The Defense Awakens

The defense had played very well this spring. Yet at Thursday's practice, they seemed to be taking it all for granted. Yet, they rallied and showed yet again how good they can be.

Junior cornerback Jarius Byrd was asked before Thursday's practice how he thought the defense was progressing.

"I think we're right on schedule, kind of in the experimental phase, throwing in new defenses and new wrinkles," Byrd replied.

"Basically we just want to try and work on everything," defensive end Will Tukuafu added.

The defense was preaching modesty in the ninth practice of spring despite its top-notch performances thus far. Yet as the coaches continued to add more and more wrinkles to their game plan, and the coaches brought the players down to earth even more.

"You guys are taking a day off," yelled secondary coach John Neal.

The defense got off to a slow start in the 11 on 11 drills. They were giving up big runs, and they were giving up passing plays as well. Yet there was a turning point, and it came on a broken up screen pass attempt.

"We got one positive rep, that a baby," bellowed defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti sarcastically, as he clapped.

But the momentum changed and the defense sharpened up. The long slashing runs were put to a stop, and the passing game became stifled as well. Leading the charge for the defense was junior safety T.J. Ward. Ward broke up a couple of passing plays, recorded an interception off a Cody Kempt throw, and he did a very nice job stuffing the run.

While the defense has been dominating at times this spring, they are showing a more grounded day-to-day approach to this spring. Today's practice was a nice example of how this defense can stay hungry, and how they can continue a day-to-day approach amid a dominant streak of play.

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