Post spring Q&A: Michael Rose

Big Red Report is cleaning off the voice recorder and bringing premium members group media quotes from the spring that might not have been used.

The competition at linebacker has a lot of depth there. Just talk about it through this spring.
"It's been fun. We have been rotating ones and twos pretty much and we are just trying to find the combination between us. It's been fun going out and competing. It really makes you focus on yourself and not the competition going on, because a lot of guys are doing a lot of good things."

What has been the biggest difference between last season and the spring?
"We can do a lot more experimentation, with different schemes and different people – trying to find the right combo. It helps us to know we can make mistakes, but still have time to clean it up. We aren't pressing. We have a longer leash to find our role among the team.

"Last year for the linebackers, we were actually trying to figure out who could line up. We couldn't line up in any defense. Now we have guys with a little more experience and chemistry with their teammates. It's easier. We aren't the weak link or downfall on the defense. We can actually be assets and help other position groups."

How does this spring compare to last?
"Last year I was coming into spring with my head spinning around, not really knowing what to expect. Coming from the Midwest, we don't have spring ball. Some guys from Texas and places like that know what to expect, but it's a different mindset going through spring practices."

Are you carrying a lot of confidence after last year's season and the bowl win?
"Definitely - big time. A lot more confidence from when I came in and a lot more confidence from when I started for the first time last year. I feel a lot more comfortable and am able to be a lot more vocal as a leader out there. I feel I can also be a show by example leader."

That confidence, does allow you to play faster?
"I'm able to look at my keys and know, I've seen this before so I know what they are going to do here. You are able to react quicker and make more plays. I'm not the fastest guy, but I'm pretty quick and athletic. I rely a lot on my instincts. Knowing what the offense is trying to do to a specific defense helps you out."

You guys closed out the year with a pretty set rotation at linebacker, how important is that to have something that you know or something to go off of?
"It's good to have a base. A foundation. We were fortunate that me, (David) Santos, and Zaire (Anderson), finally got some of it, and were able to play a lot through the last couple of games. But, Coach Els has said no one is going to be named the starter right now and I like it. It keeps you on your toes. We had a pretty good end of the year, but we left so many things out there as a defense. We have to stay on our edge."

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