Jeff Ulbrich talked to us after practice Friday.
On his impression of the defense so far:
We are moving in the right direction. From early spring where we were struggling with new concepts, to where we are now, I'm excited with where we're going.
On impressions in pads:
You always see some guys who fade away and then you see some guys who step up. Im very excited about some youngsters who stepped up so far.
On Kenny Young:
He has been very impressive. From the standpoint of the capacity t learn our defense. For our freshman, it's the hardest thing. New language, new concepts, new everything. It hasn't been too big for him yet.
On if Young will play early:
I think it's too early to say. Tat's what is so awesome about this year. There hasn't been a whole lot of competition. There have been guys who emerged right away. Myles was the closest thing to a competition and he emerged pretty quickly. But we have two spots that are open in my eyes, wide open. And there are a bunch of guys vying for those spots. It's fun to see those guys compete every day, knowing their jobs are on the line. And having to step up and see how they respond to pressure.
On if those positions are inside linebacker and outside linebacker:
On if anyone is flashing on the outside:
I think all the guys in the running have flashed. They all have different skill sets and they're all unique. Deon has an unbelievable ability to rush, Aaron Wallace is a great run defender, he's strong, he's stout. Kenny is a hybrid between the two. It will be interesting to see who wins that spot.
On the inside spot:
The inside spot too, you have a ton of guys. The way I see it, EK has one spot locked up, but that other spot could go to, shoot, Jayon Brown, Ryan Hofmeister, Isaako Saivaianaa, Kenny Young, Zach Whitley. That's a great pool of guys to pick from. Whatever cream rises from that will be special.
On the outside, where Kenny Orjioke is:
At the time, Deon, we were making sure he was healthy. So we had him moving forward, which was his world. At the same time we didn't have Aaron Wallace, so we had to fill that void. Now with Aaron back, we have a nice three man rotation. So we'll see.
On running nickel in spring:
We had a lot of injuries. We started in the spring, running our 3-4 stuff, then halfway through spring, we were probably more a true nickel team. But now that we have guys back and healthy, we're probably both. (The shift was) personnel. Absolutely.
On Kenny Young's smarts:
I would say so, but this is a kid who had a spring break and he took a train out here from New Orleans and slept in my office for a week. And then this summer, where every other kid is adjusting to school, getting used to dorm life, he's in my office every day, wearing me out, wearing Coach White out. Everybody who would listen to him, he would talk ball and watch film. The kid has an uncommon desire to be great. He was there in my office when I got there and there when I left.
On Deon Hollins' weight:
That wasn't my call, that's just what he was comfortable at. We all know, when he is healthy and he's at the weight he should be, he's a terror on the edge. We just have to keep him healthy. I think this is the right weight for him. He's in the running for the starting spot. But he's going to have a role on his team.
On the fifth DB spot between Priest Willis and Tahaan Goodman:
They're both, our whole secondary, our 1s and 2s and even some young 3s emerging. They're fun to watch. When we go to 7v7, those are typically for the offense, no pass rush, they have the opportunity to complete a lot of passes, they do an amazing job and that's a testament to Coach Meat and that's a testament to those young guys. But it's fun.
On Fabian Moreau:
You have to imagine, this is a kid who came here as a running back and is so new to the position. The more he plays it, the better understanding he has, the more confidence he has. He's emerging as a guy. He could be a special corner and play this game for a long time.
On Zach Whitley:
He's a freakish athlete. Me and Meat punch each other in meetings when we get glimpses of his flashes. He has amazing speed and athleticism. He's a guy, regardless of how the competition works out, as long as he stays healthy, he'll have a role on this team.
On Whitley's health:
I think he just took a shot out here. He's going to be fine.
On if pass rushers have emerged:
Where it's been like two guys last year with Cassius and Anthony, it's going to be a little bit of a committee this year and that's a great thing. The tackles have a hard time with a new guy. Not just a fresh body but a different style. We have 4-5 guys who can all contribute from a pass-rush standpoint. We're going to be good.
On what kind of growth he's seen from Myles Jack from spring:
In everything. His strength, his size, his speed, his understanding, his awareness. His understanding of the defense. He's a guy that is just scratching the surface. He really is. He's another guy who's committed to being great. He's fun to watch out there. You guys see it. That's worth the price of admission right there.
On the defensive line:
In spring, I felt like it was an adjustment for them. They tried to do some different things schematically and technically, but they're finally starting to understand it. I think it was more of a streetball mentality before. It works great some times but at the same time you can get exploited a little more. It's more assignment based.
On Eddie Vanderdoes:
We want to throw multiple things at offense, make it harder for them. It's on the offenses terms.