Coaches Corner: DT's

We go one on one with Texas State Defensive Tackles Coach, Kyle Tatum, for the latest on his unit heading into the summer and beyond.

Both starting defensive tackles return from last year's squad, in fact, all four tackles in the 2-deep return for another year of Texas State football. D-Tackle's Coach Kyle Tatum talked to BI about his group, who he see's playing on field, expectations of the newcomers, schemes, and more.

Talk to us in general about the progress, improvements, or areas still needing work for your unit heading into summer?
Our starters, the ones and twos, those guys that really collectively as a group, they all performed and bought into working and understanding what we're trying to do as a defense. Coming out of the spring we feel good about the direction we're heading and excited about the summer.

Going into the summer, are your starters Dallas McClarty (Jr.) and Mershaad Dillon (Sr.) or is it an open competition?
Right now you look at Dallas and Mershaad. They're two guys who played a lot of ball last year and they started every game. Right now those two guys are the most consistent guys, but that doesn't mean that it could change. Will Trevillion (Jr.) Dondre Elvoid (Sr.), Herbert Gonzalez (Sr.), some of those guys that are behind them pushing, Darius Hood (Sr.) and other guys that we got coming in. Steven Eddings, Javier Edwards, Josh Uluocha, whose to say that those guys don't come in and have an impact. It's looking good, we're going to have competition in summer and fall camp.

You mentioned Eddings and Edwards, any news on their status?
We're just going to see how everything shapes up academically. They've definitively progressed and we just gotta see how things finish out and we hope to get them to camp come August. We're really hoping for that and feeling really good about it.

Talk more about 2015 signees Landon Beck, Dustin McWhorter and Josh Uluocha. Could they come in and see PT right away?
What we tell all of our guys is don't prepare yourself to sit out a year. Why would you ever do that. Sometimes you get red shirted and it's not a bad deal. I was red shirted as a college player. It can help you grow as a player, get ready, but we're going to tell all those guys you need to be ready to go. All those guys need to make sure that they're ready. We recruited them for a reason and for them to make an impact up front. Really expect them to come in and compete.

Do you expect any of these signees to possibly move to D-End?
No doubt, McWhorter for sure, and Landon, they'll start there. They're big guys, so who knows how they develop. That position has to be versatile, but those guys, Mershaad, Will and others, play the 3 technique, but they also play a little 4 technique, that 5 technique is outside. They have to be versatile.

We could see them doing some of that down the road, Landon Beck is a big old guy. He's going to start out at defensive end, the same with McWhorter. Those guys are the real deal.

What's the scheme or philosophy for your D-Tackles?
We like for our guys to have fun, first and foremost to have fun they have to be accountable to themselves and teammates. If they practice and play that way then that's who we're going to trust and who we're going to play on game-day. Those guys will play base football, we're going to ask them to stunt, we're gonna blitz some, to play gap control, play 4 tech to a 2 gap. We're doing a couple of different things. Our philosophy is different for certain situations. We want to be nasty up front, play sound and with fundamentals, but we're always going to be a vertical attacking defensive line. We're going to attack and react, there's no doubt.

First off to clarify, Dondre Elvoid is listed as a junior on the roster, did he get a year back? Secondly, how many guys are yal targeting to replace departing seniors after this year?
No-no, this is his (Elvoid's) senior year coming up.

Elvoid and Mershaad are the only 2 scholarship seniors at the tackle spot. We're going to lose a couple of guys, but we'll have a couple more coming back next year. We're looking to sign 1 or 2 guys, I'm not exact on what the numbers are, but whoever is going to help our football team win.

As a whole, how is the entire D-line looking going into the summer?
Coach Mike Hudson did a great job with those guys this spring. Roosevelt Pearson (Jr.) is coming off of an injury and he's getting used to the scheme and getting acclimated since he didn't play last year. Jeff Banks (So.), Karee Berry (So.), at times they showed they can be impact players, we're expecting those guys to step up. Marcus Dallas Jr (Sr.) had a good spring. Brian Guendling (Jr.) and Rusmin Nikocevic (Sr.), those 2 guys are solid. Russ stepped up big as a leader this spring. I know Coach Hud could say more about those guys though.

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