Holmes on the D-Line

Defensive end Damien Holmes talked about the defensive line, the coaching, the lack of pressure on the quarterback, and more...

Damien Holmes talked to us after practice.

Q: How's the year going for you so far?

A: Good, I mean there's definitely improvement that needs to be done. I've been using this bye week to tune up every part of my game, so I was happy about that.

Q: It seemed like you and Datone Jones got going a little in the Wazzu game. Was there anything different you guys were doing?

A: Probably just simplifying it and not thinking as much. You know, there's not too many different ways to get to the quarterback, so we really just simplified it. Might as well just stay with the simplest way, and that's just getting after it and something we tried to do as a D-line.

Q: What was going on earlier in the year, when you were having trouble generating consistent pressure as a front four?

A: It definitely falls on us. It's a luxury when you can get pressure with just a four man front. We definitely haven't done as good a job of it at this point, which was probably caused by some over thinking. Now it's something we definitely think we can improve on as the year goes on.

Q: Coach Tresey mentioned that his big focus is third down at this point. What needs to happen for the team to get out of third and short situations unscathed?

A: I mean, you look at third down and you see how successful they are, but it's not always just those downs. They can get big first downs, and that seems like it's more our problem. They get five yards with first down and three more on second, and you're going to be looking at 3rd and 2. At this point, we've got to do a better job stopping them on first and second down to put us in a much more manageable third down situation. That way they can play into our hands, and we'll dictate a little more of what they can do.

Q: Across the line, Datone was looking pretty much unblock able in fall camp. Have you noticed anything he's doing differently?

A: Nothing much, I mean, this is Division I football. The other guys practice too. He did good in fall, but it's not a matter of anything he's doing differently. We've all just got to stay after it and improve as a line. That's the main thing we all have to do.

Q: Has there been a big switch between coach Breckterfield and coach Howard's teaching methods?

A: The only big thing I can think of is if you go from a coach personality standpoint. There's not many different things you can coach as a D-line. There are differences, granted, but it's mostly similarities. You have coach Breckterfield, who's more likely to get after you where with coach Howard you have more of a laid back coach. But they're both very good coaches, and mostly similar in teaching style.

Q: Coach Breckterfield was quoted earlier in the year saying he wanted to coach effort first, and then technique. Has that been the case in terms of coaching?

A: Yeah, there's definitely an emphasis on getting up and after the quarterback and playing hard, but he has definitely been teaching the fundamentals as well. I mean, you look at the kind of player he was, he was the kind of guy who flew around and made plays. That's what he is as a defensive guy.

Q: Given the difficulty of getting pressure with just a front four, do you think you need more blitzing behind you to get a better pass rush?

A: It's hard to get pressure, but it's also a luxury. And we're trying to do that, so that's all we can really focus on. If the DC wants to blitz more, he can blitz more, but for us as a front four, we're going to take it as our responsibility to get pressure with just us four.

Q: With a guy like Nick Foles this week, how important is it to get pressure and rush his throws?

A: It's huge. They're third or somewhere around there in passing offense. Granted, they have other pieces, but a big part of that is quarterback. He's a big guy at 6'5, but if we can rile him up a little bit, that'll go a long way.

Q: Has there been an extra emphasis on it this week in meetings?

A: There's always a huge emphasis on getting to the quarterback, regardless of who it is. We definitely need to keep improving on that this week if we're going to have success.

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