Defense Has Another Day

The defense shined again in football practice Thursday, clearly overshadowing their offensive counterparts. Head Coach Karl Dorrell talks about it and the influence of the new coaching staff...

During Thursday's practice the Bruins' defense looked good again while the offense seemed to sputter more often than not. In fact, the only real productivity came from the running backs, especially Derrick Williams, who made several good runs. The offense often looked out of sync and seemed hampered by a renewed defensive spirit that caused several tipped passes, fumbles and interceptions. Also, the patched-together defensive line looked especially impressive.

Our message board poster, pacificpal, provides us another excellent, detailed review of Thursday's practice: Pacificpal on Thursday

Here is Coach Karl Dorrell's post-practice interview:

"We're doing great. We're working hard, the players are working hard and there was a good competitive spirit out there. You know one side is trying to one-up the other side and it's fun to see. So we're having fun, working hard. You can see a lot of progress. We're working with a lot of young players and guys are trying to catch up with what we do. It seems like our defense keeps getting better and better and I was very pleased with the progress on that side of the ball. We need to clean up things offensively a little bit, nothing major, but decision-making and taking care of the football is the big thing. But we'll get ourselves fixed and that's what spring is for – to help evaluate the young talent that is in the program, and build, and get ourselves ready for the fall in terms of training camp. So I am very pleased with what's going on."

How has the transition been with so many new coaches? How have the players acclimated to that?

"They've done a great job. It's just been just ripples in the water for them. They have done a great job of just coming together. I think our defensive staff has done a tremendous job just putting in our package and burning the midnight oil trying to get everything together. Things are starting to fall into place so I am very pleased with what's going on there. We're just working on getting better and that is what the goal is this spring and being more competitive and having a great attitude and showing great effort out there and that's what we're seeing."

Coach (DeWayne) Walker said on his conference call that he wanted to instill the importance of takeaways and trying to show players that is the number one priority and to try and get turnovers. Have you felt that in the week or two you have been practicing?

"That's an emphasis we're making in this program and on the defensive side particularly. We took care of the ball pretty good last year but we didn't get a lot of balls back and that's an emphasis that you'll see is starting to happen already. There are interceptions thrown and guys are catching balls and recovering fumbles and things like that. The emphasis is starting to be realized right now and we're going to continue to stress that."

It seems the running backs are stepping up after the loss of Maurice Drew, and with (Chris) Markey and Kahil Bell already having done a lot for you last year...

"They did a lot for us last year and they have done a nice job. Derrick Williams will do a nice job too, being the third guy. I'm pleased that we have enough depth there, plus we have a couple of freshmen coming in the fall that will add to the mix too."

How do the quarterbacks look?

Okay, they are playing okay. They had a better first week but they will get themselves ready to go. They're playing with some new people and they're getting a lot more reps now than what they've had in the past, so it will come together pretty soon but we're getting a chance to experiment with a lot of things right now."

What are you looking for out of Ben Olson specifically?

"We're looking for him to improve and just continue to work and understand the thought process as well as he can and minimize the level of mistakes. Those are the biggest things we're trying to improve right now. So we're trying to be efficient, we're trying to do things in a better way than we did a year ago and that will be tough. We had a very good offense that protected the ball well and put up some good numbers so it will be hard to try and follow up that type of act."

How was the defensive line? They looked like they had a good day...

"I know, they're getting better. Guys are getting better and getting a lot of reps. That's even with our so-called best players not even practicing. So it's good to see the young talent come around and the surprise guy has been (walk-on) Brian Ruziecki. He has done a nice job and works hard and plays well. Chase Moline has done well. Bruce Davis continues to make plays in the backfield. Kenneth Lombard, I think he likes that switch playing at end instead of tackle, so we're getting guys in the best positions that they can be effective for us."

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