Interview: Bruce Fowler, Part II

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

VM: Are the linebackers the strength of the defense?

BF: Oh yeah. Like I said, Moses is an All-Conference performer and one of the best linebackers we've ever had here. Great tackler. We have Jon Goff and Otis Washington, who can both play the middle and both have a lot of experience. And Kevin Joyce and Marcus Buggs both had really good springs at the strong side. We were really pleased with them. All those guys can cover some ground.

VM: Talk about moving Andrew Pace.

BF: Andrew had a great spring at corner. He knows the defense from front to back. He anticipates very well and knows how people are going to try to attack us. He has experience and the good physical skills you need.

VM: Is Reshard Langford a guy to keep an eye on?

BF: Yes, Reshard is a big rangy guy who is a physical player who can play close to the line of scrimmage or play back at safety. He covers the deep part of the field. He is the kind of guy you want back there.

VM: Did you get everything you wanted out of spring practice?

BF: Pretty much. We kept people healthy and worked on a lot of tackling. In order to do that, you have practice it, and you always worry about injuries. Fortunately, we didn't have any big injuries, so we made some strides in some specific areas we wanted to. We want to be more physical and play well in certain stretches of the game where we have some letdowns at crucial points and in certain down and distances. We were deliberate in going about those things in practice and I think we made some significant progress.

VM: Is this a make-or-break year for the staff?

BF: I don't know. To me, every game is a make-or-break game. I know that is a cliché, but we want to win every single game. I'm not looking anywhere past Wake Forest. We go about it the same way every year. We look at everything we do and where we can improve and then try to win.

VM: Is there a freshman you are eager to get your hands on?

BF: That is hard to say. With depth issues on our front seven, our defensive linemen and linebackers who come in here are going to have to learn as much as they can, because some of them may play early. You never know until they get here. You have a three-week turnaround after they get here until the first game. You can never really predict who is going to step up, but there will be opportunities.

VM: Have you started looking at Wake Forest tape?

BF: Wake Forest is a good, solid football team. They had a lot of close football games that didn't go their way. They lost a couple in overtime. They are in a good conference obviously. They are physical. They do what they are supposed to do, so they will be a good challenge.

Bill Trocchi is the interactive editor for Athlon Sports.


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