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On the linebackers overall:
They’ve been good. Their leadership has gone to another level. That’s something I’m pleased with. We’re getting consistency and overall the understanding of the defense is at an all time high. I tell them every day, keep climbing. We’;ll be just fine.
On the middle linebacker battle:
It’s wide open. It’s a three-way battle between Kenny (Young), Isaak (Savaaianea) and Lokeni (Toailoa). They battle in there every day. They command the defense and the unit and they do a good job.
On if he has a timeframe to make a decision on that spot:
Every day they’ll battle it out. It’s not like a quarterback situation. The positive is we have three great guys that can get in there and win football games for us.
On Lokeni Toailoa:
His maturity level has been fantastic since he stepped on campus. We’ve thrown a lot at these guys. He handles it in stride. Is he perfect yet? No. But he has a great demeanor and presence about him. He’s going to do a great job for us.
On Mique Juarez:
That would be a better question for Coach (Jim) Mora. He’ll give you an answer on Thursday. If Coach Mora is coming out you can (get an answer). Until then, I’m sorry, I would love to answer, but that’s a better question for Coach Mora.
On if he’s been in contact with Juarez:
We’ve been in contact. It’s not like he’s out somewhere. He’ll be just fine.
On Kenny Young’s development:
Kenny has been playing great. He’s developing poise. Trevor Moewad has been helping him. He’s playing with great confidence right now because he has a confidence he hasn’t had in the past. I continue look forward to him bringing it each and every day and run the show for us at middle linebacker.
On the impact of Trevor Moewad:
Tremendous in terms of the mental approach. He puts things in real terms and that’s something that is real special about him.
On what he’s helped with Kenny Young:
Just the mental approach. Him being positive every day and looking at things half full instead of half empty.
On if he sees the team being closer:
I think the camaraderie, the peer to peer accountability. In the past, maybe guys would get on guys in an argument, now guys are more receptive to peer pressure and accountability. It’s great, this is their team. You’d like them to take ownership. It will mean more to them when they’re on each other. It’s definitely a positive for us.
On Josh Woods’ growth:
Tremendous, tremendous. I think he has a chance to be a real special player. He has a chance to be our next big linebacker. We have to keep pushing him over the wall to places he’s never been before.
On Woods’ redshirt year:
That would be a better question for Coach Mora.
On special teams:
It’s been great, the energy and intensity level has been fantastic, our young specialists have been fantastic. We had another great period out here this afternoon.
On why they went a week without punting:
What we do is a progression based install. So we spend one week at a time with each unit so we’re thorough with what we need. One week it’s kickoff, one day it’s kickoff return. One day it’s punt.
On where Breland Brandt could play:
Just picture him how we used Aaron Wallace, where he played off as a linebacker, but also has the ability to rush the passer. He’s a natural pass rusher, where off the ball he’s not as natural. That’s still a work in progress. We’re looking forward to him having a great career.
On if he has the athleticism to drop into coverage:
No question. He’s one of the best athletes we have in the group, it’s just the understanding. Spatial awareness is really key. Just the concepts and mental part of it. We’re throwing a lot at these guys and they’re retaining it and grasping it. He didn’t spend a lot of time with us in the spring, but we’re eight practices in and he’ll blossom and he has a tremendous future.