Steve Robertson - Genespage.com

Thursday Q&A with Manny Diaz

Read on to see what defensive coordinator Manny Diaz was saying following Thursday's practice.

Manny Diaz, Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers Coach
On what a possible full contact scrimmage could mean for the defense…
“Well, I don’t know what kind of defense we have. I know if we were playing two below the waist, like we have been the last three weeks, then we could be okay. But that is when we find out, too, because what happens in practice verbally is that you touch the quarterback, and you say he is down and guys feel good about themselves. But in a game, he is not down. Those quarterbacks, when they know that they don’t have the force field around them, they behave differently. So I think it is a good reality check for everybody. And not to mention it adds the element of the quarterback run game. So, it forces guys to stay disciplined in their assignments. And that is a challenge because to defeat the people we have to defeat in our league, we have got to be sound in the quarterback run game.” 

 

On redshirt junior linebacker Darrion Owens…
“Yeah, we like the way that he performed in our offseason program. It felt like he was sort of one of the top three linebackers in terms of his effort and technique in our matchup program. And I think with him it’s his confidence and he is moving around better and certainly he is a big, strong, physical guy. Now he’s got to trust himself to go and go play like that. And trying to teach him to be a bully and to be a big strong guy. I’ll be curious to see how he plays on Saturday.”

 

On redshirt sophomore Jamie Gordinier…
“Well, it is like what we always do. We throw everybody back out there and give everybody a shot. He’s got position flexibility, he can play the Mike and the Will position. He is a smart guy, so he understands both positions. Like what we always do, we have basically our entire linebacker room here plus [signee De’Andre] Wilder. And we know where Wilder brings a skill set that not a lot of guys in that room have. So now the battle for Mike and Will and sort of the batting order of how we will come will really be determined in August camp.”

 

On the freshman in spring practice and if they are beginning to settle in…
“If anything, they swim more now. The general curve, and it was no different with [sophomore linebacker] Shaq [Quarterman] and those guys last spring, they played better in their first week and a half. The more we coached them, the worse they got, right? Because now they start to remember all the corrections. It is like me on the golf course. The more I try to fix my swing, the worse it gets. And then eventually they will overcome our coaching, and finally start to relax and play better.”


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