The big thing I’m excited about is we get a little closer defensively. We haven’t had enough depth to compete in this league with all the high-powered offenses we’ve seen over the last couple of years. You need around 30 players that can go day in, day out and play in this league, and we’ve been about half that. But we’ve pretty much doubled our talent on that side of the ball. We’ve taken some junior college players. Most of the guys that played last year are back with us, and I think they’re going to help.
On Art Kaufman:
The big change that we’re probably going to have in this league since the emergence of West Virginia and then you’ve got TCU, you’ve got Texas that’s changed their offense, there’s going to be a dramatic change each week in terms of what type of offense that you play. So you’ve got to have somebody that understands how to adapt to different offenses, how to make changes in terms of your personnel on defense and that only comes from experience. And Art’s been there. We went through a lot of the same scenarios while we were at Ole Miss together. He did the same thing in the ACC the last few years of seeing different teams in that league each week.
I think it’s a big factor of having an experienced coordinator being able to make those changes week in, week out, personnel, move people around, how to do those things in terms of giving yourself a chance for success.
On Size of Defensive Front Seven:
Yeah, we are not that big. We’ve gotten bigger. That happens in the weight room. Some guys need to lose weight when you get them. Some guys need to gain weight. Some guys need to gain strength.
The area we were lacking a lot at last year was people ran the football right at us. And we were a non-factor with our front four.
This year our two starting defensive tackles will be around 290. One backup that will be about 310, which is much better than in the past. We’re moving defensive end Leon Mackey inside, who played last year about 260. Now he’s close to 280, 285. That’s one area in this conference that you play so many plays, they’re big, they get winded, and you have to have a lot of depth. We’re striving to get three deep at each position on the defensive line. The last couple of years we haven’t been close to that. So we’re getting closer. We’re getting closer to the talent level from all three starters, the mid-guys, the second-team guys and the third-team guys.
On WR Jace Amaro:
At the receiver I think one of the better players that might be in the country for the next few years is going to be Jace Amaro, 6′6″, 260-pound tight end that’s got great hands for us. Just a phenomenal athlete that played last year true freshman. He’s from San Antonio, and everybody wanted him. He’s one of those type of guys that will make us much better because of his presence as an inside receiver, a guy that can block for the run and also run after he catches the ball.