LB Coach Bill McGovern -- May 8, 2019
A: A guy who is smart and intelligent. He plays fast and shows good instincts. We are excited to have him.
Q: How much can being in the defense for a second year help this defense?
A: It helps for everyone. Everyone in it. Helps the players, the coaches, everyone in it. It gives people a chance to understand the ins and outs, who might have the hard down. Just have to take care of this and we will be in good shape, things like that. It allows those guys to play faster. When they are confident and they understand what they are suppose to do, they can make big plays.
Q: How does it benefit Ryan playing in the Big 10?
A: The level of college football has increased especially with the awareness and playing in space. It is not just downhill football. These guys are playing in space and it is starting now even in high school. It has really become advanced in college. Will guys do it? It is up to them. We are excited that Ryan is a quick study and he has brought things to the practice field so we are excited about that.
Q: Is his work ethic appreciated?
A: Absolutely. There is something to be said about a guy that walks on to a new team and is willing to stick it out from the beginning and has earned the respect of all of his teammates, become a starter and have the career that he did. It obviously speaks volumes to what kind of a man he is.
Q: Alec, what have you seen from him playing quicker?
A: Right now we arenít playing any games so guys are working out and getting themselves ready. What you see is his familiarity being in the system the second year. Those guys have great questions in the meeting rooms and make great points. They see things coming out as in what if we do this or what if I see this. They recognize the hard spots in the defense and where they need to be sharp.
Q: Are you as excited about these young guys?
A: We are excited about everyone here. The older guys, Jackrabbit, Tree, B.J. Hill, all these guys that we have and have been in the system are great. Now we have some new blood coming in and some older guys that have been in the system.
Q: Do you need to increase the pass rush with the edge players?
A: The pass rush comes as a complete unit. Everyone likes to think it is just one guy. It is a complete unit. We are going to have defensive ends and tackles making sacks. We are going to have linebackers hopefully making sacks. We might even bring corners and safeties in to make sacks. We are excited because guys being in the system another year, guys learning and maturing, that excites us with what we can do. They have seen things on tape that they need to improve and things that they have done well.
Q: Alec led every team with tackles and he comes here and leads the team in picks. Is that a testament to his versatility?
A: I think you saw him develop as the year went along. As he was getting into the system, he has been in a few different systems. As the season went along, I think he got even better and started making even more and more plays. No matter where he has been, he is a productive player. We have been seeing the ball thrown a little bit more against us and he ended up showing up and making plays in the pass game. He has always been good against the run. He sells out on everything. Again, his leadership and everything else is something that we love having him out there for. We appreciate everything he does on the field.
Q: Do you see Alec stepping up even more with Landon not here?
A: I think what some of the guys we have added, these other guys now being here are going to be more confident. They are going to have a little bit more of a voice. It wont all fall to Tree. It will be everyone. It will help him play more free and faster. It will help those guys as well because the leadership responsibility will not just be on one person.
Q: Is he a vocal guy?
A: Yes. That is everything. Just now in phase two, you can see much more talk and communication.
Q: What do you want to see from B.J. in his second year?
A: Just keep improving. Get better. He has his package and has to work through it. In the run game, there are things that he can use to get better. That is for every guy. You try and give them all three areas and get them better so they understand what they need to get better and be a better football player.