Hoyte and Curry Expect a Better Defense in 2003

<P>The 2003 defense should be one of the best in the country. Irish fans loved watching the defense in 2002 and Irish Eyes caught up with linebackers Brandon Hoyte and Derek Curry Saturday to talk about what we can expect out of the defense in 2003. Will the Irish defense play with the same enthusiasm as 2002? </P>

Brandon Hoyte is known as a fierce hitter and a playmaker. He is also known as an articulate man off the field. He is quite an impressive guy off the field and one of the more inviting personalities on the team.

Hoyte was very good against the run last year but knows he needs to improve in pass coverage to be considered a complete linebacker. "I think I've most definitely improved in my pass coverage. That has been a focus of mine that I know that may be a weakness. A person's greatest asset is when he finds his weakness and goes and improves it. That's what I've done and that's what I think everyone on the team has done. I think everyone has their own particular weakness but it's how hard you work and how hard you try to improve that weakness that makes a difference."

Hoyte says this defense will be just as good if not better than the 2002 unit. He says don't worry about this defense losing the passion. "People ask me that all the time. The passion has never left. Whether we're in season or in spring or summer, we have that same hunger. For us, we don't have that problem of having to get back into the flow because it never left us. We just get hungrier and hungrier and I think you will see that in the first game."

The Irish could be in trouble if starting Mike linebacker Mike Goolsby can't play this year. Hoyte says he hasn't heard anything on the status of Goolsby but says the Irish will have to move on if he can't play in 2002. "All I know is that we're getting stronger as a team. As far as Mike goes, he is a great player and a great asset to the team. The more great players that play, the better the team is. If Mike can't play, someone will have to step up but I have faith in the linebackers that we can do that."

Derek Curry also doesn't know whether Goolsby will be playing next year or not. "We really don't know what to expect. During the summer we just workout, lift and run. We don't know the condition of any of the linebackers like Mike right now. We don't know the depth chart and two-a-days is when you earn your spot regardless of what you were last year. That is one thing I like about this coaching staff is that no matter where you were the year before, you have to go out and earn your spot the next year."

Curry does feel that the defense will be better than last year. "I actually do," said Curry when asked if the defense will be better than 2002. "We always have high expectations for ourselves and that is what makes us so good. We pride ourselves in playing hard and playing smart. Anything can happen on any given Saturday so we have to play within the scheme. We're going to take it one game at a time starting with Washington State and I think we'll play up to that same level. I think we have some guys who are really hungry this year and want to finish the season strong."

Hoyte should have an outstanding year this year for the Irish. Who can forget the courage he showed in the Maryland game making his first start? He doesn't play scared and he has the right attitude to improve his game. Curry is Mr. Reliable and continues to get better. He became a pass rushing threat last year and played his position as well as any other in recent memory. Hopefully both are correct and we will see an even better defense in 2003.

IrishIllustrated.com Top Stories