Your guys played pretty well. Talk about how they played.
“Yeah, I thought Josh [Metellus] and Tyree [Kinnel] both did a solid job just overall. Just running to the football, they were aggressive, and I thought we tackled well, so I was happy with the way they played.”
Assignment-wise did you think they pretty good, too?
“Yeah. Assignment-wise I thought we were pretty clean. Communication, didn’t have a lot of issues that way so we’ve just got to keep it going going forward and maintain that same level.”
Tyree yesterday was talking about some plays where him and Khaleke [Hudson] were able to switch spots. What does that add when you’re able to do that?
“I think it helps out a lot. Having Khaleke, he has some experience playing safety. That versatility, being able to move to different places, kind of helps out the defense as a corps when you can get guys lined up and give the offense different looks. I think that helps out.”
What are the looks that change when they switch?
“Well, it depends. I’m not sure exactly what you’re talking about in that case but there are different situations where we can end up in different positions.”
[After THE JUMP: communication clicking, Josh Metellus’ ceiling, and the bygone era in which Don Brown brought… more pressure?]
Must be a luxury though, right? Those two guys at any time you could flop, I assume.
“Yeah, that definitely is a luxury. Like I said, him having that experience playing the position, that helps out, makes it easier for us.”
A lot of those kids played. Can you talk about how they handled the different defenses and different looks that Don Brown demanded of them?
“Yeah, I thought they did a good job. Big thing coming into it, everybody [was saying] not a lot of experience back there but Coach didn’t take anything off their plates. Still had a lot of material up for the gameplan and I thought they did a good job preparing for it. Florida gave us a lot of different looks going into it, a lot of different looks that we studied and they did a good job handling it so definitely happy with that.”
When we talked to Don Brown last week he said it was really in the last week that everybody started getting on the same page as far as moving with shifts and things of that nature. That’s obviously a safety-guided sort of thing, so talk about how they made that progress and has it filtered down to the backups as well?
“I definitely think you could see it that last week. They had seen the looks and the communication level, they did a great job communicating and that was something we had been stressing all camp, all the way back to the spring, their communication. Having different guys back there in the secondary having not been used to working together, and you could see it that last week.
“Guys were calling out and making all the checks. Not just the safeties, the whole secondary, the linebackers, they were all working together making checks and communicating. The young guys fed off of that and picked up and fell right in line, so it was a group effort.”
More of what Don Brown said last week is if we put somebody out there, we trust them. It looked like you guys ran a pretty tight rotation with the safeties and even the corners. Is that maybe a function of what Florida did, just going with what they’re doing or like you were saying before Khaleke’s versatility, or is it maybe a matter of more young guys still have more to learn?
“I think it was just a matter of the way the game played out. Our offense did a great job controlling the ball. They ran the ball and kind of kept us off the field at times so we really didn’t have to rotate as many guys as you would in a faster-paced game.”
What has Cincinnati shown you that you can expect? Are they similar to Florida and what Florida gave you or is this a completely different scheme?
“It’s a little different, but you’ve got to prepare for each opponent differently and think they’ll give you some different looks. They get the ball out and they do some good things in the passing game, so it’s a different scheme to prepare for.”
Is there any part of you that wants to see the secondary get attacked a little more than it did against Florida just to see where they’re at?b
“Do I want to see the secondary get attacked? No, but we’ll be ready for anything. If they want to run the ball, we’ll be ready to come up and tackle. Our guys like to hit, so we’re ready for whatever they throw at us.”
Do you have to mentally prepare for the fact that the pass rush might not always be so consistent pressure-wise?
“As a DB, you always have to think the ball is coming your way every snap. That’s the way you have to prepare for it. Run or pass, you’ve got to think the ball is coming my way. You can’t look at it any differently or else you won’t have as much success.”
How much are you jumping out of your chair when you see Josh shuck a receiver like that and force a fumble?
“I love to see him work his hands to get off a block. That’s something we work on and he took it from the practice field to the game field. Love to see guys be that physical.”
How unique of a safety is he? How unique of a player can he be?
“He’s got a lot of potential. He’s such a smart guy, smart player. Does a good job studying film and if he continues to prepare that way, he’s got a chance to be a good player.”
Will Brandon Watson play, and if he can’t go how does that affect the communication with the safeties?
“I learned a long time ago not to get into injuries and who’s going to play and who’s not going to play, so we’ll see how that works out.”
You’ve played for and worked with Don in the past. Is he a different coach now? He’s got the keys to the Cadillac, he’s got that kind of talent. Are you seeing a different coach in the way he’s coaching this team?
“I think he kind of coaches each team a little differently depending on the guys but he’s still the same coach. Still intense. The scheme has changed a little bit over time but overall he’s still the same guy and he doesn’t treat everybody the same. That’s one of the great things about him [is] he knows how to treat certain players and get the most out of them, so he’s always adjusting and changing up his style.”
What is something you see him do differently here as opposed to other places you’ve been?
“Other than the scheme?”
“The scheme is definitely a little different and has evolved. We were talking about it the other day. Back when I was playing there was a lot more Cover 0. We’d just bring the house with pressure. Now I think he tries to mix it up a little bit differently.”