Defensive Backs Coach Everett Withers -- December 20, 2019
Q: Obviously, (Corey) Ballentine, (Sam) Beal and (DeAndre) Baker have played a lot all season. But when Jackrabbit (Janoris Jenkins) leaves, did that raise their urgency? Did that take away a security blanket? They played their best game collectively last week. Is that coincidence or is that ĎJackrabbit is not here to rely on anymore, letís kick it into gearí?
A: Well, you can look at it a bunch of different ways. I tend to look at it as guys just getting better each week. Collectively, we had maybe one of our better weeks of practice, just overall. Iím proud of guys not letting distractions be a deterrent for playing well. My hats off to those guys for staying focused and getting ready.
Q: From Week 1 to now, how much better has Baker gotten and in what ways?
A: Every way you can imagine. Preparation wise, maturity wise. I think just understanding how to be a pro. All of the things you learn as a young guy that just punches you in the face early, heís starting to understand. Heís not there yet, not close. But he has gotten better as far as attention to detail, fundamentals and those things.
Q: Is this kind of what you guys were hoping to see when you went up and got him in the first round, and kind of what you saw in him at Georgia?
A: Yeah, we thought this was a part of it. Iím not sureÖ Obviously, you want a guyÖ Heís tackling better, heís closer to the balls that are thrown at him, targets better. Now, letís take the next step and finish some plays and have some more production on the ball. That kind of stuff.
Q: But if we call it what it is, it could have gone the other way for him. Midway through the season, he was struggling . It could have taken a turn for the worse where he just kind of tuned everybody out, and he didnít.
A: Right. Hats off to him for running to it and not running away from it.
Q: How about Sam Beal? A guy who missed the first 27 games of his career basically, and goes out there and it seems like heís kind of hit the ground running.
A: Yeah. Again, not there yet. But I always call him just an eager guy that wants to absorb everything you can give to him, wants to be good and wants to work at it. To me, thatís what you need. Hopefully he continues that. Iím banking on him continuing that.
Q: The way Julian (Love) is playing here down the stretch, if he finishes playing at the high level heís played the last couple weeks, what does that kind of set him up for going into next year?
A: Well, letís take this one and see. I try not to get ahead too much else. But heís played consistent. He played good last week. I didnít think he played great, but he played okay, good. There are some things he has to continue to get better at. But he has a good football IQ, good football knowledge and works hard at it.
Q: I donít know if we talked to you since Jabrill (Peppers) got shut down. What did you think of his season?
A: I thought he was improving week by week on the things, eye discipline and some things there. Always a fast, physical player, but just eye discipline and those types of things and leverage. I think he was getting better at that. Itís a shame that he got nicked and had to be shut down.