Coach, congratulations on your promotion to Defensive Coordinator. It was a well received move according to our fans here on CoogFans.com. We wish you success going forward.
JS - What can we expect to see differently in the philosophy of our defense?
AW - We will see more man coverage with blitz or double teams or safety free looks. We will continue to get better in our base defense due to a year under our belts and so many returning defensive players. Our emphasis will be to get as many bodies to the ball as FAST as possible. We will be physically tough and give extra effort—what great defenses do!!
JS - Can you give our fans some philosophy on the 3-4 versus the 4-3 alignment?
AW - The 3-4 provides more speed on the field, easier disguises in our blitz game and easier adjustments to multiple offensive sets. Due to one less lineman you have to plan on blitzing more to stop the run game and to put pressure on the passer.
JS - We have heard speculation that Vollmer might be tried on the DL. Is this a possibility or just fan talk?
AW - We always have needs for quality defensive linemen and depth in the line; especially in this Houston area heat. We were looking to see if Vollmer, a big guy who has played defense (high school) and who can run, could fit into our defensive scheme. His ankle injury and him missing spring ball will put a hold onto that idea but we are going to look at Carl Barnett as a defensive end this spring.
JS - Give us some info on new faces that will impact our defense in 2006. Did we sign any newcomers that will play a significant role this year?
AW - Kendall Mouton, a JC transfer, should make an immediate impact on our defense. Hopefully, most of the freshmen will be able to red shirt due to the number of players back in each position. 2005 Red shirt players like Brandon Brinkley, Broderic Bean , Kenny Atkins, Chris Mitchell, Quintan Smith and James Francis should be ready to produce and contribute depth and playmaking abilities.
JS - Speed on the corners burned us consistently in 2005. What's the plan to contain the ends?
AW - In our new scheme we will make some alignment adjustments for our OLB/DE along with some secondary alignment changes that should help support the edges of our defense. A quicker stronger team on the perimeter should help also.
JS - Will we look more like the "wrecking crew" in the future with multiple blitz packages?
AW - We will look like the MAD DOG DEFENSE ( the mad dog defense was around causing havoc long before there was a wrecking crew!!!).
Our motto this spring is to "BRING BACK THE MAD DOGS!!!"
We want players who are physically tough and who give extra effort. We will grade our players on each play based on that principle!
MAD DOG DEFENSE is an attitude. Mean And Determined!!!
To permeate that attitude we plan to use multiple blitz packages as long as we do not overload the players and the players do not become confused. A confused player cannot be an aggressive player and you win with tough, aggressive players giving extra effort (MAD DOGS!!!)
JS - Coach, most of our blitzes last year seemed to get picked up by our opponents. What do we do to be more effective with the blitzes?
We need to disguise our blitzes more, play man in non-blitz situations, and do a better job of defeating blocks on our pass rush.
JS - A lot of our fans have concerns with our corners playing off the line of scrimmage 10 to 12 yards and then not being able to close on quick outs that are gaining 6-8 yards on 1st downs. What are your thoughts on this matter?
Corners need to adjust their coverage alignment and show different looks. YOU can play tight and cover, you can play tight and bail, you can play normal (6-8 yds off) or play off and squat or come up. Do not let the offense know what coverage you are in by your initial alignment. We will not be afraid to line up close and play man.
JS - What was your assessment on the LB play in 2005? What changes will we see in 2006 concerning LBs?
With the exception of Wade Koehl, who played outstanding when he was healthy, our linebacking crew was very young last year. It showed early in that we hesitated due to the speed of the game and in missed tackles and assignments. Most of our linebackers had not played a down of college football at this level and were in a new scheme. What I liked most was their attitude, work habits to get better, and the improvement on the little things that are the most important as the season went on. With a season under their belt, and another spring and two-a- days, the linebacking core should be vastly improved in 2006. With the additional year of experience and the addition of James Francis and Chris Mitchell we should be a group that will play " faster" next season.
JS - What do you see as the strength of our defense this fall?
ATTITUDE ATTITUDE ATTITUDE---along with speed. Coach Jackson has done a GREAT job of emphasizing the extra effort, focus on detail, and tough positive attitude during the offseason program and it will show.!!!!
JS - In the Fort Worth Bowl, we looked flatfooted on defense in the second half. Was that a conditioning issue?
The Fort Worth Bowl results were disappointing. We looked like a team that had not played football for a month. Conditioning was not as much of a factor as the combination of the offense not moving the ball and the defense on the field too much because we could not stop the run or make a critical play on third down. This year, I think you will see a mentally tougher team that will control the LOS on both sides, stop the run, and make the play!
JS - What has been the focus in the off season conditioning?
ATTITUDE, ATTITUDE, ATTITUDE, ALONG WITH SPEED AND STRENGTH.
IT IS NOT WHAT WE ARE DOING BUT RATHER HOW COACH JACKSON IS DOING IT. HE IS BRINGING THE BEST OF WHAT WAS DONE AT A&M DURING THE WRECKING CREW DAYS AND WHAT IS BEING DONE NOW AT OKLAHOMA--TOGETHER AT UH. I HOPE WE CAN PLAY DEFENSE LIKE EITHER OF THOSE GROUPS AND COACH JACKSON HAS US ON THE WAY.
JS - What C-USA team creates the toughest match ups for our Coogs?
Any team in C-USA can match up with any other team on any given night. C-USA is one of the most balanced conferences in the country. There is not a totally dominating team that can play poorly and win and yet any team who prepares and plays well has a chance to win any game!
Good luck this fall in pursuit of our second C-USA Championship.
Thank you and...