Badger Nation Q&A: Secondary Coach Ron Lee

Coach Ron Lee has gone through five practices as the third UW defensive backs coach in three years. Lee sat down with Badger Nation for an exclusive Q&A.

Q: How has the spring gone for you so far?

Lee: Every day we try to improve just one percent. That's all I need, one percent better each day. I just want to build a good foundation leading out of spring, come back in the fall and start adding on.

Q: Being the third secondary coach in three years, it must be a bit of a challenge to win over the players. Have the players reacted well to you?

Lee: Yeah, I've been up front with them. I've told them that I'm going to push them, I'm going to push them hard and we have no excuses. They've been working hard. I've been tremendously pleased with their work ethic and the way they've been going out there competing every day. Now I'm asking them to challenge each other. Not from me, but from the unit, to get after each other, to make each other better and have no excuses.

Q: Will there be some changes in how the secondary plays this year?

Lee: I think you have to put your own blueprint on your unit. We changed a little bit as a defense overall. What I have to do is build the base foundation of terminology, technique, and that's going to take a little time. That's why I'm not trying to rush it.

Q: What are some of those differences this season?

Lee: Last year they were more of a Cover 3 team. This year we're going to do a lot of things differently. You know, having three coaches, they have three different styles. One thing is that they have to learn to adapt to my style and they are showing that right now. And they're excited because they had a fresh start. Everyone has a chance to play.

Q: How would you describe your coaching style or philosophy?

Lee: We want to be aggressive, and we want to go make plays. It's simple. Be aggressive and make plays. I'm not smart enough to make it complicated. Keep it simple, let them play.

Q: The players loved the fact that Ron Cooper allowed them to free-wheel it a little bit more in the secondary than their previous coach, Todd Bradford. Will you allow them to play as free in the secondary as they did last season?

Lee: No, still have structure. They can't do what they want. There's a system that they have to abide by and after that, they have to be what we call street-smart players, be able to play with their instincts.

Q: How did you go about evaluating your players heading into spring practice? Game tape? Conversations with the rest of the staff? Both?

Lee: We know who the established guys are right now, like Jimmy Leonhard, Ryan Aiello, Scott Starks. Then you try to find guys for the other corner and backups. And that won't happen until the week before West Virginia. So we're a long ways until that. What we try to do is try to build a base so guys can get ready for the summer, to get better. Then it starts over again. It's a never-ending competition. Because we don't have any 1's. Guys go out there and they might start. But I want to get guys that, when one guy gets tired, the next guy goes in there and does just as well. That's what we're trying to establish.

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