One on One with Coach Harper

Earlier this week Broncos Illustrated caught up with the Broncos new defensive coordinator and second year defensive line coach, Coach J.C. Harper. Coach Harper talked about taking over as the new defensive coordinator. He also talked about trying to offset the losses of two key players on defense and he talked about this year's incoming freshmen.

Coach Harper talks about this year's defense and the losses of Jason Babin and Jason Feldpausch to graduation.

"I don't know if you can offset those losses. I think you can't offset the loss of Jason Babin. You've got a guy that's playing starting outside linebacker for the Houston Texans and he was here last year. It's hard to believe that a guy that played here and started for us and is now starting in the NFL you would think you could replace that. That's not going to happen. Feldpausch, he had a great year for us. His experience and just his knowledge of what we do is going to be hard to replace. We feel like with guys like Kevin Ford back there and moving Scott Robinson to corner kind of solidifies the corner position a little bit more. I think more than just any one particular person we are kind of like a team unit. We are trying to find eleven guys to be as one, eleven guys that believe in one another and understand that you can't count on just one guy to do one thing or another guy when it all works together. That's going to be our big thing is we are just going to find eleven guys instead of just one guy."

He talks about the incoming freshmen the Broncos recruited to play defense.

"I think as always, your freshmen class, they come in and this is there first time here today (Sunday) with all these guys and us and just the whole scenario. I think you've got to be kind of patient and just kind of see what can happen. You don't ever talk about being redshirted you just simply go out there and play the game the way you played it and if you can help us we will see. We will know that early on. We are excited about those guys. Zach Davidson looks good. He worked hard this summer. Varcadipane looks good and he worked hard this summer. Cory Flom looks good and worked hard this summer. So there's not any one particular guy that I think is any more than another as we know right now. They're here and we're excited that they did what they had to do to get here. The whole process of recruiting and the whole deal is great when they come here today. They are actually here so we are excited about that and time will tell as far as what will happen when it comes to redshirting. I would like to think that we got the group that we have where you could redshirt guys. But you never know. You never know what will happen. You never know what guy will show up and be that kind of guy. We're excited to see what happens with those guys."

Coach Harper talks about adjusting to the role of defensive coordinator as well as coaching the defensive line.

"This will be my third time being coordinator. At Northwestern State I did coach the linebackers and was coordinator. In each situation the field was the same length, the width was the same width, and the ball was the same and the down and distances were the same. Football is not going to change. The part that I believe that Coach Darnell believes in me in being coordinator and giving me that opportunity is hopefully my leadership. Hopefully knowing these guys and knowing what he expects, keeping that the same and making a transition better. I don't think anything is going to change when it comes to schematics or how you win football games. On defense we got to run to the football, we got to be able to tackle and we can't beat ourselves and I don't think that's going to change anywhere you go. But I'm excited about the opportunity to lead, whether I coach the defensive line or any position. Hopefully I can affect this team in that way and I'm looking forward to that challenge.

He talks about getting the team to play as a team and the benefits of playing as one instead of as eleven individuals.

"Work ethic. You got to have great work ethic. We got to have great leadership. We've got to have practice to be successful and they have got to learn. They have to like to learn, they have to want to learn, and that's what practice is all about. You got to have some success. I think through spring just a feeling I get from our players they are excited about what we're doing and now we just got to continue what we're doing and how we do it. I think with that type of energy I think we will continue to have success and build on that."

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