Shannon Talks Defense

Read on to find out what Randy Shannon is saying about each position group on defense, where improvement needs to happen, and the status of some injured players and more...

On Glenn Cook:
On gameday, you gotta be out there helping out. He continues doing that and he's been helping out a lot. Sometimes players come to watch film on their own and Cook will meet with them to watch it on their own. He's very smart, meets with them. He's a lot of me -- probably a better athlete. He's faster than I was. I wouldn't be surprised if one day he's a coach if he wants to be.

On losing Antonio Dixon:
We're OK. We have Josh Holmes. He played well last week. You got Teraz McCray, got Dwayne Hendricks, got Joe Joseph. We've got bodies. It aint going to be a big, big factor. Those guys play well too.

On the linebacker situation:
We're banged up. Romeo Davis is out. Colin McCarthy is probably 50/50. Tavares Gooden is OK. Darryl Sharpton will see more playing time this week. (We have) Spencer Adkins, Eric Houston, and the big kid (Allen) Bailey we have've got four (or five) linebackers.

On how they'll do in Saturday's heat without much depth:
They gotta earn their scholarships. That's all you got. You can't make excuses. Linebacker is supposed to be like running back, those guys are supposed to be in the best shape of your team. Those guys know what it takes, they've been doing it all year. It comes down to (being) mentally (tough). I tell them if you want rest, go three-and-out. If you don't want rest, go eight-and-out.

On Darryl Sharpton's return:
This will be his first (extensive) time really playing (linebacker this year). He's been playing special teams a little here and there. He's not where he needs to be right now.

On Willie Cooper:
He's doing a phenomenal job. He doesn't have all the talent but Willie's a guy you can depend on to make plays, tackle well, get in position to win the game. No (on a possible switch to linebacker). Willie's only 205 -- he aint 215, 230 like he used to be.

On getting better play from the defensive ends:
They should be. Sometimes what you guys don't see, it's kind of like when people call max protection and keep seven in. You have four rushers and it's kinda hard. Somebody's gonna be single. That guy needs to make that play. We're going to work on max protecting (in practice), getting those guys frustrated up front. We're gonna max protect and one guy will be free and see if he can respond to it. We have to do it in practice, make those guys see it. They need work on it.

On Lovon Ponder:
We'll be playing a lot more this week.

On the cornerbacks making plays:
I don't know. We can't keep going out there and giving up big plays, big runs when corners can't make tackles. We work on it in practice -- our corners making tackles. We practiced it all week long and the corners didn't get the job done (against North Carolina). If they're gonna continue doing that, we'll make changes and find guys that wanna make tackles.

On the rotation at cornerback:
It'll be Glenn (Sharpe), Bruce (Johnson), DeMarcus (Van Dyke), and Carlos will be the fourth guy. We gotta find somebody out there who can get it done. They've been average. Glenn's been ready, just has to practice and get ready. He did a great job against Duke. Now he's at corner in a battle with those three guys. They all rotate. Carlos is the fourth guy automatically.

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