Interview: Bruce Fowler, Part I

Bill Trocchi talked with Vanderbilt defensive coordinator Bruce Fowler about the Commodore defense for the upcoming 2005 football season. This is the first of a two part series.

VandyMania: Moses Osemwegie is getting a lot of early pub. How important is he to everything you do?

Bruce Fowler: He is extremely important for the obvious reasons – for the type of player he is. He is very consistent, he stays healthy and all the intangible things he brings. He played a lot, so he has a lot of experience and has seen a lot of pressure situations.

Moses has a consistent attitude of how he goes about practices and games. I think that will pay off for us.

VM: Can he be the next Vandy linebacker that goes to the NFL?

BF: As far as what the NFL looks for, I think he has all those abilities. I know Vanderbilt has had a tremendous tradition of linebackers that have gone on to the NFL with Jamie (Duncan) and Jamie (Winborn) and Shelton (Quarles) and Hunter (Hillenmeyer) and Matt (Stewart) and I think Moses is in line and ready to carry on that tradition.

VM: Did you see a big dropoff in your defense when he missed the UT game?

BF: It certainly would have been great to have him out there. He plays just about every snap for us. Kevin Joyce played in his spot that day and had a very good game, but Moses, because he's so consistent and steady in everything he does, having him out there makes all the difference in the world. We miss him anytime he is not out there.

VM: Was the UK game the most frustrating from a defensive standpoint last year? They only scored 14 points, but you couldn't stop them at the very end.

BF: Any time you lose a game at the end, it is frustrating. Most frustrating? They are all frustrating. We had some chances to win the game and chances to make some stops, and we did. What was frustrating was we stopped them twice on drives that started inside the 50. When we needed to do it right at the very end we were not able to do it, so that is disappointing. We played very well and gave up a big play on a fake reverse and then the play at the end of the game.

VM: What was your defense's best game last year?

BF: The thing we have to do on defense is get more consistent. There were times in a lot of games where we played well. To find the games where we were the most consistent were the Mississippi State game and the Kentucky game as far as stopping things. We shut down the run well in both those games. From start to finish, those two games were probably our most consistent games.

We played well at times against Mississippi. We played well at times against LSU.

VM: Were you surprised you didn't get more production out of Jevon Haye last year?

BF: We didn't get as much production from him as we did the year before. A lot of that had to do with the fact that Jevon had been so productive the year before. People were a lot more aware of him and did things protection-wise to account for him that they didn't the year before. A lot of factors go into it.

We knew Jevon would be our guy that would be marked, and that is what happened.

VM: How do you want to use Herdley Harrison this year?

BF: Herdley is a guy that is extremely quick off the ball. He is athletic and is playing defensive end. As far as how we use him, he fits into our scheme because he can run and he can cover some ground. He can do some things on the line, in terms of stunting, because of his quickness, that will make us more aggressive. Herdley had a great spring.

VM: Coach Cain thought the defense looked fast in the spring. Did you?

BF: I think we're faster. When we get out there in the fall, we'll find out. That is the style of defense we want to have. We want 11 guys that can run and get to the ball. Top Stories