D'Onofrio recaps first scrimmage

Read on to see what defensive coordinator Mark D'Onofrio is saying a couple days after the team's first fall scrimmage.

On Sunday's scrimmage:
I think we're moving in the right direction. The first scrimmage, we did some things but I wanna see improvement in open field tackling and pursuit. Generally the first one is sloppy because you don't tackle live in practice. That needs to improve the next scrimmage. We talk about finishing. We need better effort to the ball. Some things showed up that I like but those are two things I wanna see.

On David Gilbert's role:
It's all gonna be determined by what we see. We're excited about his experience and what he has.

On his progress:
We're going on a day by day basis. I haven't (seen him live) but we were excited about what we saw to bring him in here. We brought him in here thinking he'll be healthy and that he can help us.

On the D-Line depth:
We're stronger at the point of attack. These new guys will give us more depth and more competition. That's what we need, guys competing against each other daily. That helps at any position. That's the best way to improve a team.

On Olsen Pierre:
Olsen Pierre has been playing defensive tackle for us. Hes had a really good camp. He improved the second half last season, then in the spring, and now during training camp.

On the pass rush:
We're starting to see guys show up. McCord is starting to show up. Quan Muhammad is showing he can help us.

On the young cornerbacks:
A lot of progress. Tracy is such a great student of the game. It's easy to work with guys like that. He wants to talk football all the time. Antonio hit a wall last year but really came on in the spring. Those guys really like football. They;'ll talk about it, work at it.

On mistakes they made as freshmen:
They realize quickly that it's not high school. Coverages get mixed up. You have to be able to mix it up. Attention to detail is what usually gets them. This group is willing to work at it.

On the goal of the defense:
Find the ball, get the call. Every day. If you're pursuing as hard as you can, you'll eventually get to the ball and then look to the side to get the next call.

On the improved pass rush:
It's about technique. I mentioned it the other day. It's about each guy sticking to what their technique. If he's not an elite speed rusher, you gotta have techniques. When you counter, what do you go to? Jethro does a good job identifying that. I think it's about staying who they are, what their strengths are as pass rushers, and working on it.

On who the top pass rushers are:
McCord and Muhammad are our fastest guys off the edge. Hopefully Gilbert, pass rushing can come from the middle too. You can take some faster guys and move them down outside. Whatever it takes to get the best 4, you gotta have depth there. You have to bring fresh guys out. We're gonna need all of them. We need to create a nice two deep of situations.

On Duke and Morris:
Just Duke's versatility, his make you miss ability. He has great lateral quickness, burst, and speed. And Stephen is a really smart quarterback. He can make the throws. They're great players, we love having them, and its good for us to compete against every day.


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