What has been the focus this offseason defensively?
Kelby Brown: Attention to details. Last season we played some great defense and guys went out there and made plays. Now we are working to fine tune all the small things, like knowing all of our coverages and pass progressions.
How do you make up for some of the losses on the defensive end, particularly on the line?
We lost a lot of experience but we are returning senior starters who have gotten a lot of reps. I think having experience at linebacker will really help and trickle down. Linebacker is the bridge of the defense between the line and secondary. It is a really good spot for me communicating. We play a lot of hurry up offenses so we have to have good communication all the way around.
How will you be better prepared to face those high scoring, hurry up offenses?
Every year our defense has gotten a little bit simpler to get the calls in. It helps us get lined up quickly. It’s just conditioning. If we are well conditioned, we will get stops.
What do you have to do in order to get stops and limit “shootout” games like last season against Pitt or Texas A&M?
We are working on fine tuning those details. That’s what gets you beat on a long pass or a long run. If we can hold an opponent to 23 points or less that’s one of our three goals. We also want five explosive plays or less (an explosive play is a run play of 11 yards or more and a pass play of 17 yards or more) and at least two turnovers. Whenever we did those three things, we won games. Even when we did two out of the three, we won games.
What do you need to do in order to finish at the top of the division again and win the ACC title?
We need to forget last season and move on. I try to tell the young guys that nothing last season came easy and nothing this season will come easy. We have to understand the difficulty of the season.