Thoughts on Dontae Johnson transitioning from safety to cornerback.
He's an athlete. He's a former basketball player, and with a football IQ like he has, the learning curve is not big.
Being able to go from playing on the slot receiver, which is probably the hardest receiver to play on because they are usually the guy that's off the ball. So, I knew he was able to do it. It was just a matter of getting out there and seeing it in a different view.
How rare is it to have two corners the size of David Amerson and Dontae Johnson out there?
It is real rare. You don't see too many 6'3, athletic corners anymore. A lot of times you've got the 5'9 or 5'10 kid, but it's a plus.
With receivers being 6'3 or 6'4 such as the kids Da'Rick Rogers and Hunter from Tennessee, now we have some guys where if they throw a jumpball we can compete for the ball in the air.
It makes a big difference. The quarterback just can't throw the ball on a line. He has to throw it with more trajectory because of the size of our corners.
How big of a challenge will Tennessee's receivers be for your group?
Very challenging. We recruited Da'Rick here when he was coming out of high school. We liked him coming out of high school. He's a big, physical kid who has proven he can make plays. He's playing against the LSU's... he's played against some of probably the best guys in the country.
It's going to be a real challenge. I'm preparing my guys for that.
How has Tim Buckley adjusted?
They did a great job with Tim. A good friend of mine, Kermit Buggs, who was the safeties coach at Penn State, spoke very highly of him.
You can see where the kid has learned a lot of football. When he came in, his learning curve was very short. He was thrown into the fire and he was able to digest our playbook, our terminology.
He has been a plus. I'm glad to have him with us.
Have any of the true freshman proven they are ready to play or is that a work-in-progress?
It's still a work-in-progress. Those young guys... athletically, they can play, but it's more of the mental aspect. You don't want to put a kid out there that's not mentally ready because then he can be in a situation where he may hurt himself or one of his own teammates.
You don't want to put him in that situation because it will mess his mental psyche up and in this situation we want to build their mental toughness up.
I have some guys that are athletic enough but mentally not ready.
Obviously with Dontae working with the first team someone has to move down. How has C.J. Wilson reacted to that?
C.J. is taking it and he understands that you've got to bring your lunch pail to work everyday. You can't get complacent one bit because that day you get complacent someone else could be making plays. They will play.