Turner Presses D-Line Dogs For More Effort

“Doing pretty good. I didn’t think we responded very good yesterday, but overall we’re doing good. Guys have been playing around, trying to get better some technique things. And playing with a little more effort, which we have to do. But overall I’ve been pleased with where we are so far.”

Is practice different with a veteran group? “Yeah, I think you approach a little bit differently. You’re trying to refine some things as opposed to teaching guys.”

”The guys did a great job over the summer. The old guys taught the young guys what to do, so we’ve been a little bit ahead in terms of knowing what to do with those young guys. Which helps us, that doesn’t do anything but help accelerate our teaching in knowing what to do and how to do it. I’ve been pleased with that so far. We’ve got a veteran group and those guys kind of know what’s going on and they’re doing a better job of coaching each other. That’s the things we talked about in the off-season.”

Kaleb Eulls and P.J. Jones are veterans who missed a lot of spring. Are they approaching their senior camp differently? “Yeah, it’s been pros and cons of that. They have a little bit of rust because of the last time they played. Which P.J. reminded me, he said Coach the last time I played was the Rice game. I said well yeah, you’re right. So he’s a little rusty. But he still knows what to do, now we just have to get his pads down, his hands up. He’s doing better. These last two practices, P.J. in particular has been really good.”

You say they bounced-back, what do you expect from them? “Well not so much bounce back, they were just rusty. Actually I didn’t think a lot about it until P.J. said it. I said spring, oh that’s right, you were out of the spring. You get going and coaching and coaching and coaching; I said man, that’s right, he missed 15 practices of spring which sometimes doesn’t sound like a whole lot but it really is when you start talking about the number of practices and reps. So they have to catch up a little bit. But like I said, they know what to do. It’s just refining some technique things.”

How big a priority is finding the fourth defensive end? “It’s real big. We’re looking right now with Nelson Adams knows what to do; Chris Jones we’ve got as an option. But right now we’re trying to mix-and-match and figure out who is going to fit where and what is best for us as a unit. Those are two options right now.”

”Preston Smith has had a really, really good camp so far; Ryan Brown has had a really good camp, A.J. Jefferson. If I can get a fourth guy I feel real good about that only helps us as a unit.”

Has Curtis Virges’ spring work carried over into fall? “Yeah, I saw it earlier. I’ve got to get him going again, but yeah he’s talked to me on the side about his goals and what he’s doing. I see him working harder, trying to do a little bit better. That’s good, that is only going to make our group stronger.”

What have Smith, Brown, Jefferson done to impress you? “Probably the biggest thing is going harder. The thing I tell them is we’ve got to get better technique-wise and we’ve got to get better playing with effort. That’s what is standing out right now. Preston is a senior, it’s probably a little bit more sense of urgency for him right now. Ryan Brown is a guy and I’ve said it a hundred times you kind of take for granted. He shows up every day, works hard, never says a word, just keeps getting better. And A.J. Jefferson is doing the same, I think he’s a whole lot more comfortable now, I think he knows what to do. It’s a whole lot easier to move fast when you know what to do vs. thinking about what I’m doing and I can’t play real fast. So he knows what to do, he’s playing faster, and that’s been the real big surprise for me.”

Chris Jones was bragging about his roommate Nick James, what have you seen so far? “Well, he’s trying. He’s trying. He’s still got a long ways to go. He’s better than he was but he’s got a lot of work to do. And he’s still a work in progress.”

How are the newcomers doing? “I’m pleased with those guys. I think they’ve got a chance to develop to be really good players. I really do. Will Coleman has done some good things, he’s practicing like he’s a junior college guy. He’s been there, he comes out of a good program at Tyler (JC). He’s starting to feel more comfortable with the group.”

”Each one of those young guys have had flashes. Braxton Hoyett has done some good things. Big Corey Thomas has done some good things, he moves well, he’s probably quicker than he looks. I’m real pleased with that. And Grant Harris, I’m real pleased with those young guys so far.”

Are you at a point where you can redshirt all of them? “In a perfect world you’d like to do that. You’ve got some depth and you hate to have to depend on freshmen. It’s good and bad. This day-and-age for freshmen to come in a whole lot more prepared to play through training and all that other stuff, coming out of good programs. So those guys normally are more ready to play. But hopefully we won’t have to play any of those young guys.”

What does James have to do to get into the tackle rotation? “Number one he’s got to know what to do; and number two he’s got to play a whole lot harder.”

Is that frustrating for a coach? “Yeah, it is. Yeah, it is. It is very frustrating. Like I said, he’s done better but he’s still a work-in progress. I can’t say it any different way, he’s still got a long ways to go.”

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