How would you assess the secondary through the first three games?
"Well, we have got to eliminate the deep ball. We have given up a lot of deep balls that we have to make plays on. That is something we can't allow because it takes the air out of our defense. We have to eliminate the play over the top. That has been the most disappointing thing."
What was the cause of the big plays against Louisville?
"The guys on defense have to make plays and go up for the ball and get it. We have to win that battle. It is like a rebound in basketball. When it is you and another guy, somebody is going to come away with the football."
Did Louisville do anything that confused the secondary?
"No, not at all we have to make plays when that opportunity comes. That is what happens during the course of a game—some teams will make a play and some won't. If you don't make a play, you are going to allow them to keep drives alive. We have to make sure that we can make plays that will end drives."
A lot of times on the big plays, there was no safety help or late safety help. Was that a product of play action passing?
"No, that is what we had called. The corners just have to make a play."
Who has played well in the secondary this season?
"Right now, the safeties are playing solid—Lovon Ponder and Brandon Merriweather. Those guys are doing the best job as far as being the most consistent."
Do you still like playing Merriweather at the nickel corner?
"Yes, he has played there for the last three years. He is a good cover guy and a blitz guy. We have good faith in Lovon Ponder and Kenny Phillips in the back. He has been playing the nickel and dime spot for the last three years."
What has Ponder done that has impressed you?
"Lovon is playing well. He has been a bright spot on the team as far as guys that have made a lot of improvement from last year. He is real consistent, studies the game, and has great instincts. He is a solid player who I trust a lot."
David Lake can be reached at email@example.com
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