Campbell Adjusts to RE

With four defensive ends returning with at least one game starting experience under their belts, the competition has become fierce for the top positions on the depth chart.

With Baraka Atkins' move back to defensive end, sophomore Calais Campbell has had to learn the position from the right side of the defensive line.

Campbell has played left end his whole football career, so making the switch was a little awkward at first. He had to switch his hands in his stance and adjust his moves so they would work coming from a different side.

Campbell was a step late in the beginning of spring, but now he is starting to get more comfortable with the right defensive end position.

"I am used to playing on the left side, so it feels a little awkward right now," Campbell said. "I need to stay low and use my hands a lot more. I want to work on the technical stuff with my hands."

"It is real competitive out there," Campbell said. "Everybody wants to play so everybody is going hard. It is a challenge to go out there and get on the field. Everyday I want to get as many reps as I can and go at each rep real hard."

Campbell has enjoyed learning from new defensive line coach John Palermo this spring. Palermo likes to focus on the technical side of the defense, a variable that Campbell wants to improve in his game.

"Coach Palermo is a real good coach, I like him a lot," Campbell said. "He is real technical, he gets on you about the little things which I think a lot of us need. It helps with that split second of a difference between making a play and not making a play."

"He is a real respectable guy, but he is cool. You can laugh and joke around with him, but he is a get on the ball type of guy too."

Of all the young talented defensive linemen, Campbell has been most impressed with redshirt freshman Courtney Harris. Harris starred on the scout team last season and has translated that success to spring football.

"Courtney is a pure talent," Campbell said. "We call him 2000 moves because on the pass rush all the different kinds of moves that he does. He is looking good out there and getting better in the running game and playing low."

Campbell currently weighs 265 pounds and he would like to add 10 to 15 pounds to his 6-foot-8 frame by the beginning of the season.

Campbell says he has noticed a difference in attitude and play from the offensive line this spring. The unit is more productive than last year's unit.

"The O-Line is looking good," Campbell said. "Especially on pass rush, they are doing a lot better. In the running game, they have been opening up a couple of holes. Me and Chris Rutledge have a little competitive thing going just to make it a little interesting and intense. It is real fun."

And which offensive lineman has given Campbell the most problems?

"I would have to say Reggie Youngblood," he said. "I have to give him a lot of props. He has been working hard all year and he has good balance and is hard to get by. I can still get him pretty good though."

David Lake is a Staff Writer with CanesTime and can be contacted by emailing him at

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