Jimmy's just putting it all together. He started slow in the beginning but once he got going, he was the quarterback or our defense making all the calls and adjustments. He's a hard worker, tough, working things we gave him to work on. Raphael has put on a lot of weight. That freshman year he was getting baptized in everything. He's a lot more confident.
On Jimmy Gaines:
Jimmy's always been a leader, since day one here. He's very mature for his age. He has one of those Ray Charles souls. His parents did a great job raising him. He knows what it takes to work. A lot of kids now are spoiled. Jimmy is old school. Now heading into his senior season, a lot of guys go to him with questions. Jimmy is one of the foundations, one of the leaders, of this team.
On whether being small can hold you back early on:
Not really. Like Sean Spence was mature but he was only 200 pounds. He started as a freshman. Denzel Perryman was underweight. In our scheme, an NFL type scheme, you can have success. Coach D puts guys in position to be successful. They will study, prepare, and do the things that will give him an advantage.
On Alex Figueroa:
He's a very mature guy, handles his business well. He works on his game. He has the right mindset. His parents did a good job. He's tough, he's physical. He's like a grown man out there. He'll do well.
On what he wants from his unit:
With all our linebackers, we make sure they know the defense. I always talk about the term ‘Let's EAT'. Effort. Attitude. Technique. Just making sure those things are in order. Every time you step on the field, you're giving 100 percent effort. Every time you got a positive attitude, you know your assignment and you're working on your technique—working on your skill—because talent is never enough.
On correcting mistakes:
It takes time. I try to make it easy on them. I don't care if you make mistakes. Show me what you do. The things I've learned with great athletes is if you make them think, they don't play fast. You don't learn to walk or speak in a day. It's a process. If you're not in there, you better be paying attention, taking notes. If you're on the field, the only thing I'll get on you about is effort. Just get to the ball. Then they're not worried about making mistakes.. Eventually when they put in the time, they'll learn it. Then they wake up and they got it. I'm holding them accountable in that regard.