2013 UK Football Media Day
Stoops, who has reinvigorated the Big Blue Nation since arriving in Lexington eight months ago, began the day with his first press conference of 2013 Training Camp.
Following Stoops, offensive coordinator Neal Brown and defensive coordinator D.J. Eliot also met the media before the players and assistant coaches were interviewed on the field.
The newfound excitement around the UK football program was in full effect on Monday as more than 125 media members attended 2013 Media Day.
UK Head Coach Mark Stoops Press Conference
UK Offensive Coordinator Neal Brown Press Conference
UK Defensive Coordinator D.J. Eliot Press Conference
2013 Head Coach Mark Stoops Media Day Press Conference Transcript
Opening Statement ...
We enjoyed last night’s meetings. Players look really good. They look excited. They look like they’re in great shape. Excited about the newcomers. It’s nice to be in there with a full room, to have our full contingent. Again, just excited about the newcomers. A couple of announcements, Alvonte Bell and Justin Day are not going to report and probably not going to make it to enroll here at UK. We’re waiting on two more, Nate Willis and Melvin Lewis; we’re waiting on those two. We expect them to be here shortly, how long that takes, we’ll see. Again, a lot of excitement in the air; our players look good.
Q. On Alvonte Bell …
COACH STOOPS: Alvonte is not going to quality to enroll at UK so we’re going to help him get to another place.
Q. On freshmen making an immediate impact …
COACH STOOPS: Yeah, we’ll see how it goes but I would anticipate, we certainly need them, they make us better right away just with depth, just with practicing and all those things. We’ll see who jumps out at us right away and see how the process goes, I’m excited to see them develop and I know you all want to hear about them and really I can’t wait to coach them to be honest with you. We all want to see how much progress the upper classmen made throughout the summer but we’re excited to be out here and see what they can do
Q. On if there is a certain amount of freshmen that can be expected to contribute …
COACH STOOPS: I really can’t, I mean certain positions were very low in numbers. Certainly wide receiver is one that jumps out at us right away that you would hope some of those guys could come in and contribute. Javess is here, Javess Blue is here and he’ll go through practice today so it will be good to see what he can do.
Q. On Ashely Lowery …
COACH STOOPS: He’s cleared to practice right now so he’s recovering and he’s in a good position to practice, he’ll go through everything, normal activity right now. We’re going to work through that right now; I’m not ready to name a penalty here today. He’s gone through an awful lot. We need to continue to go through the legal process, see what happens. I’m just trying to gather as much information as I can before we make any decision on his future, or suspension or anything like that.
Q. On goals he has set for this season …
COACH STOOPS: To embrace the process. We talked a lot last night and throughout the summer, throughout camp, the message is just simply to embrace the process of getting better. I know that’s boring to here sometimes but it’s true. We can’t determine, the only thing we can do is go out there today and perform well and improve our football team. That’s all they need to concentrate on, is getting better, embracing that process, working extremely hard and laying that foundation.
Q. On what the Davis twins add …
COACH STOOPS: They give us some depth and give us some guys that are good athletes, good players, versatile so we’ll see where they fit in. They won’t be able to play this year as of right now.
Q. On the Louisville area being a focal point recruiting wise …
COACH STOOPS: Absolutely, the whole state is important to us and certainly Louisville. We’ll be in there recruiting extremely hard. There is very good coaching and very good football in Louisville so yes it is important for us to get in there and recruit.
Q. On what will make this first season successful …
COACH STOOPS: Just improvement, drastic improvement. I don't know exactly where we're at, we'll see. We are going to go out there and we are going to get to practice today, and we're going to go about our business and we're going to grind hard each and every day to make this team better, and we'll see where that goes. We'll talk about that at the end of the year.
Q. You had to kind of hang up your whistle this summer, being a keynote speaker. When you woke up today, it's football season, what did you think?
COACH STOOPS: I was excited, I really was. To be honest with you, I didn't sleep very good last night. I was ready to go. I think that excitement, that anticipation, we had a great meeting last night with our players, very attentive, and they are excited to get going, coaches are excited. So you know, we're ready to get out there.
