"The transition wasn't that hard. I felt like I learned the defense a lot last year. I feel like I'm comfortable with it. I just took on the role, and got in my playbook a little bit more, learned the role and just tried to take it."
With the experience the young defensive backs gained last year, how do you see that helping you in the fall?
"I feel like last year we gained a lot of experience being young. This year it helps a lot, because we know what to expect. We're a lot older; we're a lot more mature. Jabari Price and myself, we feel like we can go into a game and be playmakers this year."
Did it also help you to experience the mix of getting thrown in the fire and then having those guys come back and help later on in the season?
"It did. It's kind of like you get your game experience, but at the end you learn from the guys who are actually still here. The guys help you in what you need to do, and what you can get better at. At the same time, you're practicing with them, so you're learning from what they're doing at practice and what they're teaching you."
Is it surprising to you how mature this team is right now?
"I wouldn't say surprising. I think we took on the role, and we're accepting that we are more mature than last year. I feel like compared to last year, we've grown up a lot. We came together as a team, and together we're pretty much getting into our playbooks. We're taking on the roles that we need to bring the Rude Boyz back."
What's the biggest thing you learned from Deunta Williams and Kendric Burney?
"Just be playmakers. Play like ourselves. They gave us everything we needed to play like we will this year. Now we're just trying to take on those roles and fill their shoes."
The last few years this has built up a reputation for having not only one of the best defenses in the ACC, but also the country. Is that something the players talk about?
"Oh, of course. This year we feel like we're going to be back. We have no choice. This defense is going to be way better. I'm not going to say we were bad last year, we're just going to be one of the top defenses this year, and we've practiced like we're going to play, and that is great. We try to practice with that intensity every day."
Tell me about the LSU game and what that did for you? How far have you come since then?
"That was a big game. When it comes to experience, we got a lot of it as freshmen. That game kind of set the pedestal. I felt like after that game I can compete on this level. Coming into this year, we know we can compete now. Now it's how effective can we be? How good can we be in the nation? Not just with our team, and not just growing up as freshmen, but as trying to be the best in the nation."
Does that make you more comfortable in moving to safety?
"Oh definitely. Moving to safety I don't feel like was a very big transition to me. I feel like it kind of helped me more, because it puts a lot of our skill players on the field. Jabari and me were fighting for the same spot last year. This year he plays corner now. I moved back to free safety. I just try to fill the shoes that Deunta Williams had. I feel like with us gaining experience last year, [with] both of us on the field, we can become playmakers."