Defensive Coordinator Todd Grantham talked after UofL’s spring practice on Wednesday afternoon. Here is what he had to say.
On what players have stepped up so far in the spring
Well I think that when you look at the guys that returned, (Sheldon) Rankins, Pio (Vatuvei), (DeAngelo) Brown, (Keith) Kelsey…I mean those guys have played well for us in the past, but they have taken ownership in our defense and the team and they continue to work hard and be positive. When you look at guys like Keith Brown, you know Keith had a tremendous scrimmage for us on Saturday. I’ve been really pleased with Chucky (Williams) and his ability to tackle in space in the first scrimmage. I thought that was real positive.
And in general, I think we are moving in the right direction. By no means are we there, but you see guys working hard, coming in and studying tape, and continuing to do the things they’ve got to do to become a good player.
Difference in spring ball in year two compared to last year?
I think that you still go through the same process because you have guys, like for example Jaire (Alexander) is a freshman that came in…you know Shaq (Wiggins) and Josh Harvey (Clemons), they had to sit out a year so you kind of have to start back with page one and continue to develop it. I think what you can do is, as a player that maybe knows that stuff, you can still try to hone your craft and maybe become an expert at it.
There is always something you can learn from that, whether it be with us and our assignments and the way we play it or maybe how you apply it relative to the formation that you see. So there is always going to be something you can work on from that standpoint. But I think our guys have worked hard and I’m pleased with what we are doing.
Already working on the Auburn gameplan and their style?
The first thing you want to do in spring ball is evaluate your players. You want to get them in the best position to show us what they can do and play fast. There’s a lot of teams you’re going to play next year. College football has a variety of styles of offense so I’ve always been of the mindset that in the spring you are going to lay your foundation, your habits, and develop the character and fundamentals that you want in the fall.
And then as you do that, you’re going to apply some things you might use for the first game, but you’re also going to apply things that you might use in game six, game nine, things like that. So that way, people have a recall of it and it’s not totally new when it comes up. So I’ve always been a guy that likes to throw things at them and see what sticks and kind of go from there.
On Cornelius Sturghill moving from WR to CB
He has done a really good job of playing the ball. Obviously he is learning how to play the position. He’s got really good speed. He understands the routes, he gets better at that. He has made some plays for us. He’s a guy that will tackle. I think anytime you can get guys on the edge with the skills that he has and the speed that he’s got and can cover one on one and have some toughness to them, I think that’s a good thing so I am pleased with his progress.