Q. Are you seeing good leadership?
COACH STOOPS: Yeah, I am. I am. I'm seeing good leadership, and one guy that jumps out at me in particular is Avery (Williamson), that really jumps out as a very strong leader and there's others, as well, but there's others. But he's a guy that he's a cut above right now as far as leadership, and that's a good guy to start with.
Q. What about the positivity that this does for the program?
COACH STOOPS: That's a good point. I have been proud of our guys for the most part. We are not perfect by any stretch, but our guys have done a good job of trying to stay out of trouble. When you have 105 guys in that room, we are not going to be perfect. But the guys have done a good job.
There has been a positive buzz. Yeah, again, I think our players, again, they feel that. They feel the positive energy. They know there's a lot of people that have great interest in what they are doing. They feel the support throughout the state and they are excited. They want to go out and produce for the people of this state, for themselves, for this university so we can have a lot of pride in what we're doing. So I think that's a good part of what's going on.
Q. On the tight end position …
COACH STOOPS: Yeah, it is a good position and we have some depth. A couple of those guys are banged up or had issues in the past with backs and so on, and so it's good that we have good number there, and it gives us a chance to be a little more versatile. Neal will be up here in a little bit; you can grill him on that.
But it gives us a chance to do some different things. You know, we will do that and we will do that as a football team. We will adapt to the best players we have and be able to be multiple in what we're doing.
Q. Talk about in general being happy to have a full room and is Tommy Mainord the happiest guy? How does that affect your ability to practice?
COACH STOOPS: Yeah, it will, it will affect our ability to practice and it's great to have that depth. And with the practice, you guys will get in there at some point and be able to see that, but we are going to do two separate practices. We call it two spots. Basically ones and threes will be on one field, and twos and fours will be on another, so there's a whole bunch of reps going on, so we need that depth.
Q. What have the quarterbacks done since the last time you saw them --
COACH STOOPS: I think just managing the offense, being in command of that huddle; the operation, the speed at which we are doing things and obviously leadership.
Q. Will you make changes in the spring about how much time you spend on the defensive end, offense end or special teams?
COACH STOOPS: Yeah, it will change a little bit. I will be more involved with the defense as far as defensive meetings, the preparation, and being out on the field and being involved. I will certainly have my presence in the special teams meetings and in the offensive meetings, as well, but I will -- I will be involved.
Q. On the talk about possible rule changes with hurry-up offenses …
COACH STOOPS: My staff has been -- the rules are what they are. So we are going to play by the rules that we have.
You know, obviously it's a little bit interesting for myself, being a defensive coach my whole career and hiring a person offensively who is going to run the tempo.
So I understand the good and the bad that goes with it, and it's our decision to go with that style because it gives us the best opportunity to move the football and to ultimately win games.
The bad is just when it doesn't go well that your defense is going to be out there more. That's a fact. And you know, so sometimes the numbers lean that way, but we are in a winning business. The bottom line is to try to win games.
So the rules are what they are. So I certainly don't have the time or the staff to do a bunch of research to see with injuries and all that. That's for somebody else to make that decision, not me.
Q. Can you talk about letting some of the veteran guys know that they are your guys now? How do you go about doing that and how do you go about building relationships with the guys?
COACH STOOPS: It's just about trust and the only way you build trust is you earn it, and by the work that we do and what we're doing and the relationships that we are building.
We are not there yet. We are not perfect. We are still working on that but we'll get closer as this camp goes on.
Q. On Nate Willis eligibility …
COACH STOOPS: He has finished up all his classes. So we're waiting on that, yeah. Hopefully soon. Hopefully soon.
Q. As a first time head coach do you have any experience about being patient with yourself, knowing you can only do so much?
COACH STOOPS: Yeah, daily, it is, it's hard. We have preached that to the players, and it's true. You know, we are going to build this program brick by brick, and we have to lay the foundation. We have to do our work each and every day. There's no shortcuts. I said that from day one. And you know, we want to go to work every day, give an honest day's work and we expect our players to do the same thing and just lay the foundation and get better. That's all we can control.
