Interview With Defensive Coordinator Rick Minter

Gamecock Insider caught up with Carolina Defensive Coordinator Rick Minter over the weekend after Saturday's Scrimmage. Here are his thoughts about the current progress of his defense for our Premium Subscribers ...

Rick Minter "I thought our kids went out there and played extremely hard today. They were looking forward to this scrimmage. Now we can take what we learned out there and get right back at it correcting our mistakes."

"It was our first practice of scrimmage nature so it was a way of putting them under the gun for the first time. It allowed us to be on the field and make changes and nurse them along. As we progress we will move farther and farther off the field and put them in more real time game situations. I'm kind of waiting to see now when the game is on the line and the guys have to make plays without us out there ... who can step up and make plays? Who can make plays under stress, who is going to lead us? Who is going to make plays when their backs are to the wall. We need leaders out there - we've got some potential. As we hold other scrimmages we will be less and less involved on the field and then our leaders will come out."

"We were sort of limited because we are only so deep right now - particularly on the offensive line. But this was an opportunity to work some of the threes and get them on the field."

"I want Rod Wilson and Corey Peoples up closer to the line of scrimmage ... more like linebackers. I will continue to play Lawrence and Lambert at Mike Linebacker and Hurley and Laury at Will Linebacker along with Wilson and Peoples. Secondary wise we've got some corners that have been in and out of the lineup this past week due to a few bangs and bruises. But Jonathan Joseph looked good today and showed us a little bit of his speed. And Fred Bennett is coming along nicely as you could see out there today and Tremaine Tyler is solid, Taqiy Muhammad is solid. Our safeties, Jackson and Harris are very solid. Ko Simpson looked good today and Hemphill is going to be good once he makes the adjustment over from wide receiver."

"Charles Silas will play down this season, I want to keep him inside. Shrop and Freddy are down too and doing a very good job, they are playing well. So Silas is one of those guys that will work a little bit outside but I really like him on the inside. Capers could play a little inside too so you could see both of those guys swinging both ways a little bit."

"I wanna tell you, that first offensive line is very good. They blow off that line and they are very agile and agressive. I am impressed with the offensive line I see going against my defense - that starting five at least. They have some work to do with their twos but Shank is doing a good job over there and they have a lot of potential."

"We've got to start honing ourselves down and decide who our starters are and who are twos are. That will start to happen more and more with the next few scrimmages."

"This was a good measuring stick today. We needed this because spring is winding down in a hurry - we do not have a lot of practices left, so after today we will need to start solidifying some things and deciding who is going where."

"The effort today was outstanding. Something else I was looking for was unity and I thought that was outstanding today as well. We were culprits of the big play today on defense. That's how we gave up some points today. We didn't sustain through every play but we made some plays, we just have to learn not to give up the big play. But overall our effort and unity was outstanding for a first scrimmage. There was good and bad today. I am not so concerned with the big plays as I was looking for who was going to be play makers and who would make the big plays when we needed them - and I think I saw a couple of people out there today that are ready to step up and be leaders. Those are the people that can overcome adversity and rally the troops. The little things that we missed today to allow the big plays can be fixed. What I liked seeing were the players who put mistakes behind them and continued to work hard at getting better on every snap."

"Depth right now, we're just so-so ... because the backup players right now, so many of them are younger. The learning curves is higher for those guys. You'll see some of these guys who will improve a ton after spring practice once summer gets here. So yeah, depth right now is so-so but I look for that to get a lot better in a little amount of time."

We've got some battles going right now at linebacker a little bit. We know George Gause and Moe Thompson are going to be our ends. We know Shrophire is our tackle and right now Freddy is doing a solid job so those, you could say, are going to be our starters we know that pretty much for sure right now. Linebackers ... we've got so many guys that can roll and spell through there ... and Rod Wilson is really doing a good job."

"We're going to be agressive this year. We're not going to lay our ears back all the time but we are going to be agressive. We're going to be technicians of defense if you will and do the things necessary to play good defense. All I want is for our kids to have fun out there and have a good time playing defense, but I want them to be fundamentally sound doing it. I want them to relax and go out there and have fun but I want them to do things the right way. If they can do that then the more agressive we can be and I'll like that and they will like that and coach will like that."

"We're going to be okay in the secondary. I'll say that about them right now. We've still got a learning curve over there and we've got a lot of work to do. At safeties, the upside is unlimited back there. The young players in our secondary, as their bodies get bigger better faster stronger - they are going to be very good. The safeties are obviously far ahead of the corners right now but I really like Bennett and Joseph on the corners and Taqiy Muhammad and Tremaine Tyler are coming along nicely. The secondary is nowhere near where I want it to be right now but they are being worked hard and I have confidence that they are going to be fine in the long run. I am not comfortable with them right now, but I see the potential and I know that as some of these young men mature and they get over the learning curve they are going to be very very good. One thing I like about our secondary, something that really excites me, is that these guys at corner have a certain air about them. They have a certain confidence about them that you can't teach - you're either born with it or not. So all four of the corners right now know that they have to bring their lunch bucket with them every day to keep their jobs and that is making for some good competition out there. So like I said, I am not completely comfortable with them right now but I know one day we're going to wake up and find ourselves with a really good group of corners out there - and another thing, they play as a unit. They support one another really well and I am big on that. That's the way we want it, especially in that secondary."

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