Northwestern Week: Q & A with Roy Lamberton

Badger Nation's opponents previews continue with part one of a five-part Q & A with 'Coach Roy' Lamberton, who covers Northwestern football as the publisher of Purple Reign, part of The Insiders network. Readers can visit Purple Reign for an in-depth preview of Northwestern's offense. Next week, Lamberton will begin a position-by-position preview of Northwestern's defense.

In his opening comments

In his opening comments, Roy Lamberton addresses changes along Northwestern's defensive line:


They moved a kid from tackle to end. They moved a kid from defensive end to offensive line, a kid who started last year. If you use the hammer and anvil analogy for a defensive line. The anvil is a 300-pound tackle, now end, called Barry Cofield, and of course Loren Howard was the freshman of the year last year, freshman All-American defensive end on the right side. They pretty much set up, NU sets up in a 4-3 and for the most part that is not going to change. They have two good tackles in Luis Castillo and Colby Clark.


Cofield played tackle last year. What brought them to move Cofield to end?


Good question. I think they felt that they were a little small on the outside. They really didn't have a left defensive end to go with Loren Howard. I would expect that one of the recruits that is coming in, David Ngene or Mark Koehn, would get a chance, but they are both small, so they are not going to start. They are looking for somebody to back up Loren Howard, obviously, and they are playing with the left side. Howard is supposed to be the pass rusher. The problem was, they could double him up last year because the way their line worked. They are not going to be able to double up Howard with the guy playing next to him at tackle this year. They are going to have to deal with Clark also. They are both pretty tough kids. Colby Clark is a redshirt junior. From what we saw during the spring game, one of the two of them gets in (the backfield) just about every time. Teams will either double Howard or they will double Clark. Howard really blows off the end. He goes to that seem and goes over that tackle and he is quick and he is strong. That is why he is a star.


What they are trying to do at the other end, is to put some meat on that right tackle, and  blow him back into the backfield. They will stuff the right side since most teams run right anyway.


Will the linebackers be able to clean up behind the line?


They have some pretty fast linebackers. They are quick.


They didn't play the starters in the spring game. All three starters were hurt.


Pat Durr will be back in the middle and the kid who was in the middle is probably going to move to the left side. They have got a lot of experience coming back. Doug Szymul is a senior. They have got John Pickens on the right and Tim McGarigle on the left. Like I said, they had three guys that sat out all spring. Braden Jones is back. Braden Jones is a tough kid. They are going to be very fast.


They  are going to drop into a 3-4 at times. Castillo comes out and they leave Howard, Cofield and Clark in there and I'm pretty sure Castillo will rotate with Clark on a 3-4 too. They will bring guys up, they will bring five backs up for a while. They will run a 3-3-5.


Are the 3-4 and 3-3-5 looks something they just put in this spring?


Yes. It is an attacking defense. If they do what they did in the spring you will not be able to categorize the defense play-to-play. One coach told me, ‘we may give up some long touchdowns, but, boy, we are going to stuff some people.'


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