DeMarcus Tyler played in all 13 games as a freshman defensive tackle. During the spring he experimented with a move to the offensive line but quickly found his calling to be on the defensive front. Pack Pride sat down with Tyler to get his feelings on the move and his outlook for the 2004 season."
You went from defense to offense and back to defense. How has the move back to defensive tackle gone for you?
"If you don't have the mind set to play OL- I won't say you can't be successful there because some people just have the ability- but I feel like my mind set is like, I want to tear somebody's head off. On defense you get to hit somebody on every play and I'm just an aggressive person. I went over to the offensive line because coach thought I could help the team out over there. But I had that defensive mind frame so I wanted to come back over to defense."
It would appear that your move back has gone well as you and Dwayne Herndon appear to be a and b for that second starting DT spot. How is the competition there?
"I know I made my mind up that I'm going to go as hard as I can. I'm going to do all the extra things. I'm going to try to step my work ethic up. I know that Dwayne Herndon is a real good player. I use him for motivation to get better. McCargo, I use him for motivation to get better. Martrel Brown, he's gained about 30 pounds in the weight room an he's gotten much stronger and I use him for motivation. I kind of feed off my fellow linemen to get better. I feel that, if everyone is helping each other better, there's no need for starters. Everybody will just be rotating. Everybody will be contributing."
How much improvement do you think fans will see in the defense from last year to this year"
"It's been a real big improvement. Last year, I think the only thing was, we were new to the college game. Coming from high school it's a real big difference. Everybody's on your level so you have to step your game up. You have to have heart to go out there and play against those boys. I just feel the whole defensive line is ready. We've got the experience now. We've got the depth. We've got the strength. We run a lot now. Off the field, me, McCargo, Herndon and Martrel, we go out sometimes at night and run just to do the extra things. Sometimes we'll sit back in our apartment and visualize what we're going to do this season."
You look like you've trimmed down some.
"I came in at 301 and I'm at 290 but I want to stay at the weight coach wants me. He likes his DT's to be real slim. I feel quicker since listening to the coach."
How much benefit do you get out of the off season program?
"That whole off-season program- I mean, Coach Stroud, he really taught us everything as far as running 110's and 300's and stadiums and increasing our endurance. It gets you better. When you work on your running it helps you on the field. And especially those mat drills as far as staying low and working on your quickness."
In the past, with Philip Rivers on board, many people looked at the offense to carry the load. Can the defense step up and take some of that burden this year?
"We have a very talented defense. I mean, I think the whole defense is going to come out as one unit and go all out 1000%. But even with Philip gone, we've still got TA. We've still got a good offensive line. We've got Bobby Washington. We've got a lot of talented guys over there. We go hard at them boys every day and really, the reason the defensive line is getting better is because of that offensive line. That offensive line, I'd like to compliment them a lot because they've taught me a lot since I've been here. But Jay Davis and Marcus Stone, they've shown people a lot too. I see them staying over after practice and working hard. The receivers, guys like Brian Clark stay over with them and they just do the extra things that will benefit the offense a lot."