Earlier this week IU cornerback Rashard Fant met with media and talked about how nice it is to be back out on the practice field doing football drills instead of strength and conditioning work. Peegs.com has video and a transcript of what the talented Hoosier said.
Q – Talk about how exciting it is to get back out on the field and do some actual football stuff instead of just conditioning workouts.
RASHARD FANT: I think anytime you get back on the field it’s exciting. Doing (conditioning) drills and lifting weights is not really football fully. So getting back out there and being with the team and flying around, and I know even more so when we get pads on and people get to hit. It will be a little more physical and I know everybody is excited and I’m excited. I just can’t wait to see what else happens throughout spring.
Q – With all the returning production returning you guys have coming back from last season, is there any different feeling just maybe thinking there is a higher starting point for you guys as a defense?
RASHARD FANT: I think there is a lot of production, but we’ve also got to make sure we perform again. It’s a new year so all those numbers are from last year. We’ve got to go in and hold that standard again, but we can get even a little bit better, myself included. I know it starts with me, it starts with Tegray (Scales). We’ve got to better ourselves and then we know everybody else will follow. So just continue to get better knowing that we’re older and we can be even smarter and make some better decisions on the defensive side because we’re older and it’s expected of us. It is exciting to see this new year what we can do.
Q – As a senior what do you get out of spring practice that you really didn’t get out of it as a younger age?
RASHARD FANT: I think when you’re younger you’re just trying to make plays no matter what, so you don’t care if you’re technique is bad, you don’t care, you’re just trying to make the play. Being older now, there is more focus on things I need at the next level and going against the great receivers in the Big Ten. For me personally, it is just focusing on my technique each and every play, so not false-stepping because that is a second off that good receiver, h is going to get the benefit of the doubt. So just trying to tighten up everything and be faster and be not as handsy on some routes and just use more technique all around because at the next level I know for sure that is what it is all about.
Q – I am assuming there are not any major changes in terms of the defensive style. Basically the same defense and the same approach?
RASHARD FANT: It is the same defense but we probably didn’t even have 75 percent of our defense in last year because it was so new. So now it is taking it to the next level. We’re older, we’re smarter, and we know the basic defense so just adding in little things here and there like every defense does to stay ahead and make themselves better.
Q – Can you be more aggressive as a defense to get more pressure on the quarterback to maybe play more man (coverage)?
RASHARD FANT: I don’t know if you can say be more aggressive. I know playing corner we’re blitzing in there man all the time, myself especially, so I feel like we blitz and play man and maybe if anything they might run different stunts. But I just hold it down on the back end and my big guys and linebackers got that part handled.
Q – It seems like they are starting spring practice earlier and earlier now. As a player do you like it or would you rather wait until after spring break?
RASHARD FANT: I love it. We did it like this my freshman year. You get a week and about four or five practices before spring break and get a little breather break and come back. It spaces out the practices more so you can keep your body fresher, and it just doesn’t seem as long like when it is all after spring break for me personally and some other guys. It just seems so long and we have a lot of back-to-backs and that is a lot on your body, especially with the freshmen not being here yet because the numbers are not as much. I know right now we’re only four or five corners right now so it is a lot different than in fall camp when we’ll have seven, eight, nine. There is a lot more rotation so I think having a week out to get under our belts before spring break really helps you and breaks you in.
Q – Have you been working with punt return? Someone has to replace Mitchell (Paige). What do you think you can bring to that position?
RASHARD FANT: I’m just excited given the opportunity. I’ll be excited to be back there. I had four (returns) last year and having Mitchell back there was kind of comforting for my first time really going back. This year hopefully I can get the job and just be able to do some of the things I did in high school back there in the college game and see if I can make some plays and change the game. That’s the big thing, I want to be that Adoree’ Jackson type, that guy that goes back there and people have to worry about him taking a punt to the house, or just flipping the field for our offense, which is going to be dynamic again. I am excited to be back there. I’ve been working with J-Shun (Harris), and Shane (Wynn) taught us some things that he’s learned in the league (NFL). So just been working on those and catching some extra balls and making sure I’m ready.