Tyrone Nix Assesses Defense So Far

Tyrone Nix met with the media to assess the progress of his defense to date Wednesday afternoon. Here is what he had to say ...

Tyrone Nix

Q: Are you satisfied with the improvement of your defense so far?

Nix: Oh, I think we've improved since our first scrimmage but we still have a long way to go. There's still two weeks before we play our first ballgame. I think the intensity picked up and we tackle better but we still have to eliminate the missed assignments.

Q: How's the defensive line stack-up now in terms of first team and second team?

Nix: You know right now we feel like we have a strong first unit and that consists of DeAdrian Coley, Marquis Hall, Chris Tucker and right now Josh Johnson. And right now Stanley Doughty is working himself into better conditioning and he is fighting for a starting spot. But we feel like those guys right there will give us a chance to be successful when we start.

Q: What about the linebackers?

Nix: Linebackers? They lookin' good. Ricardo Hurley is making plays. Mike West is making plays. You know and Lance Laury has been consistent and we have a lot of freshmen at this position that have a chance to factor in as well.

Q: What about that one spot at defensive back, at safety?

Nix: Oh that safety ... it's great, great. You know Brandon Issac is the starter right now and he is really improving. He still has a ways to go but right now it is a steady competition day in and day out and we're going to put the best guy out there that gives us a chance to win on September 1st.

Q: How is Orus Lambert doing?

Nix: Orus is doing good. He actually was starting at defensive end. We're going to make an evaluation after our next scrimmage and decide between him and Josh Johnson ... but he's doing well. He's picked up on everything well and playing all right.

Q: Have you made moves to get more speed on the field?

Nix: That's our number one objective. To get as much speed on the field as possible and get our guys in position to make plays. Orus is one of those guys that can factor in and help us more on the defensive line than he could at linebacker.

Q: What is the two deep on defense?

Nix: At defensive end I would say Josh Johnson and Orus Lambert at one end and on the other end I would say DeAdrian Coley and Jordan Lindsey ... sure would.

Q: What has Josh Johnson done to improve so much since the spring?

Nix: The biggest thing he has done is get bigger. He's up to about 260 pounds and in the spring he was about 225. And he is playing smarter and better fundementals and he has a sense of urgency like he is trying to get the job done instead of not going as hard as I would like to see him go.

Q: You haven't mentioned Charles Silas?

Nix: He can't play the first game. He's not available for the first game so right ... I'm takin' about right now. But no doubt, he's gonna factor in. He's a bonus for us. Charles has done well. He's done real well.

Q: Talk about Matt Raysor's improvement from camp until now.

Nix: ::: laughs ::: You know Razor he's been a pleasant surprise. He's actually in better shape and in better condition than he was in the spring and he's actually getting to a position now where he can make plays on the defense. He's just gotta get consistent - he's kind of hot and cold at times and we just gotta get him doing the right thing on every snap.

Q: Scheme wise, how are the players picking up the system?

Nix: Oh it's great, it's great. You know um ... we got nine guys doing it right most of the time and two guys can get you beat so it doesn't make a difference we just gotta get all eleven on the same page on every snap.

Q: Is this defense a lot more agressive than in the past?

Nix: We're gonna be multiple, we're gonna be multiple. We're not afraid of coming after the quarterback in certain situations and of course we'll play some zone at times as well. We gotta mix it up - we gotta mix it up and in certain situations we will come after them.

Q: Are you in a position where you feel like you have to restrain your defense right now because the offense is behind?

Nix: You know, I won't say that. I think our offense is improving everyday, they come out and give us challenge. I think our objective on defense is to come out and be the best that we can be every chance we come out here and practice and hopefully we'll come out here and play that way on Saturdays.

Q: Are you happy with the pass rush and pressure you have been generating on quarterbacks?

Nix: Yeah I'll tell you what. I like some of the guys gettin on the edge. I think we have some speed up front and again we moved some guys in those positions to give us more speed up front. Again I am more concerned right now with just playing the run ... getting our guys fundementally sound to stop the run because if you don't stop the run they ain't going to throw it at all.

Q: Is there a trade off between getting the size you want and getting the speed up front?

Nix: I'll tell you what. Size is not as big factor if they'll play with heart ... we feel like even though they are a little bit smaller we'll still get the job done. We'll sacrifice a little size at times but we won't sacrifice heart and determination.

Q: Is everything going the way you want it to do so far?

Nix: I think that we're improving. I think we're where we are supposed to be but I think we still got a long ways to go. We got two weeks to get there and hopefully we'll have a finished product when we come out on September 1st.

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