Q&A: Defensive report

PonyStampede.com went 1-on-1 with SMU defensive coordinator Tom Mason to get his thoughts on WSU. Come inside for the full report.

Talk about playing them for the second straight year, it's almost like a conference game for you guys in the fact that they know you?
"Yeah, you have that sometimes. They are a good football team, I think they have gotten better since last year. They have a different quarterback and some junior college kids in their offensive line. No. 21, their running back Montgomery is a good football player. We saw him last year. We are going to have our hands full with this offense. We are not a level where we can just show up. I know the point spread is really high at this point, but it doesn't mean anything. We have to go out and play."

Was Saturday's defensive performance the best by your defense since you have been here?
"I wouldn't say it was the best. We still have a long way to go. We are getting better. It might be the best from a production stand point, but we still have along way to go with this defense. There are just certain things that breakdown or happen to us. We get a couple injuries and things could be pretty average for us.

"The kids are playing pretty hard for us and they have started to minimize the mental mistakes. It's getting there, but I'm not 100% happy with it."

Do you have to talk to the defense about, I know the point spread is high and that they have struggled, but we have to show up?
"I don't think this team is wired like that. We haven't been a dominant program, where the kids get that mentality. I think they understand that every game is going to come down to the wire. I didn't feel good about that last game until the last drive, when we stopped them, and I think the kids feel the same sense of urgency."

Talk about the defensive line, has it been what you thought it was going to be with Frazier in the middle?
"Yeah, I really question Frazier playing inside at the nose spot, because it's limits what he can do from a production stand point, but we are sort of stuck in that position right now. At least until the young kids can get up and run with the 1st team. As far as the defensive ends, Hunt and Thompson have performed really well for us right now. It's hard to run the ball inside on us."

I have noticed that "Spike" has been getting a lot more reps than I figured he would? How many at this point?
"I would say probably 30% of the time. He's a change up guy. He gives you speed and can change directions really quick. It drives those centers nuts. Because they have Marquis leaning on them and then you throw him at them. It's a great change up."

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