How has spring been going for yourself and the defense?
It’s been a process. It’s going well. I’m excited. The men are working hard, they’re buying in. The staff is great. We’re actually getting a chance out here to play football, compete a little bit - put the classroom stuff to bed, put the drills to bed, and apply it on the football field. So far we’re progressing. Things are going well.
What can you tell us about this defense schematically?
Come buy your season tickets and see what we’re going to be about. We’re going to fly around, we’re going to have fun, we’re going to do everything we can to restore the tradition and pride. Ultimately we’re here to win football games. Definitely taking ownership of the defense, but we’re here to win games as a whole teams.
A press release at least told us that you’ll be in a four-man front base. Will that be a big part of the defense?
Like I said, come on out and see what we’re going to be all about. We’re going to be some four-down, some three-down, some five-down. What you run is irrelevant, it's how you run it.
In the process of changing schemes, how are you handling players that may fit new positions or roles?
Everybody is buying in, everybody is accepting their role and working hard. I haven’t had one question about scheme and positions. What we sense in the locker room is the guys want to win football games and their committed to whatever it takes.
What’s the biggest difference here compared to the CFL?
The biggest thing is professionals to college. That’s the No. 1 thing. There are some fine fixtures and some details that are different, but you were dealing with men - people that have been to four years of high school and maybe for four or five years of pro, to people that haven’t finished college yet. It’s a big difference in the type of young men.
What are the principles you try to instill in your players?
You have to balance life and football. Football is what we’re here to do - it’s what most of them got a scholarship for, but it’s not who you are. You’re here to get an education, you’re here to be a better person. That’s personally why I coach. I don’t coach for the X’s and O’s. That doesn’t wake me up in the morning. I coach to affect lives, be a part of it, mentor, teach them some football along the way, but what we do in the meetings outside of the X’s and O’s will stay with them a lot longer than any scheme I teach them.
How as recruiting gone for you so far?
It’s great. It’s people skills, it’s relationships. That excites me. The recruiting process is ongoing all the time, you never turn that watch off, but right now it's spring ball. We finally get to be outside and enjoy it, so we’re enjoying it.
What are the ideal attributes for a future Fresno State defender?
Like you hear all the coaches say, and Coach Tedford, we’re looking for Dog-Wired Dudes - guys with great character who are self-starters that want to be here, not forced here. They want to be a part of what we’re doing. We have a great coaching staff, a great recruiting department. Coach Tedford has done an awesome job of assembling people and we want people to be a part of that. We want people that are tough - just like anybody. They want all the intangibles, plus character.
How has it been working with this new staff?
Easy - we all have strengths and weaknesses… As far as the details, I think it’s been enjoyable. You may have to get honest feedback from them.
How much do you hope to install this spring?
Enough to play fast. Enough for them to understand where we’re at and where we’re going… We’re always going to stretch the limits. I believe everybody has the ability to learn, we just all learn at different paces.
How is being in Fresno, in general?
I’m loving it. The community has been great… I just take it all in. I go into all places without any preconceived notions and take it for what it is.