Lorello Looking To Earn First Team Role

Sophomore Mike Lorello has been playing with the first team defense for much of the spring, but he doesn't really feel as if he belongs just yet.

"Right now they have me listed at first team and I've been running with the ones, but as far as I'm concerned I haven't earned anything yet," Lorello said. "I haven't earned my spot yet. I fell like I have a lot to improve on, especially if I'm going to be running first team. That's what spring ball is all about -- getting better. I have to get myself better so I can fell like I've earned a spot on the first team."

The intense Ohioan has definitely earned the confidence of the coaches in getting the starting nod during spring drills, and the attitude he's displayed thus far has certainly done nothing but help him in his quest to solidify his first team role.

Some players might be tempted to coast once they get elevated to work with the first team, but Lorello's comments show a maturity and a willingness to work that will only make him better as the spring continues.

Last season, as a true freshman, Lorello cracked the depth chart as a safety, earning playing time in five games. He had seven tackles, including one behind the line, and a pass breakup in backup action, but this year he's looking for more after moving down to the spur position.

While such a move may have proved confusing to some, Lorello believes that playing free safety actually helped him during his position switch.

"The free safety has to know what the other safeties and corners were doing, so in playing there it was easier for me to make the transition," Lorello explained. "I didn't know everything, but for the most part I had a good idea of what the other positions were supposed to be doing and what the responsibilities were in the coverages. It helped a lot to be able to play that position and then move up."

So far this spring, Lorello has put that experience to good use. Having the previous year's experience to fall back on was a big help, as Lorello also had to adjust to a new position coach in the form of Bruce Tall, who became the boss of the spurs and bandits after a brief stay on the defensive line.

Lorello believes, however, that his new coach, along with defensive secondary coach Tony Gibson, have melded together quickly to form an effective coaching tandem.

Lorello has also had to learn to deal with more contact from the spur position, and he's quick to name the biggest change in his move to spur.

"Block shedding. At free [safety] you are always running downhill and you don't have guys out on you blocking. I'm taking on a block on pretty much every play now, so that's the biggest difference."

With Lorello's attitude towards improvement, there's not much doubt he'll get rid of plenty of blocks this season.

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