March 27, 2012

Q&A with Tim Tibesar

Tim Tibesar is three weeks into his first spring as Purdue's defensive coordinator and linebackers coach, which has given him a little bit of time to evaluate his new unit.

Following, read a quick Q&A with Tibesar to get his thoughts on the Boilers.

Q. You'd have some time to see what you've got. What are your impressions three weeks into spring practice?
"It's still early but we've got a lot of work to do. There's pretty much everything that we want to get better at this point in time, but the guys are working hard and they're putting in the effort. We've just got to continue to chop wood and get better each day."

Q. From a personnel point of view, what are your thoughts?
"These are the guys we've got and they're working hard so far. My impression is most of these guys like football, which is important. They want to do well, they want to execute well. They want to do the things that we're asking them to do and we've just got to build the muscle memory from doing it again and again. That doesn't happen without practice reps."

Q. Are you on schedule as far as the things you want to get in schematically?
"You know, we are. I think we're right about where I thought we'd be at this time. We slipped in a couple review days in there so we wouldn't overload the guys too much mentally. We try to let them play fast out there, which is what we want them to do. It's what we're preaching. I think we're on schedule, but we've still got 60 percent of spring ball left, so we've got to stay on schedule."

Q. Does it help you that you've got a majority of veterans returning to the defense, rather than having a bunch of rookies? Particularly from the standpoint of installing a new defense?
"It helps to have veteran football players who understand football concepts. No matter what scheme you're running, there are certain concepts that carry over, so usually the older guys, just because they have more experience, are able to pick those things up faster."

Q. As for young guys, how does Michael Rouse look? He seems to be a different-looking player this season.
"It's awful early to judge after three or four padded practices what kind of impact a guy is going to have on next season. I'm pleased with his process and I think he has a chance to be a contributor for us, which is what we're looking for. We're not looking to (just) find 11 starters, we're looking for find 18 to 22 guys who can all contribute on a weekly basis."

Q. Is Kawann Short what you thought he would be?
"I knew going in he's a good football player, and that when he gets single-blocked he's going to be tough to block in the run game. That's showed up so far in spring ball."

Q. At linebacker (where you're coaching), it seems like you could stand to develop some depth, right?
"Yeah (laughing), you got any eligibility left?"

Q. Nah (laughing), I'm not very fast either. I'm not sure you'd want me.
"We're working hard with the guys we've got. We're a little bit thin right there, right now, just from a numbers standpoint. We've had a few of them who've had some injuries come up, but the good news is that the guys we do have are getting a ton of reps. They're learning exponentally each day, because they're just getting so many reps. It's certainly an area that we have to develop the guys we have out there."

Q. Have you ever tried to convert a quarterback to linebacker (as you are with Sean Robinson)?
"Actually, yes I have. It was two years ago up in Montreal. One of our draft picks was a college quarterback and he had never played defense before, since high school, and we moved him to defense in training camp. We were able to do that and he was a major contributor for us. It helps as long as they're willing to put their face on somebody and do that, then we can take them and put them on defense. But if they don't bite as pups, they won't bite as dogs."

Q. In the secondary, you're looking for a couple safeties. Do you feel like you've got talented guys there, but inexperienced ones?
"I feel pretty good overall about the depth we have in the secondary and I have no idea who is going to end up being starters and who will be contributors, but we've got a good group of athletic guys that I think will all find a way to contribute for us."

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