DEMAREE: Youth brings speed to defense

The easiest way for a couple of newcomers to get on the field these days is to possess the speed and quickness to get to the quarterback. One of the greatest flaws in the UK's past defensive thrusts is to get to the quarterback on passing downs.

A couple of newcomers at the defensive end position, J.D. Craigman and Jamil Paris are making their presence felt in that particular facet of the defensive arsenal. They have the bodies and speed to bring speed rushing ability to the table. So defensive coordinator Mike Archer has been using them as specialist on third downs and obvious passing situations.

"I'm so anxious," Craigman said prior to the Ole Miss game. "I can't wait for Ole Miss to get some SEC action." Last week, he said he burned a lot of night oil studying film. He said he stayed over at Nutter until 11:30 one night last week. "After soaking up as much as I can, then I discuss it with coach Petrie."

Archer noted that depth was improved. "The difference this year is that we have people at defensive end we can substitute and play, so consequently we can keep people fresh. Dominic Lewis, Nii Adjei (Oninku), Durrell (White), and Jeremy Jarmon do a good job on first and second downs. J.D. and Jamil are good speed rushers. And then you throw Travis Day in there and we have seven bodies we can play at various points in the game."

Defensive line coach Rick Petrie agreed. "With J. D., Everything is in front him," Petrie said. He asks questions. He wants to be good. He has a shorter clock that most players. At times, he shows a higher level of maturity than the rest of the players."

Craigman said his job is to get defections, hurries, and sacks. "I feel like I can do anything when I get pumped up," he said. Recently in the Texas State game he got three pass defections and in the Ole miss game, he got a crucial fumble recovery.

Craigman, a junior college transfer, hasn't played much football. In high school he concentrated strictly on basketball. Craigman believes he made a wise choice. Pass blocks were far more pleasing than a 360 degree dunk, he said, because it was on a much bigger stage and it gets the fans pumped up.

Paris is a tall, rangy 6-foot-6 athletic player. Paris said that he loves the position he plays on the team, since most freshmen don't even play. "My goal was to play as a freshman," Paris said. "School-wise, it is really tough. I have assignments I didn't even know I had. I'm working on my run defense now learning how to step and how to use my techniques."

Paris said he played basketball as a ninth and tenth grader and has been able to dunk the basketball for a long time. "There's nothing compared to getting a sack," Paris enthusiastically added. "Back in the summer when I reported, I was 218-pounds and now I'm 230-pounds. I plan to one day get to 260-pounds and I want to be the best pass rusher in the league."

Paris said that if a stopwatch was put on him, he said he would run a 4.51 or 2. With that speed and with some additional weight and strength, he could very well achieve his goal of being the pass rusher in the league. For now Archer feels that using these guy in the passing situations, he can best utilize those skills.

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