Q & A: DB Coach Joe Whitt Jr.

Defensive Backs Coach Joe Whitt Jr. chatted with ITV following Friday's practice about the Cardinal secondary, his father who is a long-time coach at Auburn and Bobby Petrino.

Joe Whitt, Jr., who was literally born in the Auburn University football program, begins his first season coaching the cornerbacks at the University of Louisville after a one-year stint coaching the wideouts at The Citadel.

Whitt, followed his father, Joe Sr., into the collegiate coaching ranks following his playing career at Auburn. A member of the Auburn coaching staff since 1981, the elder Whitt had the opportunity to work alongside former Auburn offensive coordinator and current U of L head coach Bobby Petrino during the 2002 season.

In addition to his defensive backs coaching duties, Coach Whitt also serves as the Cardinals recruiting coordinator.

I caught up with Joe Jr., following Friday's practice.

ITV: There's only a few practice's left in the spring, how do you feel it has gone so far?

Coach Whitt: It's going real good. Guys are learning and competing on both sides of the ball. They are doing a good job learning the new offense and new defense.

ITV: Are you pleased with the talent in the secondary?

Coach Whitt: I'm real pleased, especially with the first unit guys that we have. Laroni Gallishaw and Josh Minkins are better than I thought they were going to be. Gavin Smart is coming along. J.T. Haskins started off a little slow, but he's picking it up now. Safety wise, Kerry Rhodes and Brent Johnson are doing well. Brent is the leader of the group back there and I'm real pleased with him.

ITV: The intensity of their play has seemed to have picked up over this past week.

Coach Whitt: Once you learn the defense you play faster. If you are out there thinking about stuff you just can't react. They are learning how to play it and getting faster.

ITV: With spring practice finishing up next Friday, that means you guys can start hitting the road recruiting again.

Coach Whitt: Next Sunday I'm flying down to Mobile to see if we can get some players up here to visit. I'm the recruiting coordinator and I recruit the southern part of Alabama, the pan handle of Florida and Georgia.

ITV: Do you see some of your father in yourself while you are out there coaching?

Coach Whitt: I told my dad before I started coaching, I said, 'dad I'm not going to coach like you.' Now I coach just like him. It's the way to coach. He's a technique and a fundamental coach, but he gets after it too. He's coming up here next week and it will be the first time that he's seen me coach my own guys, so I'm excited about that.

ITV: Obviously with Bobby Petrino being at Auburn last year the two had a relationship. Did you get to know Bobby pretty well before you joined his staff here?

Coach Whitt: A little bit before I went to The Citadel. Half way into the season while I was at The Citadel my dad called me and said that Bob Petrino is the best offensive coordinator he's ever been around and that was way before we knew he was going to take this job. For my dad to say that...he doesn't say that about many people.


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