Coach O: We got going on our preparations for Northwestern with a good pad day. I showed them the first series from last year's game where they got the ball and drove for a score. I showed them that NW State sacked us three times. Northwestern, traditionally, has an NFL player here and there and I talked a little bit about the school and their traditions.
Q: Are you worried about an Appalachian State-Michigan scenario with the parity that is prevalent in college football?
Coach O: Not really. We aren't at a point where we can overlook anybody. We are just fighting to get better.
Q: Is Tony Fein still progressing and do you feel comfortable saying he has turned the corner?
Coach O: Not yet. There are still a lot of things he has to learn, but he's coming along. There are some coverage things we were able to do with Patrick Willis that we can't do with Tony right now, but his run game defense is getting better.
Q: What are you looking for out of your offense against NW State?
Coach O: We just have to get out there and play, move the ball. The last two weeks, we have looked like we were stuck in mud. We have to get some juice flowing out there.
Q: Do you think some of that is because teams are taking away the deep ball now?
Coach O: Well, they are playing cover two, not allowing the deep ball, but they are stopping our run with a seven-man front. We can't let that happen, and we need some cover two beaters on offense in the passing game. There are some things in the passing game you can do against cover two, but you have to be able to protect.
Q: Discuss the sudden emergence of NT Lawon Scott.
Coach O: Last week, we were having a problem against some zone schemes getting cut and not being in their gaps, so I just put Lawon in and he just started playing. He's still a freshman and he's still making mistakes, but he has some quickness and hip flexibility that you want. I thought he did well in the game. He didn't look good, to me, with his techniques, but he fought to do the right things. He showed some toughness to go into Auburn and play against a good OL and do a good job.
Q: He said he liked nose better than DT. Is that a better position for him?
Coach O: He's better suited for it, I think. I've been looking for a really quick nosetackle with quick feet and hips, like we had at USC with Mike Patterson. You have to be flexible against a zone cut block and Lawon has some of those attributes.
Q: What did Viciente' DeLoach bring to the table against Auburn?
Coach O: He uses his hands well and gets off blocks. He will be against tight ends most of the time and he has a great feel for schemes because he's older and has been here a while. He was coached very well by the last D-Line coach here and he has some technique. He understands and he's excited about playing. He's been a great young man for us and has gotten a chance and is now playing well. That's a good story.
Q: What about the development of Johnny Brown?
Coach O: Jamarca Sanford is enjoying teaching him and Johnny is like a sponge right now. Jamarca is a great guy to learn from. Johnny has the ability to handle th grind and the workload. He was thrown in against Florida and teams like that and didn't blink an eye. He has the athletic ability and catchup speed where he can make a wrong step and still make up ground and make a play. He played RB in high school and you want your LBs and safeties to have those qualities of an RB. He does. He also has confidence and understands when he's supposed to be deep and when he's supposed to come up and defend the run. He hasn't been beaten deep yet.
Q: How did your special teams play against Auburn?
Coach O: It was just OK, but not like last year. We were explosive last year and had fun out there, but something is missing this year.
Q: One of your former GAs posted something on the Commercial Appeal site about Greg Hardy. Are you aware of that?
Coach O: I don't want to comment on any of that stuff. We are really busy working on our team and things that matter. I'm really focused on that.
Q: How did Seth do against Auburn in your mind?
Coach O: There weren't many open receivers and he was under a lot of pressure. You can't put that one on the quarterback. It wasn't like he missed on a lot of plays, but I want to see him play like he did at the first of the season.
Q: How has the team handled the distraction with Greg being suspended?
Coach O: I don't think it has been a distraction. We told the team Friday about it and we moved on. The team is focused and understands. This is not the first suspension we have had. I have talked to Greg and it looks to me like both parties can come to an agreement about what is going on. There is no doubt nobody cares about Greg Hardy more than I do, but we do have rules and they have to be followed. If he follows those rules, I have no problem bringing him back.
Q: His Mom said ya'll told him he was done for the season. True?
Coach O: What I told the media yesterday is that he is suspended indefinitely and that's as far as I am going with that. We are not talking about in-house stuff beyond what I said yesterday.
Practice report, Tuesday
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