Q&A with Coach Hurtt

Defensive Line coach Clint Hurtt spoke with CanesTime.com about how his boys up front are doing so far this spring. Find out what he had to say here.

Q: How is Allen Bailey doing with his switch to defensive end?
A: "I'll tell you what, he plays the position like he's been playing it here for the last three or four years. He's been very, very good. The biggest thing is he has to continue to progress and make sure he doesn't hit that wall and get frustrated. You know there are going to be some tough times. The biggest thing right now is he's got to pick up the little nuances of the position. That's called natural habit. He is such a physically gifted kid and a lot of things come very easily and natural to him."

Q: You said last week that a big thing for him is picking up moves. Are there any moves that he has mastered yet?
A: "The biggest thing is with those arms he has, he's just working on guys outside shoulders. Chopping down offensive linemen's outside arm. As strong as his hands are, he's really good at working outside shoulders. Snatching and pulling on guys jerseys. Obviously, feeling pressure and the movement part is the hard thing. We're working on that stuff. He's slowly getting it but at a faster rate than I expected.

Q: How is Chaz Washington doing so far?
A: "Chaz is making progress. He's learning and coming along a little bit slower but he's coming along and picking things up so we're very excited about him."

Q: You're down five defensive linemen this spring. How has that affected you guys?
A: "We have some guys out but we have to deal with that during the season too. Who ever we have healthy to play are the guys that got to go. The guys that are playing can't make excuses. They can't feel sorry for themselves. If' we're down some players, you just got to go. You go extra reps when we're down in numbers but when our numbers get back, you should never get tired. You should play with your ears pinned back."

Q: How is Marcus Forston doing so far?
A: "He's doing well. Obviously he's very natural to the position and very athletic. The biggest thing is learning how to finish. Understanding that when you're in high school and you're so much better than everyone else, you can get away with doing some things that aren't very fundamentally sound but when you get to this level you can't get away with those things.

Q: Is strength an issue? Does he have to adjust to playing against guys that are so much older than him?
A: "He's strong enough. He's a guy that is extremely strong. Strength is not a problem for him. It's just a matter of your body getting used to the consistent pounding. In high school, you go against a 220 lb guard and the tackle is maybe 260 and it's no big deal. He'll split that. (Joel) Figueroa weighs 340 pounds and (Ian) Symonette is 350 pounds. When that double team comes it's completely different. That's the thing that he has to get used to and he's doing a good job."

Q: Coach Shannon mentioned you and Coach Stoutland were the guys who really pushed for Xavier Shannon to play here. What is it about Xavier that made you guys do this?
A: "I was at FIU for one year and while I was over there I realized that Xavier is a pretty dog gone good football player. If he was taller than six foot one, he would have never been at FIU in the first place. He would've been recruited to come here or Florida State or Florida . The kid has unbelievable feet. He comes from a football family. His football IQ is through the roof. He's an extremely smart kid. He picks things up, plays hard, and has great quickness and great feet. It's hard to get a lineman, with as much as you need depth, to be able to come in and help. He had the opportunity to come in and help us so you can't pass that up."

Q: Is Xavier's personality like his dad's?
A: "No. Randy is going to be quiet and reserved unless he's around people that know him. Xavier is a smart ass. Twenty-four seven, thirty hundred sixty five days a year. He's a pain in the ass."

Q: Coach Shannon has seemed to bend over backwards stressing that there won't be any favoritism. How has that gone over with the team?
A: "No, he just stresses that to you guys so you don't get after him. He doesn't have to do that with the team because they know how he is. He doesn't have favoritism towards anybody. You screw up, you're in the dog house."

Q: New defensive coordinator Bill Young is bringing in his new defensive scheme. How have the defensive coaches come together?
A: "Unbelievable. You'll be hard pressed to find a better person. You'll be hard pressed to find a more knowledgeable guy. It's been an unbelievable experience for the month that we've been with him. To learn what he does, learn the scheme, and understand his organization skills, how he puts things together and how the defense fits together. He's been a pleasure to have and hopefully he's here for a long time."

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