An Interview With Jappy Oliver

With so much being counted on from the defensive line this season, we decided to speak with Defensive Line Coach Jappy Oliver about the new package, the returning players and the new players. Here is what he had to say ...

Jappy Oliver

You are coaching the entire defensive line this year - both defensive ends and tackles?

"That's just like I like it. :::: laughs ::::: It's not too much for us, if that's what you're asking. Let's look at it this way. The defensive line needs to move and react as one - so now they are hearing one voice."

You have one of the deeper and more talented defensive lines that the University of South Carolina has ever had, but you lack experienced depth. How will you approach that this season, especially early in the season?

"Ummmm, hopefully we'll be able to get some of the newer and less experienced guys a lot of work early. I mean this preseason is going to be very important to us, especially at the tackle spot. You know, because I gained a couple of guys that were injured last season, but you know, we introduced the package to them in the spring so hopefully they will not come in acting like freshmen. You know, they know where to get lined up and where to go. Now, how they overcome their injuries and move around - that's something that is yet to be determined."

How does the early season loss of James Scott affect you?

"James may join us, hopefully before too long. Until then it gives someone else an opportunity."

Beyond George Gause and Moe Thompson, who are you looking at as contributors at defensive end?

"Well we've got Charles Silas. You know Silas in the beginning of spring we had him at tackle. And you know we moved him the last couple practices back to end - he just feels more comfortable there. So he's gonna be an End. And on the other side we've got Jason Capers, I mean the guy just gives me a lot of flexibility. He can play outside or inside and he has learned both so I feel real good about those two kids."

Will the new guys contribute right away?

"K.T. Mainord will start out as an End. Matt Raysor and Marque Hall definitely will be tackles for right now. We'll just try to soak them in and get them acclimated to the system as fast as possible. They are three really good looking kids but they have a lot to learn. If they can do it, then they will have a chance to contribute this season and of course, we can always use the extra talent of their caliber."

Eric Stroman coming off the foot injury. What do you expect out of him this season?

"Yeah, uh huh. :::: laughs :::::: Well, that's the million dollar question isn't it?"

Ok then, how about Stanley Doughty?

"Stanley, you know, Stanley was here in the spring and hopefully, well - he was introduced to the package and hopefully he picked up on things - although he needs to pick things up a little quicker. Now Stanley shows flashes of brilliance ... shows a lot of flashes. He has the ability to make some plays so we'll see how that goes. I'm looking to see how he takes off this year. He's got a lot of confidence. I mean look at him. He's built like a little tank - low to the ground. And he does not lack for confidence that's for sure so we are going to see if we can get him headed in the right direction and making some plays."

What about Chris Tucker?

"Chris worked himself into the lineup pretty good this spring. As a matter of fact he ended up edging Freddy Saint Preux out a little bit you know? He gives me a lot more depth at the tackle spot. You know the big thing is that some of the kids play the run a little better than the pass and visa versa - but I am looking for that complete player inside. We may have to platoon a little bit ... we'll see."

Do you finally have the SEC type size and speed that you want on the defensive line?

"I hope so. I hope so. Time will tell if we have the talent in terms of size and speed. But with the package and the way it is designed we just don't 'sit' per se. There's a lot of movement and things that we are going to incorporate to take advantage of some things we have not had in the past. We've got some talent out there for sure."

What have you asked of Moe Thompson and George Gause with regards to getting more pressure on opposing quarterbacks this season?

"I just want them to be the leaders that I think they are capable of being. As long as they play well and up to their capabilities they will make some plays. This package that we installed helps them to use their skills and talents to make plays. We've really changed some things to take advantage of Moe and George's athleticism. On top of that I need them to be leaders on and off the field for me."

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