Coach Wally Burnham Breaks Down the Defense

USF defensive coordinator Coach Wally Burnham tells USFNation his thoughts of the performance of the defense through the first two games of the season, and looks ahead to Kansas. Only on -- Get it First, Get it Fast!  With two weeks into the season, what are your feelings on the Bulls defense?

USFN: Wally Burnham: I felt pretty good into four minutes to go in that game the other night. We just didn't accept that challenge and that's what disappointed me. We had a 14 point lead and they get a turnover, so what? We still got to go out there and play, step up, and meet the challenge. That's our job and that's what we're hired to do, to play defense and stop touchdowns.


USFN: What are your feelings on the two late scores by the Knights?

Wally:  If they gotten a field goal there, then okay I can feel better about that.  It was very disappointing, but overall the kids gave a great effort, came back and we made a great play at the end. If there is a glass half full, then that last stop at the end made up for the last four minutes.

USFN: Did making that last stop help restore the defenses confidence?

Wally: It should, that's why you're competitive. Making a game saving tackle a stop, and all those kind of things. It's got to make you feel a little more comfortable that you can do it again the next time.


USFN: UCF employed a 3-step drop, slid guys over, and double teamed Selvie, how do you combat teams doing that?

Wally: Tighten our coverage. Play the 3-step drop better, and don't worry because if we can get the pressure we're going to get the pressure. Now our secondary and linebackers have got to do a better job. If they are going to do a 3-step drop, then they're not going to be running long routes, and that's on the linebackers and the defensive backs when they start doing those that.


USFN: Are you happy that through two games you haven't allowed much rushing?

Wally: Yeah, because that's what we work on all the time. We're going to work on stopping the run this week. We're going to work on 4-wide, 5-wides, and they run the ball enough that we're going to work on the run, and stop the run.


USFN: Is there a focus on stopping Kansas's run game?

Wally: If we can stop the run and people may say that you may not want to make Kansas one dimensional, but we do. We like them to be, and take our chances. If somebody runs the ball on you, then you're in trouble.


USFN: What are your thoughts on Kansas QB Todd Reesing?

Wally: He's probably the most accurate passer we've faced since I've been here. It's not that he challenges you all that much down field, but he's got the short passing game, the screens, the shovel passes, the crossing routes, and all that.


USFN: Do you still have to guard against the deep ball?

Wally: They do throw a deep ball every so often, and they might come out and throw twenty [deep balls] against us, and just run people straight down the field and try to beat us. But going by last year and this year so far, he's been strictly a 3-step drop or 5-step and getting rid of the ball quickly, but he's very accurate and it's scary how accurate he is.


USFN: What are your thoughts on George Selvie's production so far?

Wally: I think George is playing better than he did last year. He's taking two blockers and lot of times he's just a step away from getting a sack or getting a tackle. They're doing special things on him and he's still succeeding and still grading out with effort and technique.


USFN: With the extra attention on Selvie, is it opening things up for the rest of the line?

Wally: It should, but we're still waiting on somebody after two games. We need somebody to step up. Jarriett Buie, Terrell McClain, Jarriett Buie and people like that. Terrell McClain had a good game, a real good game, and that's the first time he's shown that he's breathing around here, and we're real happy with that. If he can step it up and give us a push in the middle, then that's going to help somebody else. We got two guys on George, and if we get two guys on somebody else then we'll be all right.


USFN: With Kansas running a similar offense does that make it easier to game plan?

Wally: it gives us an advantage on how line up and where to line up, and things like that. If we had a fast turnaround week, then this is the probably the best situation. We face it every day in practice with our offense. If they go five wide then our guys know where to line up. If they go empty backfield then we know what to do. Now we just have to execute.

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