OLB Coach Mike Dawson -- August 3, 2019
Q: What have you seen from the X-Man (Oshane Ximines) so far, and his progress since day one? Describe what you’ve seen from him.
A: The things you’re going to see when you watch Oshane play is that he’s a high effort, high energy guy. What’s impressed me about him since the day that he got here probably up until this point is just turning into a pro. The way he studies, the way he takes notes, the way he re-takes notes, and then he’ll go out and he’ll make a mistake a million miles an hour, I’m fine with that, and then he’ll come back and he’ll fix the mistake at a million miles an hour. So, that’s the most you can ask for from a guy. I’m excited to keep seeing him progress. He’s doing a great job of kind of refining his tool box, as far as how the rush goes, and as he keeps honing those skills, he’s going to get better and better.
Q: How about Markus Golden? What have you gotten from him, and can he get back to that level where he was a couple years ago?
A: Markus so far for me, he’s attacked this thing with a great attitude. He’s studying real hard, he’s a vet in Bettch’s (James Bettcher) system, so he kind of knows and he’s been through it, so he sees it through a different lens a little bit, probably from going back a couple years ago, being in it for a little bit, and then being out and coming back into it, which I think is unique. So, he kind of has some of the things where like, hey, I did it like this or tried it like that, with success or without, so he can kind of pass that on to some of the young guys. A couple shots of him early, you can see that real burst when he comes off the edge. We were doing pass rush one-on-ones last week, and you really see him change direction really well, and you see the explosiveness. So, I’m looking forward to seeing that all the time.
Q: Does it generally take somebody a little time to get over a knee injury like that, especially at a position where you need burst, you need change of direction?
A: Yes, I think that would be a great question for Markus, how he’s feeling on it, but it think with any type of injury, no matter who you are, you’ve got to get healthy, and then you kind of spend that time where you’re off of that whatever—knee, arm—whatever’s injured, so you’re kind of used to doing that, so you’ve got to kind of get back to it. Then, not only do you have to get back to using it, strengthen it and all those things, but then you also need to get the mental aspect—you’ve got to be confident in what you’re doing. As he continues to get more confidence, he’ll grow. I think he can get back and be an explosive guy off the edge.
Q: How important is it for these edge rushers to have a plan when they’re rushing the passer?
A: That’s a great question. To me, that’s the beginning and the end. If you go out there and you don’t have a plan in mind, it doesn’t matter what sport you’re playing at this level, then you’re not going to have any success. You can’t just go out there and freelance. So, I think that’s a huge part of it, that mental game, and that’s why guys talk about studying film and watching film. There’s something different between sitting there and watching the television screen go by and a bunch of colors are flashing, and you’re watching film and studying and what you’re going to do with that, how you’re going to develop that plan, and what you’re going to turn it into. That’s the big part.
Q: Coach, to piggy-back that, Lorenzo Carter admitted last year that he didn’t have much of a plan, he just completely used his skill. This year, it seems like he does have a plan. Do you see that in him, as a guy now that comes off the edge, hand technique and all that, he knows what he’s doing as far as that?
A: Yes, I think if you really watch his rushes in succession, that’s where it really sticks out to you. You can see him come with a bunch of different tools, but there’s a reason for each one—what happened on the previous rush, or what’s going to happen on the next rush—all those things tie in together, and he’s doing a great job of learning that part of it. He’s really making a great effort and coming a long way, and learning the scheme, how I fit in the run game, where is my piece of the puzzle, and then I think that translates over to the pass rush as well.
Q: What have you seen from Jake Carlock? He’s a guy that’s kind of adjusting into a new position there--you’re smiling already.
A: Yes, Jake’s a great guy. He’s a guy that’s playing safety a year and a half ago, and now he’s coming in and he’s an edge rusher. He is a ball of energy, he’s a million miles an hour when he practices, you see him flying all over the place, he’s batting down passes—looked like a DB the other day, batted down a couple passes—and is doing some different things like that. He’s a fun guy to be around, he’s a guy that you want to see success from because he works so hard at it, and it’s not something that he’s been doing for years and years and years where he’s been on the line of scrimmage. To me, the game changes up close. There’s definitely a skillset you need in the back end, and then when you move closer to the ball, things are going to happen a lot faster. So, that decision-making process—and it goes from being, ‘Hey, if this happens, I have to react this way,’ and now you’re right up on the line of scrimmage and it’s going to happen even quicker. So, for him to keep on going, he’s done a nice job for us with everything we’ve asked him to do.
Q: Does he have the size to play that position in this league?
A: The thing about when you look at him is that, you stand him next to Kareem (Martin) or Lorenzo (Carter) or something like that, he’s obviously giving up some size, but he’s a ball of muscle. I don’t know what his body fat percentage is off the top of my head, but it’s not much. He’s a rocked up guy, plays physical, flies around and throws his body in there, and that makes up for some of that size.
Q: With regards to the running game, or stopping the run, is a lot of it about attitude and want-to, and if so, how do you coach that if guys don’t intrinsically have that?
A: From my room, I think you kind of dangle the carrot—hey, we want to be great pass rushers. If we don’t stop them on first and second down and put yourself into an advantageous third down situation, you’re not going to have as much opportunity to rush the quarterback. So, it’s a big part mentally that way—hey, if we want to stop the run, we’ve got to make an effort to do it that way, we’ve got to want to do it, and then how do I fit in the system with everybody else? When they create different blocking surfaces, whether it’s through tight ends, or wings, or extra backs, or receivers, how do I fit, how does that change for me? That’s what the guys need to know and where they need to go.