Slay: 'We Need To Start Faster'

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Junior defensive tackle Brian Slay talks with Pack Pride about the upcoming game against South Alabama in this exclusive Q&A.

How do you feel the defense performed against Wake Forest?
It certainly wasn't good. We started off slow. We played better in the second half, but that slow start really doomed us for the rest of the game. We've got to start better.

What do you believe the defensive line can do better?
A few of us, speaking for myself, we missed a few tackles here and there. Again, we've got to start strong and do a better job of getting to the quarterback.

There are a lot of little things we can improve on so that the defense can improve as a whole.

Where do you notice the losses of guys like J.R. Sweezy?
Depth... you see guys going down, but somebody has to step up. It's not going to be one person to step up and take over for a guy like J.R. It has to be everybody as a group stepping up and playing better to make up for a loss like J.R.

Are the rash of injuries a concern?
It's a concern, but I'm not going to use it as an excuse. At the end of the day, we've got to go out there and play... take it one play at a time.

It will pay off in the long run because it is valuable experience they are gaining so they can be better players down the road.

We know where we need to improve at. Maybe we thought we were a better football team than we are right now so it's a reality check. We have an early loss so now we know where to improve, and we can go back on the practice field and work on areas we're not strong at.

What have you seen from South Alabama on film?
They have a fast team. They try and be physical and run the football. They are a team that likes to get after it.

You can tell on film they get after it and will play until the whistle is blown.

Do you believe that is the type of team you need to face right now?
I do think we need a team like that. We've got a long season and things are picking up, but we know we've got to come out and match their physicality. We're the first Division I team they are playing so we know they are going to come out with enthusiasm. We've got to match their enthusiasm.

They have nothing to lose if you think about it, and we have everything. We've got to come out and play hard like we know how. The coaches have prepared us through camp and practices so it's on us to go out and make plays on Saturday.

Have the coaches been stressing a common theme this week?
The thing is we need to play with more enthusiasm. They want us to get out to a fast start. The last couple of games we haven't started the way we should and it's been stressed that we need to start faster. I think we're capable of it.

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