After yesterday's "dominance" by the offense, the defense left their calling card today. The following is Coach Ed Orgeron's Q & A concerning Tuesday's practice on the fourth day of August camp.
Coach O: I thought we picked it up pretty good today. We had a very spirited day of practice. We had some emotional, fired up meetings this morning and talked about the philosophy of the team. Guys are buying in to some of those things. The leadership is coming out. We went out there today and had a fantastic day. We dropped off a little in the middle of practice, but picked it back up at the end. The defense dominated today. Peria Jerry had an excellent day. Tony Fein at Mike LB had a pretty good day. He made some mistakes because he's still learning, but overall he made some plays. Jonathan Cornell played on the outside and did a good job. Jamie Phillips was our other outside LB and all three did a good job. We tried to use Johnny Brown in some different situations by bringing him in on passing downs. He's really ahead of the pack right now. We struggled throwing the ball today. We had some balls batted at the line of scrimmage and dropped some balls. We didn't do as good in the passing game as we have been. PK Josh Shene had a great day kicking the ball. He was on. He was over 50 yards a couple of times. I thought our conditioning looked better today and overall I am really pleased with the attitude.
Q: At LB, if you had your choice, would you hope it evolves with Tony on the inside and Jonathan on the outside?
Coach O: We just want the three best. As of today, I still think Jonathan is our best MLB. I really do. Patrick was fast, as you know, and made a lot of adjustments. Jonathan is a lot like him. He does a lot of things, but Tony is very physical. Very physical. We are fortunate that Jonathan is smart and can be a swing guy. Right now, he's our best LB. And maybe Tony could play outside. We're not sure yet.
Q: How are you approaching getting more turnovers this year after a limited number last year?
Coach O: Our coaches are talking about it more, teaching it more. We are making a better attept at turnovers this time around. We have had more interceptions in practice this year than ever before. That's a plus. We are getting some heat on the QB now and forcin some bad throws. Coach (John) THompson is doing a great job of emphasizing turnovers. It's all a mentality. It's all about effort. On offense, it's a conscious effort to protect it and on defense a conscious effort to go get it. We are devloping that more.
Q: The offense dominated yesterday and the defense today. How much do you enjoy that back-and-forth?
Coach O: It's great. That means we have developed some competition, not only at individual positions but from unit to unit. The defense was challenged all day today. It started last night by each coach. We sent some challenges out. In stretching today, there was some jawing going on. The offense was feeling good about themselves and the defense kept their mouths shut. They showed what they are made of by getting after it today. I was proud of them.
Q: Talk about the quarterback position.
Coach O: Seth is playing with the first team. Michael Herrick is playing with the second team and Brent (Schaeffer) is getting some reps. Nothing looked fantastic today. Right now, we don't have a Heisman Trophy candidate at QB. Everyone knows that. That's not saying they will not perform well, but it's just not there yet. We are doing the best we can with what we have. I have seen some improvement from last spring, but we are still wanting more.
Q: What about the progress of LaMark Armour now that he is back?
Coach O: He's showing up a little bit, but has been hampered by some minor camp injuries he has to overcome. Chris Bowers is also out there and doing OK. We moved LaDerrick Vaughn to DE and we are hoping he will become our speed rusher. He's very fast. We want him to gain some weight and come off that edge. We think he can become that guy. He's a muscular kid we think can grow into the position.
Q: Can the quest for turnovers cost you some big plays along the way if you are not careful?
Coach O: We are keeping a lot of our philosophies the same, but we are playing the ball differently a couple of ways that will benefit us. John has put in some techniques that guard against the big play but allow us to get the ball out more, I believe.
Practice report, Day 4
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