Q. What kind of look do you think your defense will have?
COACH STOOPS: Well, you know, we'd better have some toughness about us and we'd better player hard. It's very important, defense, but you can overcome a lot of things. It doesn't take any talent to know what you're doing and to play hard and to play relentless. You put that together and you can do some good things.
Q. Early in your career, you worked a lot with the secondary and had some profound turnarounds. What are the keys there --
COACH STOOPS: I don't know if there's any one specific area that you can get into detail about what I'm doing with the secondary, but I think a lot of that has to do with the system and what you're doing to put them in a position to be successful.
Q. On Jason Hatcher …
COACH STOOPS: Well, he looks very good, and from everything I've heard from our strength coaches is he had a great summer. He looks very good right now. He's in great shape and just watching the film and knowing the type of competitive person he is, I would expect him to come in and contribute this year.
Q. Are there any guys that you saw last night that you haven’t seen in a while and made you say, ‘Wow.’ --
COACH STOOPS: Yeah, they all looked good, they really did. They looked good. I liked the way they went about their business this summer and you could see the results. You'll get a chance to see them here shortly. But yeah, I don't know if there's any one person, because there's really a lot of them looked a lot better.
Q. Does Neal Brown have full authority with the quarterback position, or do you make that call?
COACH STOOPS: No, I'll make that call. Of course, I trust Neal and he's -- I think as we go through camp, we'll work together on that. But ultimately, it will have to be my decision with great input from Neal.
Q. On keeping it from being a quarterback controversy …
COACH STOOPS: I think as we go through camp and we build what we are doing here, there's a trust factor there. Our players need to trust that we are going to put every one of them in a position to be successful and they have to trust and be confident that whoever is behind center can lead this team and help us win.
And that goes for any position. You know, there's going to be injuries and there's going to be things happen; there's already been attrition, and it's got to be the-next-man-up mentality.
Q. Are you comfortable running multiple quarterbacks, or do you like one guy?
COACH STOOPS: I think anybody would like to have one guy. But again you have to make the right choice and if it takes game reps, then that's what we're going to do.
Q. With Blue not being here during the summer, how much does that impact or set him back … Will that not be a factor?
COACH STOOPS: It will certainly hurt him a little bit, set him back a little bit. Yeah, we'd prefer to have him here all summer so he can just get acclimated to the conditioning if nothing else. Yeah, the good news is that we have quite a few practices before the first game.
Q. On Za’Darius Smith and Bud Dupree and how they compare to other defensive ends he has coached …
COACH STOOPS: Yeah, they are, we'll see if their production will be up there like some of the guys that we've been around, but they really are, ability-wise and I really like the way they go about their business. They are very sincere and they are competitive guys by nature and so you know, I like where they are at.
Q. Coach, do you like four-down linemen or three?
COACH STOOPS: Yeah, we are four down for the most part. We'll get multiple on some third downers and certain teams there are spread packs and we can mix it up, and we have the ability to mix it up, but we are primarily a four down.
Q. Last year's defensive only caused 10 turnovers, what can you do in practice to help that?
COACH STOOPS: Well, you have to emphasize it. And I've been on both ends of that. I've been around some defenses that we have gotten all kinds of turnovers and sometimes it doesn't go your way.
But the bottom line is, is that you do have to emphasize it and you have to practice that, and so on. We'll do all those things necessary.
Q. Are you more concerned with depth, or what would it be?
COACH STOOPS: Yeah, of course, I think it's fair to say that depth would be the first thing and then the second thing would be explosive playmakers.
Q. On how he feels JUCO guys the previous staff brought in look …
COACH STOOPS: Well, Kory (Brown), really in our system, we have some spots for him, as well. So if you're a good football player, we'll find a position to help us. We need every player we can get and Kory is a guy that will be doing some of those multiple things for us, as well.
Q. On the quarterback competition and what the guys need to improve on …
COACH STOOPS: Well, to this point, it's been just an understanding, because everything was so new to them. You know, even just the operation of getting the ball out quicker and just fundamentally, let alone the scheme.
