Q: Are there any guys that have stood out in the practices that perhaps you didn't know as much about coming in?
Lee: Yeah, Robert Brooks has had a really good early spring practice. Same with Chuckie Cowans. Those are two guys that have played a little bit last year but not a lot, and then Johnny Sylvain. Some of those corners are really stepping it up…as well as Levonne Rowan. I've never called him by his first name (until now). I always call him "Coop", but those corners are really competing out there and that's what we need. I don't want to say who starters are because I need all of them. I'm looking for playmakers.
Q: Were you amazed when you met Jim Leonhard for the first time, and realized how small he is?
Lee: Nothing ever amazes me by the size of a guy. It's his heart and Jimmy has that. Last year my free safety at San Jose State, they were battling for interceptions. My guy ended up with eight and Jimmy ended up with 11, so Jimmy won it. When I saw him, I didn't think anything different. I said, "he's a player." Darrell Green played for the Washington Redskins, why did he last for so many years? Even though he was 5-8 or 5-9, he was a player. He knew how to play the game. When I saw him, I thought he would be about 6-1. I looked down and he was 5-8. It was funny, he came in at first, I looked at him and kind of said, "Who are you?" He said, "I'm Jimmy Leonhard," I went up and gave him a hug and said, "Alright."
Q: Will this staff allow you to share your ideas and have a lot of input in the defense?
Lee: When I came in and took the job, Coach (Kevin) Cosgrove and Coach (Barry) Alvarez said "Hey, you're in charge of the pass. This is what you have to do." Again, my job is to fit into what Coach Cosgrove has done and implement a little bit here and there. But you know it's his defense and he has to run it the way he wants to. But he's given me the freedom to have my input as far as what is best for the back end of the game.
Q: Which areas will you be recruiting?
Lee: I'm going to be in Atlanta and the state of Florida. I coached at the University of the Miami, Atlanta will be new, but Florida, I've been all around there…I'm going to be in Florida. (Brian) Murphy will go somewhere else.
Q: While you have recruited those areas, I imagine it will be a lot different trying to sell them on Wisconsin than it was San Jose State, won't it?
Lee: Number one, it doesn't matter if they come from the Sunshine State to the great state of Wisconsin. It's the person you are recruiting. It's not about him being able to run a 10.3 and jump 40 inches. It's the person, the quality of the person. Sometimes the kid may be a great player but may not fit the character you want, so you have to look at the character as well. The state of Florida has so many kids out there, and there are only four or five Division I football programs there, so there are a lot of kids out there to get, and ones that can help us. Obviously when you go from 80 degrees to snow, you have to have a kid that can adapt to that. But once you get to know him, you get to know the family, you get to know what the kid wants.
Part 2: Ron Lee Q&A
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