McCray: "Youth is A Great Thing"

Discussing Saturday's game, the difficulties Marshall presents and the youth of his squad, Wisconsin linebacker coach Randall McCray is enjoying his new role, and new point of view, on game day.

What's the status of Jonathan Casillas for this weekend? Do you expect to have him?

I always plan on having him but as of right now, I don't know. He practiced this week but we'll find out. Right now, it's still looking like a game-day thing.

As a defensive coach when you look at the film, your No.1s only gave up 10 points but there was an opportunity to give up a lot more. How do you weigh the good and the bad from Saturday?

The Good Lord is with you a lot of days. We'll take them when we can get them. But we come out here and press the kids to get better and correct all the mistakes on that film. That's the best we can do.

From the mistakes on Saturday, how much of that was nerves being the first game or Akron's style of play? What do you attribute the things to?

I think it's a little bit of youth and a little bit with not reading their keys and focus at the time during the play. Akron did a good job and had a good plan for it and took advantage of the positions that show a little bit of youth right now.

Talk about the experience a guy like DeAndre Levy brings to our defense when you have all that youth surrounding him. He was defensive player of the week for Wisconsin for a reason.

Well, he had a great week of practice during two-a-days and took that stuff to the field on game day. He had a great week of practice last week and he was voted captain for a reason. He comes to work everyday with a great work ethic and that work ethic carries to the field on Saturday.

Talk a little about Marshall. They seem to have more playmakers on offense than Akron did. What kind of keys are you looking at from them?

They are really good and do a good job up front. They've gotten a lot stronger and bigger than last year. They obviously have a big-time threat at wide receiver with the Darius Passmore kid and what I think is a pretty good running back to tote the ball. They format you, trade you and scheme you to get you in bad positions and situations. We just need to be on point with our adjustments. If we can do that, we'll at least be safe and sound, but we need to make plays though.

Is youth a big negative as a coach? You obviously have the inexperience but it seems like the youth always has that fire to play and are ready to learn. How do you balance it when the youth is out on the field?

I think youth is a great thing. Heck if I had more youth I'd be better off. But what I think youth does, youth needs a little bit of experience. What we are doing from last week, trying to gain experience by what we saw on film, take that and correct those mistakes again and understand that they need to channel their vision and their energy to playing the game the correct way.

Bret went out of his way to mention Blake Sorensen's play on Saturday. When you watched him, did he give you that same pop or impact that maybe Bret saw from the sidelines?

Blake did a good job in his first stop. There are a lot of things he can correct being on the field for that many plays for the first time. I think he's a bright future here. We'll wait and see about that. He did a good job. Obviously we miss Jon. Jon brings a lot of things that Blake can't bring to us right now, both athletically and mentally for the most part. Blake's going to be a good linebacker for us and heck, I thought he had great energy through the course of the game.

When the starter loses his role like Elijah Hodge, some take it negatively causing problems and issues. Hodge hasn't done that for your unit and seems to have taken a teaching role with the younger guys. How important has that been for you?

Hodge was a starter for a reason. He knows the game real well and I think the main thing he did when he lost his starting position, he went back there and started coaching the young guys and getting them better. What that does to me shows an intestinal fortitude from a young man that you're either born with or get from your parents. That's a lot of pride in what he is and what he stands for. I give my hats off to Hodge for doing that.

New faces and new positions among the defensive coaches. You've guys had plenty of time to get acquainted. Did everything go smoothly on Saturday as people would perceive that they would for the first game?

I thought it went pretty good. Being in the box for the first time since I've been here, I think we saw things well and did a great job of getting calls in on time. Charlie (Partridge), Kerry (Cooks) and Dave (Doeren) did a great job with the adjustments on the sideline. I thought it went pretty well but like our players, we can always be better. Even if we play perfect, there's always something you can always improve on and that's what we'll look at as a staff this week.

Saturday was your first time in the box?

For a long time. About three or four years. First time since I've been here for sure.

What's that change like? Being on the sidelines for so long and being a guy who his a fiery guy that likes to get in player's faces and riel them up and take that style up to the box, was it a challenge?

It's a different, different mentality, but I think the positive in that is you can see everything. You sit on the sideline and the play is going away from you, you're like ‘What happened here?' I think this or think that or had to have been this. In the box when you see a play go away from the sideline, you know what exactly happened. You can see things with a clear eye and a clear vision and that's what the box guy has to do. He has to see it and relay it to the staff on the field so they can relay it to the players.

What was one thing that you picked up almost instantly on Saturday?

Just blocking schemes and protections. Those were the key and pass routes away from Kerry. Kerry can only see the routes to our sideline. We're quick on protection, blocking schemes inside and routes away. We can get that stuff pretty quick.

If you had to choose between the box and the sideline, what would you pick?

I would pick … the sidelines so my son can see me on television. That's the only reason. I think the box is a great place. When I coordinated, the guys on the field could handle the adjustments and things like that, I sat in the box cause I could see and know and come Sunday, I knew what I had seen. Plus, in the box, they have all the diet Mountain Dew you can drink. You can't beat that.


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