Defensive Coordinator Mark D’Onofrio
How important is depth at the defensive line?
“You want to have depth up front. You want to have guys that can wreck the game up front, there’s no question about it. Every place that I’ve ever been, those are the guys that you’re trying to get. The best thing it does is creates competition. When it creates competition guys cant get complacent, they have to get better every day, they cant just say ‘well I’m going to play. Who else are they going to play?’”
Are the freshmen ready to make an immediate impact?
“They certainly have the ability to. Now whether they have to play or not this year is going to be based on how everything goes. But straight numbers wise, as you look at us now, you could say ‘in another year.’ I could tell you certainly this year they are going to have to earn it and they certainly could.”
What is the biggest change in the defense this year?
“The two biggest things that stand out are the depth at defensive line and safety position. You hear a lot of people talking about wanting to be built strong up the middle and we certainly, with [Raphael] Kirby at middle linebacker and the defensive line and depth at the safety position, feel really good about that.”
Offensive Coordinator James Coley
On Mark Walton
“He reminds me a lot of Joe [Yearby], but he just didn’t have the broken ankle, and he’s a lot stronger than Joe was his freshman year. He’s about 198 [pounds] right now, so he’s not a small running back.”
On his QB unit:
“I like where Brad’s at right now. Brad’s got to continue to be the consistent guy he is every day, because he’s been that. He’s been the same guy every day. That’s really hard to do….It’s hard to be consistent. The great one’s are. That’s what I love about Brad right now. I’m not even talking about his production on the field. I think that he will continue to be that great team leader for us. I think that everybody has confidence in him, he has confidence in his play. He shows that confidence with his preparation to the coaches.”
Have you ever been around another 19-year-old that can handle the pressure as well as (Brad) Kaaya?
“Not at Quarterback. I think that quarterback is hard because everybody leans on you, and again, it changes, who you are every day. So, I haven’t been around a quarterback this young who has done it, but I think part of it is the way he grew up. He has got great parents. The other part is [that] he’s a good young man. He makes the right choices, and it allows him to be aggressive with what he wants to achieve what his goals are. So, he’s able to really give what some people may not be able to give because they’ve got all these things happening around them. He’s able to say “my life’s very simple, therefore I can attack my job and be aggressive and work hard.”