Coach Burnham Concerned About the Defense

The Bulls held their first practice of the spring this week and USF defensive coordinator Coach Wally Burnham tells USFNation his thoughts of the first day of spring, the depth chart, replacing five defensive starters, and more. Only on -- Get it First, Get it Fast!

How was the first day back at practice?

"I don't know it's hard to tell. They're lining up, but still walking around, going through the silence, but hopefully we got some things done mentally. We went seven on seven for a little bit, but you can't break on the ball like you want to, and it's a typical first day of practice in shorts. Not anything really outstanding and nothing really bad either, because we didn't do much.


Any surprises out there the first day?

"Not a one, not a one."


Were there any injuries to speak of?

"Well Brouce (Mompremier) is a little nicked up, and Sabbath had the screw taken out of his ankle this past winter and he's still a bit tender. Also Chris Robinson is dealing with turf toe he got in the off-season, but nothing really major, we got everybody participating.


What are your feelings on the defensive secondary?

"They can be good. They can be as good as we've had. It's hard to say when you've lost two great corners, but overall they can be good. we got seven guys back there that have played a tremendous amount of football, and have played some good football too. There is no doubt they are the strong point of our football team defensively right now. Everywhere else we're scrambling.


Is it strange not starting spring practice for the first time in five years without Trae Williams and Mike Jenkins?

"Yeah it is. That's two great playmakers, and we've lost some playmakers last year let me tell you. Now we have to develop some more. As coaches we got to get them to do the things that they can do, and make them into playmakers, and they have to work hard to be playmakers.


How do you feel about the two-deep depth chart at the start of spring?

"Not real good. We got guys that haven't played a down before, or haven't played much. At linebacker we got a junior college guy, and Sabbath hasn't played much. On the line, we got a couple redshirts, McCaskill is in there, and Hampton another redshirt, he's a long way away. Aycox has been around but hasn't played much. So it's a concern. It's a big concern and we got to be strong in the middle, and I don't know how strong we are on the first team in the middle right now. We lost a couple of key lineman and a middle linebacker. So, I'm concerned, real concerned.


How hard is it replacing all the starters?

"We lost five starters on defense and hopefully we got five guys that can replace them. We always say, don't rebuild, reload. And we'll find out more in the next week or so."


Do you think you'll know more once the pads are put on?

"Oh yes, right now it's so hard defensively. The offense can go out and polish plays, run and catch balls, and that kind of stuff. But we're out here working on bags, shoots, and dummies. You get some things done but that's not a realistic way to gage progress.


What are your goals for the spring?

"Just get better technically. I don't care what happens if we can get better techniques and be along that and forget about schemes and all that mess and just get better technically.


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