BONUS FEATURE: Coach Walton talks about his first year as the defensive coordinator:
PLAYER NOTES• DE Calais Campbell, CB Doug Wiggins, and the safeties were praised by Walton today for their performances in Saturday's scrimmage.
• Campbell sets the table with his effort at right defensive end, but other players have been stepping up such as DE Eric Moncur and DT Teraz McCray.
• S Kenny Phillips must step up as a leader in his junior season. As a two-year starter, Phillips is one of the most experienced players on the team. "He has to take over the leadership role and make sure he does the right things," Walton said.
• CB Carlos Armour has been receiving more work on the first team this spring than in the past. He is healthy now and looking to make an impact in the secondary. He's the tallest corner on the team and is one to watch this season.
• A number of cornerbacks including Armour, Chavez Grant and Wiggins are receiving more playing time with the injuries to Glenn Sharpe and Bruce Johnson. With Sharpe and Johnson out, it gives opportunities for the young players to go up against a capable receiving corps.
• LB Tavares Gooden continues to wear a neck roll as a precautionary measure to avoid any reoccuring neck problems. Gooden is taking a different approach to this season than in year's past. As a sign of maturity he is just trying to fit in any way possible as opposed to the lofty goals he has set in the past. Gooden, a starter as a sophomore in 2004, is expected to start on the outside in a 4-3 defense.
• LB Colin McCarthy continues to impress coach Walton. McCarthy is another young player that could see himself in the regular rotation this season. Known as a strong tackler and excels in pass protection as well, McCarthy is looking good in the two-deep.
• Walton feels there are a number of guys on the offensive side of the ball that have been tougher for his defense to handle such as: WR Lance Leggett, RB Javarris James, RB Graig Cooper, TE Chris Zellner, QB Kyle Wright, and QB Kirby Freeman.
Christopher Stock can be reached at email@example.com