Post-spring howls

Spring football is in the books. With apologies to Bon Jovi fans, the final scrimmage was a full-contact affair that was as predictable and vanilla as a Richie Sambora guitar solo. Now it's time to lift, run, open up and study the entire playbook, and point all efforts at the defending national champion Ohio State Buckeyes.

Here is what some of the Dawgs had to say about their spring.

OLB Greg Carothers, on wearing #25 for the Spring Game: - I just kind of wanted to wear it because this is the last time that I had seen Curt last year at this game. I still have 34, but I just wanted to wear #25 for the Spring Game.

On playing SAM - Yeah I'm on my way into it a little bit. I'd like to see more action. I still have a lot of work to do strength-wise and work on my footwork a little bit.

On the defense - I think it went pretty well. The offense struggled at times, which gave us opportunities, but I think we have a lot of talent on our defense.

TB Shelton Sampson, on improvements - Me and Coach Neuheisel had a lot to talk about, but I think its going to all come out well in the end. I have the whole summer to work out and get bigger and get faster. There's a lot to be learned about pass blocking and that's one of the things that I'm really trying to key on in next year and my vision.

On his performance - I did a little better today but I still need to pick it up a little bit. I am my own biggest critic so I'm going to have to go out there and do a lot. On top of that ,I'll just try to stay on a spiritual high also.

On if he feels that he opened some eyes this spring - I tried my hardest. If anything, I'm hoping I did do a little bit. I was trying to show coach last year that I could play but I wound up red-shirting which was fine, because I understand now that I needed to get bigger. Size does matter once you get up there and you feel it. This spring was a good chance for me to get out there and do something.

On practicing with the ones instead of scouts - During my red-shirt season or running with the ones, every hit is a hit and every hit feels the same so there really wasn't that much of a difference. As far as my vision, I think I got a little bit better at that and that helped out a little bit.

FS Jimmy Newell, on the spring - We're learning a lot of new stuff and the final scrimmage was the first time where it was like real game speed. I felt we were a little rough in the secondary but I thought that we played a little bit better. It is the first time we saw live bullets so I think out of this group, you can expect some really good things in the fall

On staying healthy this spring - I feel great. It was fun and nice to stay healthy. With about one minute left in the spring game, I looked at our trainer Kevin Messich and I said, ‘Hey Kev, I made it!' and I look over at the clock and see one minute left and think to myself, ‘OK, maybe I shouldn't have said that yet."

On knocking the ball out of Reggie Williams hands - I just kind of got my hands in there. We were both fighting for it and it just went straight up and it ended up going to Roc. Getting as many guys around the ball as possible was something we really stressed on defense, because stuff like that happens all the time. If Roc is not sprinting to get there, it's not going to be an interception.

On the new coaches in the secondary - It's nice to see coaching from two different perspectives instead of one guy who is frankly trying to coach four positions and some stuff might get missed. If you've got two sets of eyes looking over the secondary, then you'll get a lot more coaching done.

ILB Scott White, on his improvements of the spring - I'm just doing what the coaches are asking me to do and that's pretty much it. I think as a team, we're going to keep improving, and as our confidence grows, we're going to keep getting better and better.

I personally made a lot of improvements. Comfort and confidence levels are the keys to what I do and as more and more reps go by, each rises and affects my play.

DT Jerome Stevens, on the defensive line performance - It was a good effort as far as the whole defense is concerned. We went in there and trying to disrupt the offense and it looks like we did that pretty well.

On achieving his personal goals this spring - For the most part, yes. We have had a lot of new guys come around and step up so that's a real positive. I think I went out there and just did my best. I feel if I do that for the whole season, then there will be a lot more games like the Jerome Stevens you saw in the spring game.

On team chemistry and plans for off-season - The chemistry is really good. We all work and push each other really hard and give pointers. There is no offseason for us. It's back to the weight room and working nonstop the rest of the way.

DT Terry Johnson, On the play of the defensive line - I think our defensive line has made many improvements and made strides into the right direction. All of our young guys have bought into the fact that we've got to get to the quarterback and we have a lot of potential so as long as we can get those guys to tap into their potential and the older guys to be as good as they can we'll be OK. It definitely has been the deepest since I've been here. We have a lot of guys and a lot of big bodies and its fun to see the young guys come in and step up. You know, guys who haven't played any D-1 football but they know what to do to contribute.

On assuming leadership - It's just a role that I stepped into. I backed up Larry (Tripplett) and I watched him the way he practiced and played and I stepped into his role. I think that he prepared me for the situation that I'm in now I'm ready to play some football.

On getting help from veterans - I talk to Steve (Emtman) everyday and he tells me all the little things that I need to be doing. I call Larry on the phone a lot and he has really helped me out a lot.

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