So there was a lot for them to take in in the spring. That's why it will be interesting to see who progressed through the summer and then who jumps out at us through this fall camp.
So they have quite a bit on their plate for the first 15 practices, so you could understand why I would be hesitant to try to name a starter and force that issue when we weren't ready to do that.
Q. Talk about how you go about the offensive line and do any of the new guys look to be able to compete this season?
COACH STOOPS: I hope so. Sometimes it's hard for O-linemen. Sometimes that's one position where you prefer to let them grow up a little bit and let them gain some strength. Some decent D-Linemen in this league.
Q. On getting back to coaching and handling all the offseason stuff …
COACH STOOPS: Well, I just think that's where us coaches are most comfortable, at least I am. I'm comfortable out there working with the guys and you feel like you're making progress with your team and with our program. And so that's why it's exciting for me to get out there and to just be around those guys is to help them get better and become a better football team.
Q. You mentioned the quarterback having reps and seeing how they progressed over the summer. Will it will be the same thing on the defense side of the ball seeing how they have done in the spring and progressed?
COACH STOOPS: Absolutely, yes, I think it's definitely the same thing. We feel like, again, we have had good leadership with Avery and some guys through the summer. They did some good work with seven-on-seven on their own from what I understand and we'll see how much they did and how much they progressed. But it will be interesting to see.
Q. On Coach Stoops being more involved with the defensive backs …
COACH STOOPS: Yeah, I will be more involved than I was in the spring. In the spring, it was just getting to know all of our players and managing the whole team and of course I still need to do that.
But I will get in there and meet with the defensive backs and coach the defensive backs and assist with Coach Eliot and all of the defensive coaches and helping. It's all-hands-on-deck for us and we need everybody we can to help us get better.
Q. On Austin MacGinnis …
COACH STOOPS: Possibly. Austin is a great young man. He's a hard worker, and we'll see. You know, we'll see where he's at. But yes, he could help us.
Q. What's the status on Melvin Lewis?
COACH STOOPS: He's finished and he's got one class he's finishing up now.
Q. So do you think he'll be eligible for this year?
COACH STOOPS: That's what the plan is.
Q. On the defensive line being full of upperclassmen and guys stepping up around them …
COACH STOOPS: Yeah, you're right, that was an area for us, that's one of the reasons we went after Melvin. The nice thing for him is he is three-for-two, as well, so if he misses a great deal of camp and can't get caught up, we'll see where he's at. But he will be needed in the future, for sure.
Q. Any concerns about the expectations of the fans?
COACH STOOPS: Yeah, I think we're all excited. I want the fans excited about what we're doing. I want the fans excited about the hard work that these players have done.
Again, I've said that before. I think that, you know, most people understand where we're at as a program and where we want to get to. We have a lot of work to do, and we're excited about doing it.
UK Offensive Coordinator Neal Brown Press Conference Transcript
Q. How relieved are you to have – Blue on campus -- and how long do you think you have to get up to speed with the system? COACH BROWN: Very excited about him. We thought he was, if not the best, one of the top two or three junior college receivers in the country last year. Signed him at Texas Tech, had some grade issues, went to Butler and community college and led them to a National Championship game. Last year was very productive. And he's a smart kid. We are going to take him slow. He wasn't here during the summer and go through Coach (Erik) Korem's and Coach (Corey) Edmonds' regimen, so take it slow, kind of gradually, get him mentally fit and get him in, but we do expect him to be a factor this year for sure.
Q. What do you expect from from Ryan Timmons...
COACH BROWN: Ryan had a great high school career. I think, obviously, Mark (Story), you know that. But he has the ability to run the football and he has the ability to play receiver. We are going to start him at receiver and teach him that aspect first. From a technical standpoint is a little tougher to learn.
He's also a guy that we have some depth issues at running back can bounce over there and play there, too. I think everybody in the state is excited about Ryan and they should be but also you have to realize that these freshmen, they are 18 years old, and they are going to go out and play in front of 60,000-plus the first game and it's going to be like that every time.
