Larry Kerr on the D-Tackle Situation

Defensive Coordinator Larry Kerr talks about the loss of Kevin Brown, and the other players who will have to step in for him at defensive tackle...

Defensive Coordinator Larry Kerr talked to us about the situation at defensive tackle with the loss of Kevin Brown to a high-ankle injury.

Kevin Brown is obviously a substantial loss...

"Yeah, it is. You feel bad for the kid. He has so improved and grown up into a matured player and person, it's just one of those tough deals that happens in football and you have to go on with it. We hope that he will rehab quickly and be ready for the Pac-10 season. That's our ambitious goal, for us and for him. We'll see how that progresses. But we have to look at it that it opens up the door for somebody else. We're going to get some other guys some opportunities and see who can step up and play."

The worry with that kind of injury, the high-ankle sprain, is that if he did return this season, he wouldn't ever be playing at 100%...

"The one thing we're going to do is not put him out there until he's definitely ready to play. Like I said, ambitiously we'd like him back in six weeks, but it could be a situation where he's on the field practicing in six weeks and playing in eight. You just never know. We surely wouldn't put him out there until he's ready."

You said some other players might get a chance, and Nathaniel Skaggs has moved to tackle...

"Exactly. We moved Nate inside. He's a big, strong kid that does well, and he's going to get an opportunity to go in there. We cross-train our inside guys, tackles and noses, so Kenneth Lombard will play both. Chase Moline will play both. We'll just leave Brigham Harwell at the three-technique (tackle), because he's a dominant guy there and that's our best guy, so everybody else has to learn two positions."

How is Harwell's ankle?

"He's fine. He's had a chronic ankle. After losing Brown, we certainly don't want to lose him. We want to be a little bit cautious. We want to get it healthy, because obviously it's important that he's healthy."

How has Moline done in fall camp?

"Chase Moline has had an outstanding camp. He's been a warrior out there. Down after down he plays hard and plays the same way. He's a tough kid and a smart football player, and he knows how to play the game hard. He just gets in the right place and gives us a chance. Whether we had Kevin Brown or not, the kid would be playing."

Looking at him physically, he's not imposing. But you can see him consistently being effective, making plays. Is it mostly his quickness? His intelligence?

"A combination, but he's deceptive. He's 6-0, but he's 272 pounds. He's got a butt on him, a lower body on him, and he's the prototypical nose-man body. He's hard to block because of that. You know, some of your best nose-men are 6-0. It's that lower body strength and girth that really gives him leverage, and he knows how to use it to play smart. I'll tell you he definitely has earned his scholarship and he's making it happen."

Now, will Bruce Davis go back to playing some defensive end?

"Bruce already knew that in our nickel package he was going to be an outside rush guy. He'll continue to cross-train at both positions. He does bring something to the table coming off the edge, whether that's standing up as a linebacker or with his hand down as a d-lineman. Moving Skaggs inside, Bruce now becomes a viable guy in the rotation. So he'll split time, and Bruce is all for that. He's made a good decision for the team. He's said, ‘Hey coach, if that's where I can help, that's what I'll do.' So we have to be smart in using him, and you'll see him in many places."

Any possibility in moving anyone else to play tackle, like possibly an offensive lineman or perhaps Kyle Morgan?

"Right now there really isn't anybody. Kyle Morgan would be the next body. He's the next biggest body and he'd be the guy to go in there. We don't want to move anyone from offense. We went through that scenario before. There really isn't a guy there who could help us. So we have to live with what we have and keep those guys playing well."

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