S Xavier McKinney -- August 20, 2020
Q: What has the adjustment been like from Alabama to this camp?
A: The quest is a little different. The transition is a little different from college to the pros. It’s definitely a different level of speed and tempo. Like you said, it’s still somewhat similar as far as what we do. As far as tempo wise, it’s a little bit faster. It has a lot of similar things to it.
Q: How similar is the way Joe operates to the way Saban operates?
A: It’s very similar. When I kind of figured out and when he discussed some of his rules and how he wanted things to be handled and how we wanted us to be as a team, it was almost like a mirror version of how it was at Bama for me. As far as that, it was an easy adjustment for me. I have already been in this type of system. It wasn’t that hard of a transition.
Q: Can you take us through the interception you had the other night? Coming up on the line of scrimmage it looked like.
A: I was on a blitz and I have a couple progressions to read through before I actually finish out my whole blitz. Once I go through all those progressions, that’s when I can kind of attack. I felt the quarterback looking my way, looking for something behind me. I felt something behind me and it was almost like a reaction play. I used my instincts and tried to make a play for us on the goal line.
Q: It looked like you almost had one again today. I guess they ruled it incomplete.
A: Yeah, I almost had one today. I think I almost had a couple today. I didn’t finish the play like I should have, but that’s why we have film. I’m going to go back and see where I can get better and where I can improve.
Q: Are you satisfied on a play where you can break up a pass?
A: No, never satisfied. That’s my biggest thing right now. For me, I know what I can do. I know what I’m capable of. A lot of the times I go back and watch my film and when we watch film as a team, I always study and see what I did wrong and what I can do better so I can improve on a play. Whether it’s a down or whoever I’m guarding, I try to make sure I key on that every time I watch film.
Q: Joe Judge told us a little while ago that tomorrow will be the most intense practice you guys have had, it’s the scrimmage. How excited are you to be in that environment where he said it’s going to be put the ball down and go? The defensive coordinator will be calling plays, that kind of thing. How ready are you to play some football?
A: I’m extremely ready. It’s tough to say because we have had some pretty intense days. Like I said, it’s supposed to be a scrimmage tomorrow and I’m ready for it. Whatever we might see, whatever we might get. It will definitely be fun to get out there and actually and be able to play freely without coaches yelling at you. Just going out there and playing, trying to make some plays.
Q: How are you approaching your starting spot. We seeing you running with the ones next to Peppers. Do you feel like you have secured that spot? How do you approach it as a rookie?
A: Like I said before, I’m just trying to get better each and every day. I’m not exactly where I want to be right now. Even like I said before I even got up here, whatever role they want me to play, whatever they want me to do so that the team is successful, then I’ll make sure I do that. For me, my main focus as a rookie is trying to get better. Try to earn the respect of my teammates, try to earn the trust of my teammates. That’s what I’m going to do.
Q: You mentioned how Joe Judge’s approach is very similar to what you saw at Alabama. In general, how receptive are players to the discipline, the hard hitting, the yelling? Joe Judge has gotten some criticism already for that approach. I’m sure there are some players who don’t like it. From your experience, how do players usually receive this kind of coaching?
A: I think as a team, we love it to be honest. Everybody is trying to get better, everybody is trying to improve. Everybody loves discipline, especially here. Right now, we go out there, we focus on what we need to focus on. Which is becoming a better team, getting better at individuals, that’s what we do. Everybody on the team likes Coach Judge, I think we’re good on that. We just go out there and work and try to get better as a team.
Q: Can you give us a little insight into how the chemistry is developing between yourself, Jabrill, Julian, all the safeties in general? Based on what we have read and what we are seeing, there is going to be a lot put on you guys. I’m just wondering how that chemistry is coming amongst all of you.
A: We are building it every day. As a DB room, including the corners and all the safeties, we’re building it every day in film, when we are out there in practice. When we are walking through, we always try to make sure we are good communication-wise in what we do. Try to make sure we are on the same page so when we get out on the field everybody is working on a string so it’s a lot easier to play like that. I think it’s coming along really well for all of us. Of course, we as a group still have a lot to work on and improve. That’s what we make sure that we do each and every day when we walk in the film room and we get out there for practice.
Q: Who is kind of emerging as the leader of that group. I’m sure you are one of the young leaders, I would imagine Bradberry. Are there any other guys stepping up and being a leader of that young defensive backfield room?
A: I feel like all the vets, you got JB, Pep, J Love, all the older guys are leading us. You have Nate Ebner, all these guys are leading us. Especially the rookies, they are trying to teach us the right way. They are trying to teach us all the things to do. Whether that’s off the field or on the field, they are trying to make sure we have the right mindset coming into it, so we don’t get lazy or nothing gets bad from that standpoint. There are pushing us and making us work really hard.