So I think our expectations have got to be realistic, but at the same time, if they are the most talented guys, we have got to take those bumps.
Q. How do you keep it from being a quarterback controversy and stay a quarterback competition?
COACH BROWN: Yeah, well, I think it starts with the demeanor and how Coach Stoops and I handle it, and I think they are good people. I don't think any of those guys are jealous by nature. I think they are really good, solid human beings.
And it's something we talk about. Jen (Smith), we talked about it this morning when we met; just talked about, hey, this is going to be about we, not about me. This is how the reps are going to be distributed and everybody is going to get an opportunity to prove themselves, and the most productive guy will win.
Q. Can you talk about the quarterbacks and what their particular strength is that you really like?
COACH BROWN: Maxwell (Smith), I think he has potential to be really accurate with the football. And he has been productive when he's been healthy. Now, he has not been healthy a whole lot, which is an issue. But he's been productive and he's accurate with the football and he's done it against good people.
When you're talking about Patrick (Towles), he's got a strong arm and he's a big kid that runs better than most people think and he's got a big-time arm talent.
Talk about Jalen (Whitlow), he's a make maker, one of the better athletes on our football team and he makes plays. Another thing I like about Jalen is he got thrown into the fire and he doesn't shun away and even though the end results didn't show it, he got better as it went on last year.
And then Reese (Phillips) has no fear. Reese Phillips, he went out, by far the biggest crowd he's ever had to perform in front of in the spring game and performed admirably.
Q. Can you talk about Jordan Aumiller a little bit?
COACH BROWN: Yeah, I like Jordan (Aumiller). He's come a long way. I think really surprised, Vince (Marrow) and I both, during spring. He's had a rough career here, really. He's been kind of in and out of the doghouse, and really didn't know what to expect during the spring. He did a good job changing his body and he's probably as productive as anybody at that position.
Now he's got to carry that out through football camp. He's got a little bit more competition at that position with Anthony Kendrick coming back but pleased with his progress before.
Q. On the offensive line …
COACH BROWN: John (Clay), we are going to have to experiment some, just because -- right tackle, Jordan Swindle, will start him at right tackle, when we get going this afternoon. But he'll also have to get some left tackle reps as we proceed, because he may have to be the backup at left tackle, also.
Kevin Mitchell is a guy that's going to have to be a swing guy at right guard and right tackle. Zach West is a kid that's, you know, played left guard last year, started I think every game, if I'm not mistaken. We have got to get him some left guard and center reps.
So just through some lack of numbers at certain positions, we are going to have to double-train some guys.
Q. On the tight end position …
COACH BROWN: Well, I think we have got a lot of numbers. We have got some guys that have some experience at that position, no question. I think how we use them depends on their skill set. Are some of the bigger kids, are they going to be able to stand up and do what we want as slot receivers, or maybe some of the guys that are a little slighter, are they going to be able to do what we want to with their hand down, and I think we'll use them in the backfield some.
You've all heard me saying it, and maybe tired of hearing it, but we have 15 practices in the spring, got a couple weeks here early in camp. We have got to figure out who we are, who our best 11 are and then who our next best five or six are at the skill positions, and then form what we are going to be around those people, their strengths.
Q. The fans want to be excited and can be excited by a high-powered offense, do you feel a sense of responsibility in that regard --
COACH BROWN: Yeah, that's what we are paying me to do, if that's what you're asking. And this will get redundant, but what we have got to do -- and when I talk to our guys, when I talk to them for the first time as a unit her later this afternoon, we are going to coach them with the expectations that they are going to be great. That's how we are going to handle them on a day-to-day basis is we want to be a great offense.
And are we there? Are we going to be there this afternoon? Probably not. When will it happen? I don't know. I tell them, it's not if; it's when. We want to be exciting. We want to be high-tempo. We want to put a product out there that -- and you heard Coach Stoops who probably said blue collar in here. We want to -- I feel like this is a blue collar state, from east to west; we want to put a product out there that resembles the people in this state. We want to play high tempo, we want to play physical and we want to get after people.
