Secondary/Safeties Coach David Merritt
April 1, 2016
Re: the three young safeties who missed all of last season due to injury
A: I donít have concerns. Iím looking forward to seeing these guys come back. Iím looking forward to seeing the explosiveness, hopefully, out of a guy by the name of Bennett Jackson. Of course, (Nat) Berhe and the calf and the situation that he went through, looking forward to seeing him come back, and Mykkele Thompson. Iím just excited to see these guys when they get back here.
Q: Itís really strange because theyíre three young guys who you could have said the same about this time last year. Do you know much more about them?
A: I doÖmentally. The thing is, I know more about their mental capacity, as far as the things that they can do and where their limitations are. Once you go through a season, itís completely different from being in the AC and sitting in the room and going out to practice, versus coming in after a game and having to go against the top players that we face each week. But Iím looking forward to seeing these young guys come back and compete for that starting position.
Q: What kind of jump are you expecting from your second-year safety, Landon Collins?
A: Hopefully itís going to be a big one. I told Landon, ĎItís great that you had the opportunity to play all 16 games. Now youíre getting ready for your second year, you need to understand that now, whatís going to required of youÖyouíre going to be the veteran in the room probably.í I know thatís kind of hard to say going into your second year, but he and I have talked a lot about how his leadership is going to be important for us. But I expect for Landon to do what he did last year, as far as the production, and more. Some of the interceptions that he wasnít able to come up with, I expect for him to make those next year, and he does as well.
Q: Will having more of a free safety free him up to do what he does best?
A: It will. It should. I know that Spags will be able to speak on that more, as far as where weíre going to put Landon. Last year he was actually playing the free safety spot a lot of the times. Our free safety, even though he was able to do a lot of the things whether he was coming down in the box, coming down weak, or whether he was in the post. Looking forward to seeing what we can grab in the draft hopefully.