In-Depth with John Lovett (Part I)

In the first part of a two part segment, defensive coordinator John Lovett talks about the decision behind taking Sergio Gilliam off of a redshirt, and the problems that the misdirection offense of Wake Forest presents the Tigers this week.


Why did the staff decide not to redshirt Sergio Gilliam in the game last week?
Lovett: He's a real talented kid. He played 4 plays in the game on Saturday, and he'll probably play double that this week. He's a big tall kid that runs good. It's hard to get away from a kid like that because he can recover quickly. I think he's going to fine. It's just a situation where we thought he could help us out this year and give us support at cornerback. He had wanted to play all year long and he was really itching to get in there. We talked with him and his family extensively about it last week and we made the decision to go ahead and put him in there. He's one of those guys where we felt like that if played this year, he would really benefit from the extra weeks of a bowl practice and then going into spring ball with some experience under his belt.

Is that sort of standard procedure to do that with a player?
Lovett: Yeah, and the other thing is that we want to make sure that he's getting into the games and actually playing. More so than another back up that wasn't in that situation. You are going to make a concerted effort to make sure you don't waste the time he's got left this season to get in there and play. You want to make sure he's getting something out of it. I would deliberately take reps away from someone else to make sure that he got in the game because we aren't redshirting him this year.

Do you see him staying at cornerback in his career, or could he make the transition over to free safety?
Lovett: Well I don't know right now I wouldn't move him to free safety because he's got really good feet for a big kid. I don't see moving him inside any time in the near future. You've got Travis and Monts back next year, so you've got two quality kids there too. I'd like to keep him at cornerback just because he's so tall. You like to have a cornerback out there with his height. I'd have to say that he'd stay at cornerback right now.

Did you personally spend more time reviewing Wake Forest film during the offseason in preparation for this game?
Lovett: Yes, you know we didn't have an answer for them last year. We didn't play well physically, and they did a nice job of doing some things to get us out of position. That shows you why they were successful last year against everybody, not just against us. They are a hard offense to defend. Not a lot of people do the things that they do.

They have a new fullback this year that likes to run the ball a little more, can you comment on what they like to do with him?
Lovett: Yes, he's a new guy. The kid last year would just run over you. He could make you quit during the game. He made a lot of people quit. He was a punishing runner and a punishing blocker. The kid they have this year is not like that, however he's a better runner. He can make you miss in the hole. Of course he's a tough runner and a tough kid that will put a nose on you. But that kid last year was something special. I think what they've done is gone away from that type of punishing running back to where you have to account for him more as a runner that can make you miss. I think the guy they had last year was an awfully special player though.

It seems like Wake Forest likes to make you creep closer and closer to the line of scrimmage, and then that's when they hit you with big play.
Lovett: Oh yeah. What they've done is the quarterback this year has had a lot of success throwing the football deep. He throws the ball off the option and throws the ball of the play-action game. They are very patient with what they do, and then all of sudden, bang, they throw it on you. They have all sorts of misdirection plays. They'll have a lot of misdirection plays, but in reality it ends up being a downhill running play. So you have to prepare and be ready for everything that they bring to the table. The divide zone running plays, the reverses, the option, and then all of the different formations that they like to run.

CUTigers.com Top Stories