Quick Hitter: Matt Daniels

The Blue Devils will feature a new look on the defensive side of the ball in 2010. Gone is the traditional 4-3 set up that has been a hallmark of Duke football for years. In its place is a new system focusing on speed, multiple looks, and more. TDD spoke to starting safety Matt Daniels after the team's first public scrimmage about the changes and what it means for the upcoming season.

TDD: As a defensive unit do you approach scrimmages with a mind to help the offensive units improve or is it more of a competitive drive to just best them?

Matt Daniels: It's a combination of both really. I mean as a defensive player I want our guys to get off and make plays against the offense. This was the opening scrimmage and we wanted to come out and have a great start in game situations. We did that. We want to get better every time we step out and by performing at our best and forcing them to do the same we all get better.

You put some pretty big hits on guys out there. Is that a mind set or just a natural occurrence with your game?

Everyone likes to make the big hit, and I like making a big hit and knocking the ball loose. But a lot of it comes from our system which gives the backfield a lot of freedom and a lot of responsibility.

The change in the defensive system has been discussed quite a bit. What's the major changes for you?

There's a lot more man coverage out there. A lot of responsibility for the defensive backs to switch on coverage and pick things up. It's great because you need a lot of playmakers, which is exciting.

What are the reasons for the changes?

It's a personnel thing and I think the coaches wanted to be more balanced as well. We have a lot of guys with skills that work really well in different situations. We are designing a system that takes advantage of each of those. It's a lot to take in. A lot of substitution packages and a lot of systems, but we think it's going to work really well.

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