Q. On team goals …
COACH BROWN: Not necessarily the yards. When you talk about, we have got some goals and I think the goals are that -- give you an opportunity to win the game. Doesn't mean you're going to, but I think it gives you an opportunity.
We want to be at 75-plus snaps. We want to be 48 percent or better on third downs. We like being 50 percent or higher on first downs, which means a good play is four yards. So those are some of the -- and we have some red zone goals, also. But I guess that's how we judge our guys from week-to-week.
Like I said, doesn't mean that if we meet every one of them, that we are going to be successful, because there's a chance. Probably the No. 1 thing is we always talk about -- or I guess the two most important, I should have led with these are: We want to win the turnover margin, which I think is going to be huge for us this year, and we have got to figure out a way to make more explosive plays than the other team.
Q. What are your expectations for your returning wide receivers?
COACH BROWN: Well, I'm excited to see them this afternoon. I'm excited to see how much improvement there is from when we finished the spring game until now, because I think they are all self-driven people, especially A.J. Legree, and Demarco (Robinson) had success, and those guys can see the success that we had at Texas Tech throwing the football, and they can see what we did in the spring.
So we need those guys to come along. I don't think there's anyway to dodge that or anything. We have got it -- we need those guys to come on and be players for us. A lot of the growth that we make at wide-out, that's going to depend on how we do as an offense.
I do back to this -- I'm really looking forward to it, and Tommy Mainord and I have talked about this extensively. It's not many times you go into situation where you have got so much youth at wide-out, and really it's a blank canvas. We have an opportunity to really mold these guys and develop them.
Is it going to be, do you want to pull out your hair at some point? No question. There's going to be some growing pains, but it's also going to be a really fun time and a really teaching time.
Q. On certain formulas for your goals …
COACH BROWN: There's a couple stat websites and stuff, yeah, just kind of went back on that. Nothing really exciting.
Q. Are you completely opposed to playing more than one quarterback in a game?
COACH BROWN: I don't think you ever have a closed mind about anything. I think it's always better if you have one clear-cut guy that goes out and wins the job. But if there's no separation, I think that you've seen in the past. Coach (Steve) Spurrier does it a lot, where they used multiple quarterbacks. I think there's scenarios where that can be successful.
Q. The kids working in the summer, can they be that much better?
COACH BROWN: I think they will be improved, Alan (Cutler), there's no question. You're talking about three- to four-month period, and they know what to expect now from a fundamental standpoint. We give them a lot of teaching tools. We can't teach them ourselves. We give them a lot of teaching tools video-wise, and I think there's going to be a lot said for when we come out this week, who has had the most improvement and that may mean it's a little more important to that person.
Q. Being up-tempo, also reflecting the people in the state -- the blue collar – there is a perception that blue collar is running the football. Can up-tempo be blue collar.
COACH BROWN: Yeah, I think there's no question. If we are playing more plays, that means we're working harder. We're running 85 and the other one is running 65, we are giving a little bit more effort.
I think that running the football is always going to be a part of what we do. There's no question it's important, especially in this league. We have got to be able to establish it. And especially kind of where we are at as a unit right now, we are going to depend on some play-action passes for some big plays.
UK Defensive Coordinator D.J. Eliot Press Conference Transcript
Q. Your defensive line, what can the guys up front do to take pressure off?
COACH ELIOT: Well at Florida State our strength at times was our defensive line too. So we had certain schemes that we had designed that maybe put more pressure on them and less pressure on the secondary.
Q. What are you going to be looking out there on the field the first time, certain things you're going to be looking for right away?
COACH ELIOT: Well, we've only had them for 15 days. So I still need to figure out what our strengths and weaknesses are and how we are going to adjust off of that. So the main thing that I'm going to be looking for is what the players can do and how we can use them.
Q. You have been at five stops with Coach Stoops. How many times have you heard the term, "the process," and what exactly does that mean in your mind?
