Mike Pelton Q&A

If you missed the audio after Monday's practice here's the transcript.

Q:  Talk to us a little about the defensive line and how things stand now after two scrimmages where you've had the chance to really study the tape from those scrimmages.  How is the position battle shaking out?


Pelton:  The first group is making some plays and doing some good things, but it's still the same thing.  We're trying to find guys to come out, work every day.  Right now the second group has to step it up.  If one of them guys goes down in the first group, none of those guys understands the importance of being a back up.


Q:  Your front four have stayed consistent?


Pelton:  It's consistent with everything.  They're the most consistent group right now.  Overall on the defensive line, we're just trying to find some depth and keep those guys understanding that we've got to find depth.  Like we say, you never know.  You're one player from being a starter.  We're putting a lot of pressure on them to perform.  Right now they're doing fine.  We've just got to continue to climb and work. 


Q:  Are their any positions you're more or less concerned about?


Pelton:  There's more depth in the defensive ends.  The inside guys…we're trying to back the front guys up.  We're just trying to work those young guys and get some depth and go from there.  We've got a little more time and I'm excited about them and hopefully they'll respond to the pressure being put on them.


Q:  How are they responding to the heat?


Pelton:  We just have to push them through.  Everyone has to work in it, we have to coach in it and we're not giving them any excuses.  We've got to be out there in it…we've got work to get done and they have to respond.  They trained in it all summer.  They just have to respond.


Q:  Are the junior college guys you brought in progressing like you hoped?


Pelton:  Probably the one ahead of everyone right now is Chris Lyle.  He's doing a great job in the pass situation, but you have to understand you've got to stop the run.  I'm excited about Chris.  Mike Tate's been a guy that's overcome some injuries, but we still expect some big things from him later on. 


Q:   Kurtis Taylor…I know you didn't see him before he got hurt, but is there any indication that he's not 100%?


Pelton:  No.  He's not showing any ill effects.  The thing about Kurtis, I've never seen him injured…I don't know anything about his injury, but he's doing a great job.  I'm still applying pressure to him and he's responding.  I'm excited for Kurtis and I hope he can stay injury free.  I'm really excited about the things that he's doing. 


Q:  You've got the Frere brothers:  Nick down front and Nate inside.  Are they going to help you this year?


Pelton:  I expect one of them to.  You know, Nate is working through a finger deal that he's having a problem with and Nick is running second team.  I'm excited about both of them.  I think both of them are excited about the chance to play and that's all you can ask.


Q:  If there is an order in terms of depth, who's running at the ones, the twos…


Pelton:  The first group is Tupelo, Braaksma, and Kurtis, and Rashawn Parker and then the other side is Eddie Johnson and right now is Alburtis, (unintelligible) and on the outside is Nick Frere running second and Travis Ferguson and Chris Lyle.  Right now, we're in a 10-man defensive line chase.  I expect anybody that's not in that 10-man race to step up. 


Q:  Coach, you said at media day that you were looking for some on-field leadership.  Is that leadership starting to immerge?


Pelton:  I'm starting to see more of it.  Everyday you see more and more guys step up when things are going bad and that's how we're coaching them.  Some guys like Braaksma…he don't say much, but he tries to do everything right.  I see here and there guys showing a little bit of emotion, it's just something we try to get them to learn and do just to be enthusiastic and encourage team mates.  But, to encourage teammates you've got to make sure you're doing it right.  I think guys understand that this is going to be the way.  I think they're starting to understand what we demand and when they understand what we demand, that's what they'll start doing.


Q:  Coach, you said the running game was a big part of the scrimmage.  You said that earlier last spring stopping the run was where your manhead lives.  How does this defensive line do against the run in the scrimmage?


Pelton:  I'll tell you what, a lot of that's based on a lot of fifths.  The thing about playing the run is you've got to be sound with your fifths and you've got to be strong up front.   I think last Saturday, we had trouble stopping the run, but it could have been many things.  It could have been not being physical enough.  I can't say it was just not being physical enough because at times we were very physical.  We were out of our fifths.  Right now we're just trying to be consistent and be as physical as we can.


Q:  Do you see Braaksma playing any defensive ends or is he going to be too valuable inside?


Pelton:  Right now he's valuable inside, but who knows what the season's hold.  I'd love to give him the opportunity to get out there, but right now he's playing so sound inside.  You just don't want to screw that up and move him because he's playing so sound inside.  Even though he's on the side, you'd never know that from watching the film.


Q:  Have you been moving guys around since spring ball?


Pelton:    No, I've been pretty consistent with where they're supposed to be.  Some of them play different ends, but they've pretty much been ends and inside guys.

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