Coach players are now in pads you've got to be excited about that?
This is my favorite part of football when you can hit somebody. This is what football is all about. The physical and mental toughness when you get banged up is a sign of a good football player, so I love the contact.
I love my guys. As you know we only loss one guy from last year in Walter Dudley who was a senior walk-on who we did grant a scholarship last fall, but he's the only guy I loss. As a coach we can now learn the entire defense and this will make us better football players. We understand what the linebacker is supposed to do and where he's suppose to be. We can understand what a 3 technique and a 1 technique and 9 and all that is suppose to do. We can go a little bit farther and understand the defense as a whole and do a lot more on the field.
Have players now seen the depth behind them and know their job is on the line each day?
Absolutely, it's good competition out there and I always talk with them that the best player is going to play. No one's position is set in stone out here. A good player wants competition, they want to be pushed to become better players. This makes a better team and a stronger team. I also stress to my guys to help one another. That is why you saw a Mike Mickens playing out there as a true freshman. It took the other guys to help him when a coach wasn't around to learn what he needed to do when he was looking at his playbook back in the dorm last year. While each guy is fighting for a job, we're still a family.
Fans know the names of Mickens, Horton and Nakamura, who should the fans be looking at to make a statement this spring and fall?
There are several guys who are working to earn respect and prove themselves. But Marshwan Gilyard (Marty) is a kid who is one of the more athletic kids on our team. Very athletic, talented, big tough corner who can run, watch Marty. As long as he keep maturing and growing on and off the field he will be someone who I would really watch out for. Plus keep in mind we have those younger guys who will be coming in here this fall to keep an eye on.