COACH ELIOT: Well, the process is day-to-day. It's not just the game. So we work on what we have to work on that day and then we evaluate ourselves on that day.
So when he says we are concentrating on the process and not the outcome, it's what did we do that day or maybe that rep or maybe that meeting to make ourselves better. And then the outcome will fall into place.
Q. Is that something you've been preaching since you've known him?
COACH ELIOT: No, he's been that way since I've known him. He's a day-to-day guy.
Q. How do guys like Kory Brown and Miles Simpson fit into your team and what do you think they can do to help?
COACH ELIOT: I think that two of those guys are different. One is bigger and one is a little bit smaller and more agile. But we have got ways to use both types of backers. We have got ways to use guys when we're playing heavy-run teams and we have ways to use backers when we have heavy-pass teams, and both those guys have different skill sets.
Q. What's your impression of Avery (Williamson)?
COACH ELIOT: My first impression of Avery was I think this guy has got the measurements. He's got the height and got the size and I saw him move around and said okay, he's got some ability.
But what really impressed me was when I saw how he interacted with the players and how seriously he took the game. I was only on the job a few days and he was already up in my office wanting to learn the playbook. So I've been very impressed with his intangibles.
Q. How healthy is Donte Rumph?
COACH ELIOT: I think Donte is close and we are expecting big things from him, and he'll be ready to go by the game.
Q. What's your impression of the (Lexington) area?
COACH ELIOT: Lexington? I love it. It's fantastic. My wife loves the community. You know, supposedly we have hot summers but I haven't seen them yet.
So we love the summer, and you know, we have really enjoyed the off-season. We have enjoyed in all the Lexington and Kentucky social life. We went to the Kentucky Derby. We went to Keeneland. My kids are in little league sports, and it's been fantastic.
Q. How much do you need guys like Melvin Lewis and Nate Willis.
COACH ELIOT: I think we need everybody, and so we are going to find what we have and we are going to make our adjustments off of that, but we need everybody.
Q. Can you talk about your defense level --
COACH ELIOT: Each level, I think the defensive line, like I've mentioned before, is the furthest along right now, and we just need to continue to get better and continue to develop more depth there.
And then at linebacker, we have got to make sure that we are not only making plays, but the linebackers are the quarterbacks of the defense, that they are making the right checks and the right adjustments. In the secondary we need to improve fundamentally.
Q. If you had to have one strength, is it always D-Linemen?
COACH ELIOT: No, you know, I've coached on different teams where you had different strengths. But having four good defensive linemen is important. You don't have to cover somebody if they sack them, you know what I mean. So it goes a long ways.
Q. What's been the biggest change for you since becoming a position coach to a coordinator?
COACH ELIOT: Well, I guess instead of being responsible for eight guys, being responsible for about 30-something guys. Just managing and being responsible for the entire defense has been a big change.
Q. What do you think Za’Darius Smith picked up over the summer? What are you going to be looking for when you get out on the field with him?
COACH ELIOT: I think Za'Darius, fortunately was coached by Coach Brumbaugh at his junior college, so he kind of came in ahead of the rest of the group.
So I'm hoping to see him even go to that next level. I think you could tell in the spring that fundamentally, he was ahead of the rest of the guys, but I want to see him even go to that next level where he becomes a great playe.
Q. You talked about Brumbaugh a lot, coaching the way that you -- what do you like about his style and what does he bring?
COACH ELIOT: Well, Coach Brumbaugh played at Auburn for a defensive line coach named Pete Jenkins, and he's a legendary line coach. And Coach Stoops and I got a lot of our techniques from him. Coach Brumbaugh not only played for him but was mentored by him. So that philosophy from Coach Jenkins is the same one that we wanted to put in here at Kentucky.
Q. What are some of those philosophies or what are some of the things that he does that you like or appreciate?
COACH ELIOT: Probably one of the biggest is that we coached our defensive linemen and had to make plays. When we were at Florida State, one of our leading tacklers was a defensive end. So those guys, you know, really concentrated not only on executing their responsibility within the defense, but also how to get off a block and make a play.