On how many players he expects to be a part of the rotation versus North Dakota State:
I'll be shocked if everybody that we take to the motel, if they don't play. I would think all of our defensive linemen, I know all of our linebackers will play and I would think, I'll be shocked if all the defensive backs don't play.
On whether or not he would consider sliding any of the team's defensive ends down to tackle, in order to help address the team's depth concerns at the position:
I would think later in the season that may be a possibility. The first two teams we're going to play are going to be very physical, run right at you, power type football. After that we'll start getting in to more spread out type offenses. So there's a chance at that point there could be some of those guys move inside.
Like I said, we're going to do what we need to do to manufacture depth. If we need to move one of those guys inside, we'll do that.
On the challenge of facing a wide variety of offenses during the non-con portion of the schedule:
There's no question (it is a challenge). In today's game of football you'd better be ready every week for something a little different. We're getting ready to play really the first four games of the season, and all of them have uniqueness in what they do.
Of course, first game we'll face a lot of two back set which is in today's game of football a little bit unusual. Then of course you go to the second week with Georgia Tech playing wingbone which is basically a modern-day wishbone. And then you go to the third week where you're gonna be basically playing a spread out offense and a team that can run it and throw it. And then new Mexico state brings about the same thing to the table. So we're playing basically three or four different offenses the first four weeks.
But, all that said, it will help us prepare for the Big 12 schedule which is right down the road.
On how the coaching staff prepares the defense for that variety without overwhelming them:
You know, our offense is a very, very multiple offense. So they give us a lot of different things to look at, which enables us to be prepared for other teams we'll play throughout the year. The only really unique one of the whole bunch as far as not getting as many reps by our offense is Georgia Tech, and that's quite obvious (as to why). That's the reason Georgia Tech has won as many ball games as they've won the last two years.
We're going to have our hands full the first week. Been very, very impressed with North Dakota State on video. They run the ball extremely well, very, very patient. They understand exactly what they're trying to do. They've got an outstanding play action passing game, and they've got two really tall tight ends and both of them catch the ball extremely well. They remind you a lot of our tight ends in a lot of ways, except they're taller. We'll have our hands full.
The thing that scares you about them is that they're very, very patient, and I think they're very satisfied to get the ballgame into the fourth quarter and have a chance to win. First game of the season last year against Iowa State they about did that.
On how successful Toben Opurum can be at linebacker while running on instinct, considering he's still undergoing a crash course on playing defense:
You need to know what you're doing. He's still struggling a little bit. I say struggling, he's made a lot of improvement but he's still not completely where he needs to be as far as the complete understanding of the defense. We've tried to keep it as simple for him as we possible can, while we're trying to teach alignment, assignment and technique.
But all that said, he does have I think an outstanding nose for the football, he uses his hands very well, he's a big guy that's physical, he looks like a linebacker. So in my mind there was no question that the day he moved over there he helped us get better at linebacker because we needed more depth at linebacker and he gave us that.
On how many snaps Opurum might see against NDSU:
That's a pretty good question. I think it probably depends on the personnel package we put on the field, but I would hope between probably 10-20 snaps. Maybe more, maybe less – who knows? But he will play this weekend for sure.
On what Opurum's responsibilities will be on the field at this stage in his development:
We're not going to put him in a situation where he has to come out there and start thinking about what he's getting ready to try to do. We want him to be able to turn loose and run to the football and be physical at the point of attack. So we're going to make sure when he is in the ballgame that he knows what he's doing and can line up right, and be physical when he's in there and run to the ball.
If he's able to that, he'll improve week by week. The thing you've got to realize is he's still a young football player. So he's got, I think, a bright future ahead of him.