Change To Defense Nothing New For Mike Elston

Making the move from tight ends to defensive line has Mike Elston feeling right at home. A former player and coach on the defensive side of the ball, Elston is no stranger in his new surroundings.

"I've coached defense for quite a few years so the transition wasn't that difficult. It was more of Coach Diaco and I getting back together and going through a few different schemes, but for the most part coaching d-line is coaching d-line; it starts off with a nice stance and playing physical while being in the right gap. So the transition hasn't been too much for me."

While the Bearcats lost a lot of talent along the defensive line from last years Big East Championship squad, Elston feels there is depth on the roster now with more coming in the fall.

"I think we've got eight guys this spring and some guys coming in the fall who are going to make a difference. So we'll have plenty of guys there to put something very solid on the field next fall."

When looking for those who may have surprised during the spring season. Elston wasted little time in pointing out two names not getting as much talk.

"I would say Dan Giordano has really done a nice job for a freshman. He's come in and is learning the system while playing fast, playing physical and being very productive on the field. I'd also say Brandon Mills is another guy who may have started a little low on the depth chart this spring. Both players have played their way into what is going to be a positive road for them in the fall."

One of the many changes on the Bearcats defense is the number of ways they'll be able to attack on the field. Elston explains what fans can expect next fall.

"We're doing everything. Three down, four down, five down, we do it all. This gives us a chance to be multiple which means you've got to prepare for us, you've got to spend some time on it. You can't just wait for the week of the game and practice for the 3-4. So we're going to have multiple fronts and multiple ways to attack on defense."

With the talent that remained from last years roster, Elston knows it's just a matter of time to get things together.

I think it doesn't hurt us by any means. We've got to make sure that we put the guys in the right spots so we'll have to move some around to see where they play best.

One of the many questions fans have had about the move to the 3-4 schemes is having enough players like Derek Wolfe up front. In the new scheme are there enough players up front?

"Derek's size helps, but Brandon Mills is the same size as Terrill Bryd and he is having just as a productive spring as Derek is having. I feel Terrill would have been just as good in this system as he was during his career in the other system. Playing defensive line is just playing football and flying to the ball. When you're good at that you're going to flourish in any defense."

One thing many have observed during the spring season is the overall speed on defense. With players from the line to the defensive backs showing great burst, could the Bearcats defense be faster than last years?

"We have a fast defense there is no doubt. I don't know if it's faster because I didn't study the defense last year. I know we we're fast, but I don't thinks it's going to be a problem replacing ten seniors. You lose a lot of continuity, but it's going to be a new defense any year and it's going to be a great challenge I'm sure."

Bearcat fans will see first hand some of the defense Coach Elston and Coach Diaco have been working on this spring at Bearcat Bowl III.


Bearcat Insider Top Stories