Listen to Audio (1:24)
Has this defense been difficult to learn with all of the different looks?
"It's pretty basic once you learn it, but it might be difficult for the other teams because they may see us in the base a lot and then we can go back and change to an odd, so that can get them confused."
Coach Fedora talked about conquering the three phases this spring and said there's still a ways to go. How do you think the team has done in that regard?
"I think we did alright with them. We've got a lot of work to do, which is going to take place in the summer with just the players. So it's going to have to be some time on our own in the offseason to continue to learn and pick up the pace and then keep the pace the same."
Anybody impress you during the spring game?
"I saw a couple of defensive backs step up a lot. Tim Scott made a couple of plays; missed a lot, too. So as far as the defense, that's what I saw with some of the DB's stepping up in the secondary."
Listen to Audio (1:25)
On the play of the offense today:
"I feel like our chemistry is growing. It's getting better. I feel like we started a little slow today. I didn't like the field goals we got in the first two possessions, but after that we started to roll."
Has it been mentally or physically harder to adjust to new system?
"I would say it's the mental part, because once you're tired you got to think still, so you got to know what to do."
How do you think you specifically have played this spring?
"I think it's going pretty well. It's the best spring I've had. There have been times I've started spring camp off great and I didn't finish. I feel like this is the first time I've finished so I got that hump off my back. I'm ready to roll."
Listen to Audio (1:45)
On the versatility of this defensive scheme:
"This defense is designed to give the offense a lot of different looks. One set we may be in a four man front and drop to three. We may start off in a four and may end up being three after the ball is snapped and that's kind of what it's designed to do. Kind of to through the offense off and thinking we're bring more guys and sometimes bringing more guys than they think we're bringing. At the end of the day, the disguise is what helps us make plays because if they think we got guys coming, they're going to have to try to send an extra blocker to go block that guy and if he's not coming that's a blocker they've lost, so obviously it's beneficial to us."
Assess the defenses performance trying to learn the new system this spring:
"It's been up and down. Mainly up, because at the end of the day they came with a new defense and I felt like us as a team, we learned it very well. We took it upon us to learn it in our own. We said, okay, this is something we want to do and everybody worked hard for it. I'm talking about the whole entire defense worked towards one goal and at the end I feel like we accomplished that."
Can you talk about taking on a leadership role with the defense?
"Looked at being a leader, to me, is more than just one thing. It's more than just making plays on the field. You want to be in the weight room, in the classroom, in the meetings – everything and that's what I want to do for my team. I want to be able to be a leader off the field, not just on the field. I don't want to go out on the field and say follow me when I haven't done nothing right off of the field, so that's the first thing for me and I'm going to take that roll and I'm going to cherish it, because at the end of the day I want to be a leader for my team and I want to lead us to a lot of wins and a lot of plays on defense and if I can do that I feel like we can be successful."
Listen to Audio (2:03)
How much better shape does the team have to get in between now and August?
"Shape-wise, I think everybody is in shape, but understanding the speed and actually getting the tempo and what we're really supposed to do, that's really what we got to work on."
On the importance of blocking downfield in this offensive system:
"You have to because you never know. Your man might break a tackle and that's your guy or it's a big run or a big play happening right behind you and as long as you got your guy downfield that man can just spring out behind you or on the side of you so always being square and staying on your man is a big role."
How do you think you are progressing as a player that will be looked at to make plays for the offense this season?
"Well the spring game showed that if you throw the ball my direction, it's caught and I'm going to get yards after the catch. Being a tight-end and having to be that playmaker for the offense is a big role, but I'll take on it."
How important is the tight-end in this offense versus the previous system?
"It was important in the past, but it's not as important as it is now, because really we play a decoy or we play a playmaker, so we have to go either way. Always being ‘that guy' that sets up something, just like they adjust on the other side of the field, we set it up on the right or the left side depending on where we're at and it plays a major role."