Full Transcript: J.B. Fitzgerald

J.B Fitzgerald dishes on the difference between the old D and the new, and talks about the linebacker corps and the D.

Question: How far along do you think you guys are in understanding what Greg (Mattison) wants out of you guys?

J.B. Fitzgerald: "We're learning more and more every day. We're grasping the concepts and we're really starting to understand the defense. Back in the spring, we just kind of learned the plays, but now we're kind of understanding why we're doing what we're doing and how the concepts work, where all the different aspects fit together in the defensive scheme."

Question: How does that differ from what you guys working a year ago?

JB Fitzgerald: "Different schemes, different coaching techniques. It is pretty different. It is exciting to keep learning about it. We've put in a fair amount of stuff in the spring, but we got a lot more to put in and just excited to get started on that."

Question: Do you think it is more complex, less complex?

JB Fitzgerald: "It is different. It is hard to explain. This is my fourth year and pretty much my fourth different defense. When you learn so many different defenses you stop comparing and just start adapting and learning."

Question: Has there been anybody in the linebacker corps that has surprised you in the first four practices?

JB Fitzgerald: "To be honest everybody is really stepping up and really getting after it. Kenny (Demens) has just gotten back and he has been really stepping up and getting there. Ken has been doing well, Marrell (Evans) is back. Everybody has really been stepping up. It is good because we got strong competition in pretty much every position and that is only going to make us better. It is going to keep continuing until game week pretty much and then thereafter."

Question: Is there a freshman on the defense that has stuck out to you?

JB Fitzgerald: "There are several guys getting in there and kind of getting the hang of things. It is funny because when you come in as a freshman you're coming from a high school defense. The college defense is much more complex than a high school defense obviously. Some come in and run around but some of the guys really come in and they hone in on it and the guys who are playing fast out there are the ones that are really doing well and we've seen a couple of them that do pretty well out there."

Question: Have there been any freshman on the offense, maybe in the first few days in the rare times that you guys have gone against each other?

JB Fitzgerald: "I know they are working some in there. I have gone against a few, some of the lineman. I know they have been in there working hard and getting in there. I know (Russell) Bellomy has been getting a lot of snaps, the quarterback. He has been getting in there and getting his snaps as well. I saw a couple of different running back in there. It is hard to adapt to the new numbers because their out there for the first time. I'm used to seeing 20, (Mike) Shaw and (Stephen Hopkins) Hop at 33, but I'm trying to figure out who these other guys are in these other jerseys and uniforms."

Question: Coach Mattison on Tuesday had made a mention of Frank Clark at linebacker, said he had something special about him, what have you seen out of him?

JB Fitzgerald: "I think Frank is going to be a great player here. He's real fast. He is really fast and he is not afraid to attack. He is somebody that has kind of been standing out. He is long too. He is long and fast. Once he starts learning more and more, he could be a dangerous player."

Question: The fact that Coach Hoke is not hearing what he wants out of the physicality because you guys don't know what that sounds like because you've never done it before or is it the case of you guys are adjusting to what they want?

JB Fitzgerald: "We started camp and all coaches come in there with expectations and it is our job as a team to step up and meet those expectations and surpass those expectations. I think that is what we're working on doing now."

Question: How big of a difference has it been for a linebacker to have two defensive tackles in front of you occupying blockers?

JB Fitzgerald: "It allows you to flow like a linebacker should. It is good. I like it. I know a lot of the other guys like it too. They've been doing a great job with just really controlling the line of scrimmage. That's something that the coaches really emphasis, starting it up front and win up front and they've been doing a real good job in working and doing that and keep coming off the ball hard."

Question: What have you seen from the guys on that three technique that new stop and specifically Will Campbell?

JB Fitzgerald: "Will has been doing real well. He just gets better and better every day. He showed a real strong commitment over the summer and I think it is really starting to pay off for him. He just keeps improving and you got other guys working in there too and he has got some guys competing with him, but the work he has put in is starting to pay off. He just gets better every day."

Question: Are you in the middle right now or competing at both spots?

JB Fitzgerald: "Right now, I'm competing at the MIKE position, middle linebacker spot."

Question: How is that going with Kenny? Who else is at that position with you guys?

JB Fitzgerald: "It is great. Nothing is better than competition for a football team. I fully believe that and Kenny and Marrell has been working in there as well at the MIKE spot. It is great. It is almost a pure thing because we're all out there competing as hard as we can but helping each other as well. Pulling each other along, coaching up each other and I feel that is how it has to be. If you want to have some success and reach the goals that we have set for ourselves, then you have to have that."

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