Spanos Talks Defensive Plan

Defensive coordinator Lou Spanos talks position changes, whether it's fair to say UCLA will be running a 3-4, and how the coaching staff will work together...

Q: I saw there were some position changes on the website, with Anthony Barr moving to defense, and then Damien Holmes and Keenan Graham moving to linebacker. What went into those decisions?

A: Well, we just wanted to put guys in a position where they'd have the best chance to succeed, and where we'd be getting the most out of them as a defense, and moving Barr to defense gives us another athletic weapon back there. It gives us more options as a defense.

Q: Given the movement of bigger guys back to linebacker, and a guy like Jared Koster to safety, is it safe to say that you're going to be using a good amount of 3-4 as your base defense?

A: You're not going to be able to label it by what front we run. What we're going to do is play Bruin defense, and that's going to involve the ability to play multiple fronts, and be flexible depending on our personnel matchups. It's not going to be a 3-4 or a 4-3. It's going to be multiple.

Q: Obviously with the Steelers you were helping to coach a mostly 3-4 defense, but what kind of fronts did you run with the Redskins?

A: We operated out of a 3-4 often, but we also had the ability to go with a 4 man front. Again, we had a flexible defense that could shift the front to different looks depending on what we wanted to do as a defense.

Q: You haven't had much of a chance to see these guys in action- are you basing most of these personnel decisions off of tape from last year?

A: Yeah, because honestly all we've seen of most of these guys is tape from games and practice last year. We've also seen how they look from workouts and gotten an impression of them as people, but we don't have much of our own experience watching them play. That's why spring ball is going to be so valuable, because we're going to get a chance to watch these kids go live and see what they can do out on the field.

Q: Do you anticipate any more position changes prior to spring ball?

A: We're going to be constantly looking at personnel and seeing if there's going to be a better fit for a guy, and that's a process that'll be ongoing through spring ball.

Q: With the shifting fronts, do you have a guess who you're going to test out at nose tackle when you're running a 3 man front?

A: I think I'm going to leave talk about specific positions until later.

Q: Have you and Coach Mora talked about how you're going to divide responsibilities for the defense, in terms of play calling and overall game planning?

A: That's probably a better question for Coach Mora than for me. I'll direct you to the head coach on that one.

Q: You have a background in coaching linebackers. Are you and Coach Ulbrich planning on sharing the workload with the linebackers?

A: You know what, we've got a great defensive staff, and I think everyone, from Coach Mora on down, is going to be collaborating to make this the best defense it can be.

Q: Have you been able to observe any of the workouts with Coach Alosi? What have been your impressions?

A: The kids are clearly working hard.

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