Earlier this week, first year Bulldog defensive coordinator Peter Sirmon joked that sometimes Nelson Adams offers a little assistance to linebackers that may be a little unsure of where to line up in a particular formation. When asked about his new role as junior defensive boss, Adams simply grinned and shook his head....guilty.
"I have always been a pretty smart guy or so they say, so I learned the whole defense," Adams said. "I am just trying to help these young guys. I try to help some of the new linebackers make some of their calls. I feel like if I can help take something else off of their mind, then they can focus on what they have to do to make plays. I just want to help everybody be on the same page, while we get this new defense down."
Adams reports that he would offer no suggestions to other payers were he not totally confident about his own job with his hand in the ground over the football. Adams has played inside and out on the defensive line as a college player, but this fall the Brandon High School standout will look to create havoc by taking on double teams.
"It's been pretty good," Adams said of his role in the new scheme. "I feel like I get better everyday. I get some single block at nose, so that's always pretty good, but I feel like I am just more comfortable there now. I feel like I am getting better every practice."
Coach Dan Mullen brought in NFL veteran Coach Brian Baker to fill the vacancy left when former Bulldog defensive line boss David Turner took the same position at Texas A&M. Adams reports that the change in coaches has been a smooth transition.
"They are both a lot alike," Adams said of his current and former position coaches. "They talk to and you coach you in a lot of the same ways. They are both great coaches who really want you to work on your technique. I like both of them a lot as coaches."
Baker inherited a talented senior class of defensive lineman. Adams believes that the veteran group can be a real strength for the Bulldog defensive unit. The rotation up front will include mostly seniors.
"I feel like we should be the strength of the defense," Adams said. "A lot of us have been playing for a while, so we know what's going on. We have all played in the SEC, so we should be the guys that get the defense going up front. You can't have a great defense without having a great defensive line."
The Bulldogs largely depended on their front four to create a pass rush last season. Adams expects the three man front to generate some anxiety for opposing quarterbacks, but the addition of the "Viper" position should allow Sirmon to be more creative with his blitz package.
"It's different, but I like it. I think it's going to be pretty good," Adams said. "KoJack (John Calvin) would be pretty good out there, I expect him to get a lot of sacks this year. We all just have to work together to coordinate the rush and make sure we all going the same way to balance out the rush."
While the Bulldog front has some veteran pieces, it may be difficult to keep a talented trio of true freshmen off of the field. Adams reports that he has been impressed by what he has seen from the newest Dawgs.
"I like all of our young guys, Marquiss (Spencer) Jeffrey (Simmons) and Kobe (Jones)," Adams said. "Kobe has a great motor. Jeffrey is really strong. Marquiss has really surprised me. I didn't know as much about him coming out of high school. He is going to be a great football player here.
"I think we may see all of them get some reps this year. We can't count on the seniors to play 80 reps a game, so I could see them getting some reps here or there."
Another newcomer, Tre Brown, who joined the program in the spring, appears to have made some real advances in his game over the course of the last few weeks.
"Tre has improved a lot since the spring." Adams said. "He is a lot better in the fall than he was in the spring. He's getting better everyday and learning the defense more and more everyday. His technique is a lot better."
With solid blend of experienced veterans and talented newcomers, the Bulldogs have the makings of a strong defensive front. Adams believes in the players who will line up on both sides of him. The senior is prepared to simply do his job and help the team get stops.
"I am ready to do the dirty work at nose guard," Adams said. "That's alright with me. I don't need stats. Scouts see film and they know what you're doing. Part of my job it to open things up for the linebackers to run free. I'm all for it as long as we're making tackles behind the line of scrimmage. I am prepared to do whatever it takes for us to win. I will play the three tech when we go to four down or play the nose when we play with three down.
"I feel like we have a lot of athletes on the field now that we have four linebackers on the field. I feel like we're going to be a fast defense. We just need to keep getting better everyday as a team and just focus on each other. We just have to worry about what we need to do right now and when the time comes, we will focus on who we play. Right now, it's about us getting better everyday."