Nicolas on new defense: not much thinking

Joseph Nicolas is entering his second year at Miami and the talented safety is excited about the new defense Bill Young is installing. caught up with him to talk about that and many other things.

Q: How has practice been going so far?
A: It is going good. We are getting a lot done. It has been real smooth so far, but we still have a lot of work to do. The tempo has been really fast. Coach Shannon preaches to have fast and short practices, instead of having a long practice and getting nothing done.

Q: What unit have you been playing with so far?
A: I have been playing with the 1s and 2s. It rotates every day.

Q: How many safeties have been playing corner due to the lack of depth there right now?
A: We have seen that a lot. Randy Phillips and Anthony Reddick have been playing corner often.

Q: The departures of Kenny Phillips and Willie Cooper open up a lot of playing time. How exciting is that for you guys?
A: We still have to compete though. We have to get our job done. We will not get anything handed to us.

Q: How is Coach Young's defense?
A: This defense allows you to just go out there and play. There is not a lot of thinking involved. Last year we had to think a lot, but this year we just go out there and play football.

Q: What are the specific differences from last year?
A: There is a lot more zone this year. We bring a lot of zone blitzes. We disguise what we do well. We are still pressing and sticking receivers.

Q: How good is it to finally get the pads on and start hitting?
A: It has been really good. We have been waiting since November. It was good to get that first hit out of the way and get rolling.

Q: Who has looked impressive so far?
A: Aldarius Johnson and Leonard Hankerson have really stood out. The receivers are making some big plays. All the DBs are contributing also. We should be a solid unit this year.

Q: How was the passing game looked so far?
A: They have looked better. We have all been working since the day after the Boston College game and it shows. The QBs and WRs have good chemistry out there. The freshmen have come in and have not missed a beat.

Q: How tough of an adjustment is it for the early enrollees?
A: It is a big learning experience. The biggest transition I think is having to wake up early for workouts and meetings. That was the toughest thing for me. It is a real tough adjustment.

Q: What is your weight right now?
A: I am at 202, but I want to get to 205. I want to bulk up a little bit to get ready for some of the tight ends and big backs we face.

Q: What are your goals this spring?
A: My goal right now is to be a starter. I want to get on the field this year. It was tough not being able to see the field much last year.

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