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August 5, 2013

Coordinators Corner

Greg Hudson and John Shoop are spending the early portion of training camp molding their units into their defensive and offensive styles.

Following are the coordinators' thoughts following practice on Saturday.

Defensive coordinator Greg Hudson

Q. Who stood out to you today?
"The thing that stood out probably is that I hear more older guys talking football within the defense and talking to other players. To me that's as important as making the play because that will eventually help guys make other plays."

Q. You weren't happy with the number of injuries you had in the spring. You opened camp healthy, so that's good, right?
"We're good. We've got numbers and we're rolling a lot of guys. I think being able roll a lot of guys helps you in that category. We're not going to stretch the rubber band too far. The kids are anxious to play too; we'll get them out there."

Q. Will you still be rolling a lot of guys in come Aug. 31, at Cincinnati?
"If they're good enough, they will play. And those aren't hard decisions to make because they go out and make plays and are productive."

Q. Any freshmen look particularly good early in camp, even though you're not in full pads?
"I know that Evan Panfil and Jake Replogle, those guys are big dudes. I'll see better on the field, but at least when they walk by me I say 'Oh, that looks like a Big Ten D-lineman to me.'"

Q. You've created some turnovers, which is nice from your point of view.
"We put our hands on some balls. If a quarterback drops back and throws a dart to you, a lot of times you didn't create that turnover. But when you're tipping balls or stripping balls or batting balls down, those are the negative plays that we're trying to produce. That was encouraging."

Q. What's the strength of this defense?
"I don't know. Right now our strength is in numbers. We do have a number of guys who have played Big Ten football for a number of reps on Saturday and now we've got to make sure we get them better. So whether we have five, six, seven, eight, whatever the number is of starters back, we need it to be returning starters on a top defense in the conference, not the ninth, 10th or 11th. We've got to bump that number up."

Q. You've said you want your team to play with an edge. How do you develop that on a random Saturday in August?
"I think with the tempo, the way we practice. I think the style of play that we have. We want our big men running and nobody standing around and just holding the gap. We want to secure our gap and get to the football. The turnovers come a lot of times in the pursuit, the next guy gets it. You have to talk about it and practice with that tempo, and you have to recruit those types of kids and have physical kids and push them.

"… You flick a Cocker Spaniel in the nose enough times and he's going to bite you eventually; he's not just going to look pretty all the time. The guys are fun to coach, they're good guys and smart and they like football."

Offensive coordinator John Shoop

Q: When we talked this summer, you said Bilal Marshall was among your top 22 players on offense. Now, he's at receiver. Why does he fit there?
"Well, one, he knows it really well. He's looking at it from a quarterback's perspective. Any time you're 6-3 and can really run and have long stride and a really good athlete, that usually lends itself to getting yourself on the field. There's things he has to learn, making a new line of scrimmage downfield, avoiding getting chucked and things like that. But he's got some natural ability and quick hands, strong hands, he's sure as heck going to help us."

Q: There has been some chatter about how Akeem Hunt can be the Dri Archer of this team and Brandon Cottom can be the Trayion Durham. But is that a comparison that can even be made? This is a different offense than what Kent State ran, right?
"It might be a better question to ask Darrell. I want him to be Akeem Hunt and Cottom to be Cottom and our guys to be our guys and just be as good as they can be. Having said that, we sure watch a lot of film of guys and give our guys a lot of film of people to study. I've been around Charlie Garner and Mike Pittman and those are guys that Akeem's watched some film on this offseason, not that he's going to be like them, but these are some of the plays we've run to get those guys in space. So hopefully he learns from those."

Q: On the offensive line, you are sorting out those guard spots but you have two seniors there right now. I would think Jordan Roos is a guy who could come on.
"We need a lot of guys to come on. We want to play a lot of guys at the O-line. (Kevin) Pamphile, (Justin) Kitchens and (Trevor) Foy are three seniors at the tackle spots, and this is the first time we've gotten to see Foy. I'm eager to go watch the film. Devin (Smith) and (Cody) Davis are doing a great job at guard, but we sure need (Jason) King and Roos to come on. We want to play a lot of guys on the O-line. We'd like to get 10 or 11 guys that are going to help us."

Q: What do you use the walkie talkie for?
"I'll be in the box during the game, and we're just trying, from the first day, practice what happens in a game. So I'm talking to the other quarterbacks on the sidelines, giving the quarterback the play, we have a handful of people who can signal plays, so different people have walkie talkies and they're getting the play from me and we're practicing that line of communication."

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