Number one, I think they're mature beyond their age. You talk about Brandon (Harris), he's only a sophomore and he just has a lot of instincts. He's a smart player, knows where the ball is, has an understanding of knowing what's going to happen. Vaughn was gonna be our starter against Florida State but he got banged up in training camp. We held him out of that first game and he's steadily made an impact. He did a great job last week of getting us lined up more than anything. I was scared to death going into the game that we might not get lined up against the fast tempo. He did a great job of fixing mistakes out there. That was great to see. Coach McGriff did a great job getting him prepared for that. Ray Ray is a great talent. He's a freshman though. He was fortunate to have guys out there to help direct him, get him into position. Eventually, he took over himself, was able to make some plays. Physically, he's an imposing figure and has a lot of athletic ability. He's starting to play at this level, has a sense of urgency to make calls, and as soon as he does that more you'll have the opportunity to see more of him. Hopefully we'll get a chance to start working (Brandon McGee) in. We're planning on trying to play him but it's just a matter of picking your spots. Those guys back there, you want them to play with confidence. If they lose it out there they'll be on the sidelines for a long time because they won't be playing with any confidence. We may possibly get him into the game this week but I'm not gonna guarantee that. He's a guy we wanna get on the field as soon as possible.
On the lack of turnovers:
We just have to continue to play well. We get 11 guys to the ball and the turnovers will start to show up. Guys are feeling their way around somewhat. Some people we've played, we're hanging on sometimes, just to get guys to the ground. As we play more confidently, more guys will be around the ball and that's when balls get knocked out. With interceptions, we either haven't had chances or haven't made plays. I don't know what the answer is. I know when guys are flying around, more than one guy around the ball, that's when turnovers usually happen.
On being his first year:
They had a lot of pieces to the puzzle here. We had some fixing of some things schematically that we needed to do. We felt like there were certain guys who do things well and other things not so well. We wanted to play to the players strengths, give them packages where they can perform and execute. There were some wrinkles that needed to be added and the terminology. When I call something or when Coach McGriff calls something or when a player calls something, it might be three scenarios and it depends on how many years they've been here to go through this. Mixing of those things is what we had to get ironed out. We kinda worked our way through that and then it was redefining things and playing fast. That's what we're trying to do.
On being the third coordinator in three years:
Those guys are dealing with my language too. At some point I gotta calls this and gotta be comfortable. As much as I could, I tried to make the language as user-friendly as possible. In some cases, it's easier to do it the players way. I'm trying to use terminology for things they've done. If they're playing quarter-quarter-halves, there are several ways to play that. Communication on the field needs to be given. Whatever the calls are, what does that mean exactly to those guys being taught? I wanna make sure they understand this is this. I'm coaching linebackers and the secondary is being coached by McGriff and it all fits together. During the spring, we expected that. I told Coach there will be situations where what I say is apples and you might think it's oranges. That's what we've gone through. We're pretty much through all that. Now it's a matter of moving forward each week. We gotta be careful as we tweak that we're talking the right language to the kids so we don't mess someone up.
On the backup linebackers:
Jordan Futch has stepped in. He's had a lot of success on special teams and has played in a couple games (at linebacker). Now he's a little bit ahead. I think the other two (Brown and Buchanan) are about ready to go. We'll hopefully get a look at them this week. It won't depend on who we play. It will depend on how they practice. Jordan played great Saturday because he was ready to play.
On Arthur Brown:
It's the same thing -- we need him to consistently do what we ask him to do -- fit where we need him to fit, make calls, adjust the line, take charge, and do things like a linebacker does.
On preparing with Coach Whipple during the week:
I don't try to match wits with Whip. He's a Brown grad, I'm not. I'm very good friends with Whip, been around him a long time. What I try to do is work off him. We just try working together in practice. When I go against him in fall and spring, we're working good on good and working on fundamentals, technique, things like that. I'm not trying to design a blitz that goes against his protection. I'm not trying to beat Whip and the Hurricanes. I'm a competitor. He's a competitor. This is a business and we're trying to get the kids ready to play, trying to get them to execute. I'm sure he's not game-planning for me. Some scrimmages they threw in a wrinkle but that's what offensive guys do. If they didn't, they wouldn't be calling plays. We gotta adjust to what the offense gives us. It's just that usually when you practice against something -- two tight ends, one back this, when you see something different -- it's a little wrinkle you have to adjust to. On Saturdays, you've pretty much seen the majority of what they're giving you and some things you'll have to adjust to.