Tuesday Q&A with Mark D'Onofrio

Read on to see what defensive coordinator Mark D'Onofrio was saying on Tuesday as the team prepares for a big home game against Nebraska.

On Nebraska’s new offense:
We have two games on them with their new offense with the new staff. We are starting to get a feel for their personnel and what their offensive philosophy is. They have a really good offensive line, very athletic backs. They’re very shifty. The quarterback is a run or pass threat. He has guys who can make plays on the perimeter. They’re starting to find what their philosophy is.

On preparing for a new offense:
We have to do the best job we can so we’re prepared for whatever. That’s something we will always do. We will make sure we have an idea of what can potentially happen.

On their new starting RB:
I think he has exceptional lateral quickness where he can cut and move laterally and run away from guys. That’s a tough trait in a running back. If you stop your feet he’s gone. That’s his greatest trait.

On Trent Harris playing some OLB today:
In our defense, we list guys as our sam and rush positions but they’re both outside linebackers. Those guys meet together. Kareem coaches them together. At the end of the day there’s not much different. It’ll be a couple slight things different but he’s a smart guy and can go there and help us out if need be.

On Juwon Young’s return to practice today:
We’ve needed him. It’s been unfortunately not having him around. Juwon hasn’t played much football. He’s very talented.. He did a great job staying involved when he was out. He prepared as if he was playing. I liked what I saw from him today. He plays the mike linebacker, the same as Kirby plays.

On things he liked from Friday:
There were a lot of good things. I will focus on that. We took the ball away. We had great unity and rallied from a tough position. I thought we tackled really well in the second half. Early on we had guys out of gaps and they had some explosive plays. They had good players, had almost 600 yards in the opener. I thought our guys were awesome. We had great unity and great leadership. We finished the game strong.. Our guys finished hard and I liked that.

On rotating so many guys the first two weeks:
I think we have to. When you play down here in September with the heat, you have to play a lot. That’s to our benefit and I think that’s why we finished strong in the second half Friday night. That’s part of our philosophy.

On which players played the most:
I don’t know off the top of my head. Kirby has played a lot. Tyriq ended up playing a lot because of Darrion getting hurt. We had a lot of rotation on the interior defensive line, at outside linebacker, and in the secondary. No starter played over 30 snaps.


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