Van Bergen Ready to Step Up

Ryan Van Bergen is one of the new starters on defense, but that doesn't mean he is inexperienced. After being one of the top reserves the last few seasons and playing quite a few minutes, he is now ready to take on a full time role.

How has it been so far for you knowing that you are going to be the starter this year, has it been different at all?
It's been a little different, the coaches are expecting more out of me on and off the field, leadership wise. I've been waiting for this opportunity and I've been given it, so hopefully I can stay healthy and perform well.

What is Coach Robinson liked and how has it been with him thus far?
He's just a different kind of coach. He's more like Coach English, I'd say. I've been through all the defensive coordinators. He's a really good motivator and you can't doubt his x's and o's with all the accolades he's accumulated. We all have a lot of respect for him.

What about specific to the position you're playing, have there been some changes there and what is your role on the defense?
Right now, I'm technically a 3-technique, but also, we run a 3-4, so I can bump back out to end and because of my athleticism moving from end to tackle, they've given me more freedom to slant and give me more movement, so I'm not going straight ahead into big guys, 310-lb tackles and stuff, but they're just giving me more freedom to do what I want to do.

What about on passing downs?
It's going to depend on situations, what teams like to do as far as protection, if they want to keep tight end in and stuff, so it's all game plan. They've put me on the edge in certain situations and also put me inside in the a-gap in certain situations. It all depends on what we're expecting protections to be.

How do you feel about the defensive line as a unit?
I feel pretty confident. Brandon Graham brings back some good leadership and then Mike Martin, he played really well last year. We have a lot of experience coming back. We feel like we are experienced enough to come out and make a difference.

Who are some of the other guys who have stepped up?
Greg Banks is doing a really good job, another guy is Renaldo [Sageese] and Will Campbell is advancing, it just takes him awhile, because it's hard for an 18-year old to come out and play defensive line in college, but he's made all the strides he has needed to make.

You mentioned going through three different defensive coordinators, how has that been for you? Has it been challenging?
I think it has actually helped me because I've worked really hard to learn all the schemes and stuff, so it's getting to where a playbook isn't that hard for me to pick up and execute, so the x's and o's part is starting to fall into place and I'm able to play faster now that I'm getting used to it.

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