John Saldi was one of the key factors in turning around the Texas Tech defense last season. Saldi's outstanding play in those seven games makes him the leading candidate for the starting spot at weak side linebacker. Saldi says that last season's experience has been helpful this spring. "I come out here and I feel so much more comfortable," says Saldi, ". I have some experience and know what to expect. Right now I'm just building on last year."
This season also brings a new Defensive scheme. The new scheme features an attacking style of play and increased freedom for the players. "It's just a lot more aggressive and gives us a lot more freedom to audible out of things," says Saldi, "If we see an offense do something we can audible something else. It just gives us the freedom to play what we want play and be as aggressive as we want". The change in schemes has also brought a change in the attitude of the Texas Tech defense. "You can tell if you come out and watch the practice compared to last year we're getting a lot more collision," says Saldi, "Our mentality is just a little bit more tough." The defensive switch is already showing promise, even though the players have only been using it for a short time. "Our offense says this defense is a lot more frustrating than what it was last year, so that's really good for our first two and a half weeks that we've been doing it we're already," says Saldi, "It's good, I like it right now."
While Saldi looks to be a clear favorite to start on the weak side, there is still a wide open competition to see who will play next to him at the middle linebacker spot. "Brock Stratton and Fletcher Session are competing really well for that spot", says Saldi, "Right now no one's really showed one better than the other so they're competing really good." Saldi say he would be comfortable playing next to either linebacker. "They're both good leaders, real loud, and take control of things," says Saldi.