STORIES OF THE DAY
The story that is going to be repeated through the entire spring is the different attitude. There are four players interviewed below, DT Kerry Hyder, WR Eric Ward, RB Sadale Foster and S Tre' Porter, and they all four talk about the change in attitude. This is a meme that is going to be repeated over and over through the spring.
Both defensive players talked about how the defense is going to be a more attacking style of defense. I think that they coaching staff have Kerry Hyder plugged in as a Warren Sapp starter kit. Hyder talked about playing more outside, and in an 4-3 under, which is has similar aspects 3-4 (more in the offseason), the Hyder's defensive tackle position, he will line up opposite the tight end between the guard and tackle, a three-technique. I think the coaching staff has Dennell Wesley plugged in at the one-technique. Porter talked about the aggressive defense and I think we're going to see a lot of man-coverage. That's going to be interesting. Porter also talked about his position coach Trey Haverty and he said that he can be tough on the players, but explains why he's correcting.
The offensive players talked about tempo. Ward is trying to be a leader as the lone senior of the receivers. Again, it is about tempo with this team as they are moving much faster than they did last year. The LAJ also wrote about Foster and his desire to gain 1,500 all-purpose yards this year:
"I set a lot of goals for myself," Foster said Sunday. "I’m going to be playing punt return this year, so I’m looking to take five or six to the house. I want to do it all. I’m going to play a little bit of slot receiver, as I’ve been told by coach, so I want to have over 1,500 all-purpose yards."
"Last year, we had NASCAR," Foster said, using the term then-offensive coordinator Neal Brown used for the no-huddle. "This is NASCAR all day, non-stop. Practice is a lot faster. We play a lot faster."
Last, but not least, here's a photo gallery. Don't stare too much.
The LAJ has a notebook up and they detail how they think they'll see the defensive line shake out thus far:
The first two days of spring ball, Kerry Hyder, Dennell Wesley and Dartwan Bush have gone with the first group in a 3-4 front. Jackson Richards rotates with Hyder at boundary-side defensive tackle, Anthony Smith backs Wesley at nose tackle, and Delvon Simmons backs Bush at field (wide side) defensive end.
Pete Robertson and Branden Jacksen are outside linebackers in a 3-4 and defensive ends when the Red Raiders deploy from a four-man front.
Hyder said he’s most often playing a 4-technique, meaning he’s head up against an offensive tackle. Depending on the call, however, he could be in a 3-technique (on a guard’s outside shoulder) or a 5-technique (on a tackle’s outside shoulder).
I still think that Wallerstedt will eventually settle with Hyder playing at that three-technique spot opposite the tight end or the strong side of the formation. You just don't see a lot of alignments where a defensive tackle is playing a four-technique. He just seems like a perfect fit for that spot. I'm still not sold on Robertson at defensive end because of his size, but I really don't know that we've gotten to see his speed and how that can disrupt a defense.
I'm surprised that Richards and Simmons have essentially flipped spots in that Richards is playing tackle while Simmons is playing defensive end. Unless Richards adds some weight, I don't know how much he will be able to play at defensive tackle, but he never really had the explosiveness at the defensive end spot. We'll see.