"I was pleasantly surprised in terms of quality and depth. There are some good young players and guys like Doug (senior Dominic Douglas) and (senior) Jamar (Chaney) who are good older players.
"I feel good about our first three with Dominic, Jamar and (sophomore) K.J. Wright.
"To me, K.J. really came on and had a really good spring. He got better every practice. And his last scrimmage was probably his best. Dominic had a great second scrimmage but was held out of the last scrimmage because of an injury. Jamar was there the entire time.
"Those three guys give us a chance to match up with anybody.
"Behind them is (redshirt freshman) Terrell Johnson, a guy who can probably swing from SAM to WILL. He really had a good spring, but he lacks experience. He was one guy who going into the spring I really didn't know anything about.
"It hurt (sophomore) Karlin Brown, having missed everything but the first week. He hurt his knee and didn't finish the spring due to that."
Brown is a small linebacker. What did you see in him that you liked?
"He made plays the first week in the spring. Obviously, he's not what you drawn them up like because you would like for him to be taller. But he has a knack for finding the ball and he's hard to knock off his feet. And he has good instincts. We had a guy at Arkansas that reminded me of him - Sam Olajubutu (5-8, 227; currently in his 2nd year in the NFL). I don't know if he's that good yet. Sam was a great player because he had a great heart and a great motor. Hopefully, Karlin will have those things as well. He can be a MIKE and he can kick out to the WILL. Having him well will be important to us."
What are your thoughts about redshirt freshman Jamie Jones?
"I understand he was a WILL last year, but we've moved him inside to MIKE. He needs the experience of playing, more time of practicing. In time, I think he's going to be OK. To me, the best thing about Jamie Jones to this point is he wants to learn. Even when we didn't practice, he would come in here if he had a question. He's always wanting to watch film, always wanting to get better. That will certainly give him an edge on down the line when he gains some experience. He's also fast and big. But right now he doesn't play as fast as he is because he's still learning a new position and is not real clear on some things. But when all that is ironed out he will be that type player."
You mentioned K.J. Wright earlier. What do you like about him?
"First of all I like his height. He has long arms so he has a chance to put his hands on people and keep them away from his body. But he can run. And he has a motor, a burst, he plays physical. And he's intelligent. He learns football easily and well. You tell him something and he does it, things like where to be in a coverage. You don't have to show him things two or three days in a row before it sinks in. I really think that down the road, not now, but down the road he has a chance to be better than any of them just because he has the height, speed and intelligent. I really think he has the chance to be something really special if he continues working and keeps the same attitude that he has now."
What are your thoughts about Jamar Chaney as a player?
"I think he has a chance to be a good player based on what I saw in the spring. I didn't look at last year's film. He had a knee problem earlier in the spring, so he wasn't really fullspeed. So, I don't know if I saw the Jamar Chaney of last year or what he will be this fall because of that. But based on what I saw in the spring I think he needs to be a little more intense in what he does, finish off plays instead of just getting to the spot and then not finish off. But the thing he can do is that he can play more than one position, and he can get everybody else lined up in the right spots because he makes the right calls."
What do you like about Dominic Douglas?
"The thing about him is he wants to be good. After the first scrimmage he probably graded lower than anybody. I could tell he was highly offended, so he came in here. I gave him the grade sheet and let him sit down and look at it and answered any questions he had about it.
"Another thing about him that separated him from the rest is during spring practice he played at a different speed. He has a knack for making plays and he runs faster than his forty-yard dash speed."
You also have a guy that came in during the spring, freshman Mike Hunt.
"Mike came in in January. He was a safety in high school, but we moved him to WILL linebacker. He's a guy, somewhere down the road, who, when it clicks, has the ability to be a good player. Naturally he's behind because, number 1, he's never played linebacker, and 2, he has just come out of high school. But he came by last week and asked to see some film, so he's got that kind of desire.
"Two other guys who really played well in the last two scrimmages were Mark Lynn and Mark Brown. They are guys who are walk ons who make plays. Mark Lynn had two interceptions in the spring game. And Mark Brown had an interception and a really good scrimmage in the next to last scrimmage. Those are two guys who can provide some depth."