Corwin Brown would like to get the season started already, but with a bye week at the beginning of the schedule Brown will use the extra time to get ready.
"There's always more to do, but just like the players you kind of want to play," Brown said. "That's just how it is especially this time of year the game is right around the corner. People are playing, you want to play but there are still plenty of things to work on. It's like that double-edged sword."
Like any coach, Brown has a list of things for his players to improve on.
"Just making sure collectively that we understand what we want to do as a team: stop the run, gang up on the run, eliminate big plays, forcing turnovers and keep the points to a minimum," he said.
Brown doubles as the defensive backs coach and with a fifth-year senior, two seniors and a junior listed on the depth chart there are plenty of veterans back there, but Brown won't just rely on those guys' experience.
"Like I tell those guys everyday, you get your respect by what you do and not by what people think. Until we go out on the field and we smack guys around, make plays on the ball, tackle well, communicate well, don't give up big plays then you won't get any respect," he said. "Regardless of what people say right now, you're going to be judged by what you do against San Diego State and then Michigan and then so on and so on. They know going into it what you have to do and what it takes to do it because we tell them. Tackle, got to play man-for-man, got to eliminate the deep ball and those are things they're judged by. So until they play, regardless of what people say, that's the measuring stick."
Brown said that he treats the older guys the same way he treats the newcomers because that is the only way to teach.
"We harp on technique because that's what gets you in trouble at that position. We're big on that proper foot, angles, where your help is, playing to your strength. You have to stay on them about that, but it's just like even if they were young," he said. "Young or old you have to do the same reminders. If you've got a guy that's pretty good then you're trying to make him great, if you've got a guy that's not so good you're trying to make him an OK player. So there's that constant battle that you're trying to improve the guys."
While the secondary has the most experience, the defense as a whole appears to have more depth than it did last season.
"This year I think we've got more guys that we can play, that we can kind of count on in a number of different of positions. It gives us a lot more flexibility to do different things that we want to do, so that's a plus," said Brown. "Say if a guy goes down or if you want to move a guy to a different position and that next guy comes in and you don't really get a dropoff, that's a good thing. So in that regard I think we've really been fortunate this year."
"Smitty is a reliable guy. He's one of those guys that gives you depth because he knows what to do," said Brown. "He's older both mentally and physically. There's a bunch of guys that they give us more depth, so that's good."
According to Brown, Smith's improvement was symbolic of the entire defense's improvement.
"I think just like everybody else, position specific things, being in the right position, communicating, when you have an assignment to do just executing that. It was like the whole defense basically, that's what we kind of wanted to do individually," Brown said. "Everyone kind of improved because we didn't do what we wanted to do, what we set out to do last year. As a group, collectively and individually, everybody had to do that, he being one of those guys. He's older really, smart guy so that helps."