VandyMania interview with Bruce Fowler, defensive coordinator
VM: What are your impressions so far of the defense and some of the personnel you have? Who are the "go getters"?
BF: I think the group of seniors have shown good leadership so far. Today being the first day in pads it's kinda hard to tell who the "go getters" are. We haven't tackled to the ground yet. We've been pretty pleased with the tempo of practice and they are learning a lot of new things from a scheme standpoint at the same time. Until we get a little further in spring it's going to be hard to pick out the guys. Everybody is getting the same number of reps and we are trying to evaluate that as we go.
VM: What is your biggest objective as a defensive coordinator this spring?
BF: If you have to pick the biggest objective it would be to improve fundamentally at the basic stuff. That's what spring practice is for, to install what we are doing but at the same time to improve at beating blocks, tackling, and the basic fundamentals at playing coverage, breaking on the football and making playing. Just the structure of what we are doing.
VM: Can you explain a little bit about how far you and Coach Johnson go back together? How you got to know each other?
BF: I've known Coach Johnson since I was 18. I played for him at Furman. He was the defensive back coach. It was his first year as secondary coach there and my freshmen year there. We've been together pretty much that whole time with the exception of a couple years when he was at Clemson and the first three years out of college I coached in high school. We go way back.
VM: What do you think it is about Coach Johnson that makes him so successful?
BF: He's got a tremendous balance of intensity and at the same time of the knowledge of the game. Putting those two things together and demanding a lot of the players. Being very detailed and demanding a lot of his coaches. He's very fair and very well respected by the players and at the same time, I think he is very well liked by the players. They know what he wants to accomplish and how his is going to go about doing it: with great integrity and those kind of things. That demands a lot of respect I think.
VM: You guys are going to the 4-3 alignment from the 3-4. What do you think the 4-3 is going to do for the defense that the 3-4 couldn't?
BF: Well, I don't know much about the 3-4 scheme that they ran last season but that's just what we are more familiar with [4-3]. Every defense presents problems for the offense in a certain ways. Every defense has got some things that the offense is going to try to exploit. But hopefully it will give us a chance to get some people running to the ball, get a free defender there at certain times and at the same time be sounder pass coverage. It'll give us four guys up front rushing all the time.