This is the first time we've talked since Rich Smith's return to this program. He's had a lot of defensive success here; what effect has his arrival had on this defense?
"We're really excited and can't wait to get out there for spring ball. We're ready to work with him and learn his system; he's talked to the defense a couple of times and we're anxious to play for him."
How much of his system have you and the defense gone over with Coach Smith so far?
"We're actually meeting today to try and learn some of it; we're going to be watching film. Our goal is to have his system down before spring ball."
31.6, that's the average number of points the defense gave up per game last season, I looked it up and the offense only averaged scoring 31.5 points a game. What role does a statistic like that play into your preparation for next season?
"That's huge motivation for the off-season. Some of those games last year were embarrassing for us and we don't want to have that happen again. This off-season we're working hard in order to prevent that from happening to us next season."
Tell me about these new guys who enrolled early, Anderson and Mumford. What have you seen from them in workouts?
"They're good. Physically they both already look like college athletes; you can't tell they just came out of high school. They're working hard and getting stronger every day and I think they should make an immediate impact."
With all of these weapons the defense has added, in players like Lucas Thompson and those who I've just mentioned, what is the potential for this unit in 2013?
"We think this is our year, we've got a lot of guys coming back and we're bringing a lot of athletes in. We have big goals, not only as a defense but as a team, and we can't wait to get out there and show everyone."
With all that being said, the offense added some new weapons as well. What do you anticipate from them come spring ball?
"We can't wait to watch them. Agent 5(nickname for Shane Carden) is going to be in his second year as a starter, our receivers are great and we've got a lot of linemen coming back to protect them. They should put up a lot of points and give us as a defense some trouble."
Jeremy Grove has led the Pirates in tackling for two consecutive seasons which included arguably one of the best seasons ever recorded by an ECU rookie defender. With the Pirates recent additions of young talent Grove has a chance to make even more noise on the field next season. 2013 will be ECU's last season of competition in Conference USA; the Pirates will join the Big East as a football only member in 2014. From my interview it seems Grove and company plan on working hard this spring to end it right, with a C-USA Championship.