Q: How is Damien James' transition from cornerback to free safety going?
A: Damien had always played free safety, but out of necessity last year we moved him to corner. Athletically, he can play corner because he's a good cover kid. He can play in space, he's got good change of direction, he's got good hips and plays the ball well.
But he's a very smart kid. He understands the scheme and the defense. His move back to free safety is his natural position. He's a good tackler. He's good player and a smart kid. He lines up and makes all the checks.
Q: Will Damien give you something Ryan Clark didn't give you last year?
A: Different players have different strengths. Damien brings some things to the table that maybe Ryan didn't. Ryan was a good football player who brought some other strengths. We're pleased with Damien right now.
Q: How big is Bradie James decision to return to play his senior year?
A: He's going to make us good coaches. Bradie's a tremendous leader. He's very, very intelligent. He's an outstanding football player (who) understands the game of football. He has the intangible things that you want - the heart, desire, savvy. The kid comes back to graduate from college, something he promised his parents.
He's a tremendous leader for us. When he says something, our kids respond to it…
(His decision) shows his love for LSU and this state… He's made a great commitment to our program, and we're very appreciative to have him back.
Q: Are you looking for your front four to put more pressure on the quarterback, and how much nickel do you anticipate playing?
A: Last year, nickel-wise, we ended up in over 50 percent of the time. Most of the teams nowadays are one-back and I know a lot of people are going to it. We're going to match personnel and continue to do that.
There's not question we have to continue to develop a better four-man pass rush, but there's different ways of doing that. We've got develop a better approach to how we're going to affect the quarterback. I think a lot goes into the type of players you've got, and athletically I think we're better than we were last year.
Certainly, missing a Jarvis Green and a Howard Green will hurt but we feel like we've got some guys who can do that. We've got to do a better job of giving some people different looks and giving them more problems in protection…
Q: Who are your best nickel backs?
A: Right now Travis Daniels is the guy that will be on the field. Last year we put Norman LeJeune in our nickel and brought another safety in the game.
Jack Hunt is a guy we brought into our safety position. Randall Gay is a guy who could possibly move inside as well. Those guys are kind of battling it out for the (nickel) position.
Q: What was your reaction when offered the defensive coordinator's job and was distinguishes Nick Saban as a defensive-minded coach?
A: He's got an awful lot of experience, and he's an outstanding football coach. Being that defense is his forte', I welcome that. I welcome the knowledge and experience…because that will help us become a better defense and a better football team. There's no sense in letting a guy stub his toe when he doesn't have to.
…When he approached me about it, I was ecstatic. It's just like anything else – you've got to be in the right place at the right time. That's basically what's happened.
Q: How do you plan to fill the void left by Trev Faulk's departure?
A: We left spring with Lionel Turner and Jason LeDoux, two kids who besides Bradie are our best two inside backers, at the Mike and Will position. It remains to be seen who's going to step up and fill those roles.
Lionel is a more athletic kid that Trev. Jason has better numbers athletically than Trev. Trev was a very smart kid that understood the game, had a great passion for the game and was an outstanding leader. We'll miss those qualities, but athletically we're going to take a step up.
You're going to lose the experience factor and those sort of things that you've obviously got to compensate for. But we haven't practiced and I'm kind of waiting to see who takes a step forward and says ‘it's my job.'
Q: Are you going to coach from the field of in the press box?
A: This is something coach Saban and I talked about, and I feel it would be better suited for me to stay on the field right now and call it from there. I feel comfortable doing that. I've done it before, so that's why I feel that would be better.