On any differences in the defense and his philosophy:
There will be a few differences, a few wrinkles here and there. More of some things, less of certain things. I think that we've come in and took a hard look at our defense this offseason. We understood we play in a conference that is wide open and we have to adjust to that. I think we've done that. We're in the process of adding those wrinkles now.
On if any players are catching his eye:
It's so early and I'd hate to pass judgment on any of them. They are all excellent football players and we're confident in our ability to evaluate and they all have excellent futures as football players. They've done some good things, they've made some mistakes, but they'll learn as they go.
On if he brings more energy:
I think that's a coaches role in general. We have to be the one that generate the enthusiasm. We have to be the ones that create the focus and the attention to detail. That's our role. That's what we get paid for. A lot of time coaches put that on the players but that responsibility lands on our shoulders. It always has and always should be.
On if the wrinkles include more nickel:
Maybe a little more nickel, maybe a little more the traditional 4-3 football. Just a little, we're not going to abandon what we've done. We're taking steps in the right direction and we've done some good things. A little more versatility to our defense.
On replacing Anthony Barr and Cassius Marsh:
They're un-replaceable. You lose your top three pass rushers, Keenan Graham, Cassius and Anthony. Impossible guys to replace. The beauty is you've got these young guys. So fired up about the opportunity to compete. It will be fun because the cream always rises and we're going to get a good one out of this group.
On Zach Whitley:
You anticipate a kid who should still be in high school to struggle mightily and fall all over the place. And no doubt he's had his bumps but you see some glimpses of something very special and I'm fired up about him. I remember my first mini-camp and first OTA and it's the same thing. It's faster and more physical. You either quit or you get faster and you get physical.
On watching the inside linebackers and the whole defense:
I think as an inside linebacker, you see it all and are trained that way. You see as much as you can. I'm always looking. No matter what, the peripheral is always on them. It's a good situation.
On if he envisioned being a DC when he started coaching:
I had no goals. I knew at one point I would have loved to have done it. I think the thing that was very important to me was to maintain a room or a group. And getting the inside backers allows me to do both and it's for me, the best of both worlds. Give them the tools and the tricks, but at the same time, help out the whole defense. It's exciting.
On how his first coaching job helped:
A ton. I learned a ton just being able to coach. I owe Coach Carroll a huge ton of gratitude. He knew me from nothing, second hand from people and took a chance on a nobody. He gave me a role that was up front and ability to speak to the team and really coach. It was invaluable and it helped a ton. Maybe the latter part of my career when I played special teams and I was relegated to special teams, and wasn't playing much at linebacker with the 49ers, I think I started to assume that role. I always knew that was what I wanted to do, so I started working with guys, spending extra time in meetings and practice. It was always something I worked for. I'm not a goal driven guy, I'm all about the process. I know that sounds nuts, but I never say to my guys 'you've got to win this game. You've got to win a championship'. To me, that's all crap. There are a lot of people who have dreams but aren't doers. I'm tired of the dreamers, I want doers. Lets make a plan and work our plan. And the byproduct of that is you win, and you win championships. So it wasn't like I was trying to be a DC, it was 'ok, I'm an assistant special teams coach, I'm going to kick ass in this'. Then I got here, coached special teams and tried my butt off, and coached linebacker and gave it everything I've got. The byproduct of that is this promotion. That's always been my mindset.
On if he looked forward to the defensive coordinator process:
I think the more I coached the linebackers, the more that you start to develop your ideas of what you wanted to do, so I think I got that itch and wanted to have more influence. At the same time, I was never overlooking what I was doing.
On how much he had to learn about the other positional units:
Schematically, I had always been in tuned to what everyone is doing. Technically, I'm so fortunate to have Coach Martin and Coach Angus and now Coach Tui. They bring the technique part of it and I'll continue to try to learn more of that. The biggest part of my role is to fit this part of the puzzle together.