson. What can you tell us about him and what he brings to the table?
CB: "We like his athleticism. He's a big young kid that runs very well. We also have Oliver Aaron which played linebacker in high school, we thought about putting him at safety here, but because our safety position is solid we're gonna need him at linebacker. I like those two guys and they can play and really help us. They both might play next year – we'll see. We lost Jamarr Robinson and that was an ACL. He's done for the season and that was a big hit for us."
DD: When you start Camp T in August, what will be the top items on your to-do list?
CB: "Do a better job coaching – that's number one (smile). Establish a good group; try to make the scheme simple and make sure that we don't have the same though process as we had in the spring, and plug in the young kids in the right places."
Q&A with Coach Craig Bray
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