Also on tap at the media outing were the defensive coaching staff. Venables appeared much more confident about his 2nd year as DC with an experienced DLine a talented group of Linebackers. The main worries for 2013 are two things: pass rush on every down and the defensive backfield, both of which depend on the other. Vic Beasley still needs to gain weight to play every down, but he is making some progress. However, I still don't see him as a 600 snap guy, he doesn't have the weight to get that much playing time.
Reed wasn't my pick for DB coach, and his secondary at NC State was not good. Even Amerson had a horrid season (mostly because of his own overaggression). However, the edge is apparent in his interview, so we'll see if that rubs off on the DBs.
A player has to work hard, pay the price and take a few years to develop, but athletically and strictly from the standpoint of assessing tools, as you evaluate a kid when he first gets to camp, as a veteran coach do you pretty much know within a few days if you hit on him?
Reed:"Yes, you do. There are some guys, based on what I've seen right now from high school (film), they have the potential. But potential can be a killer. There are some guys who are doing things on their own. I've got one kid who is doing drills at 10:30 at night. He sends them to me. That's a different cat. That's someone who wants to be successful. In order for him to do what he wants to do, he has to put in that time."
Who's one guy who just lays it on the line and pays the price every single day?
Reed:"Travis Blanks. Robert Smith. They have something called sacrifice Saturdays where they go out and do drills. This is on their own. This isn't during summer (workouts). That's what you want. You want your older guys to take ownership. So now, I don't have to be the bad guy and kick everybody in the ass all the time. I can actually do some coaching instead of some discipline work."
Where is Darius Robinson's confidence right now?
Reed: "Darius has all the attributes to be a good corner. But confidence always has to be high. It can't be on a roller coaster because that will get you in trouble. I have to make sure that I am building that rapport with him and assure him that he can make every play. If he has that mindset that he's going to make every play, he'll be alright."
From what I've heard, the player practicing late into the night could be either Alexander or possibly Kearse, who at last report was up to 209lbs. Reed also said he doesn't so much care about a guys frame and height at CB, at least not to the extent of Harbison.
Most of Marion Hobby's interview centered on Vic Beasley and Crawford's progress at DE. I think we have a solid rotation of backup-caliber guys, all players I'd consider 20-30 snaps/game guys, but no 50-60 snap heavy pass rushers. Crawford has the ability to be dominant, but hasn't. On many other teams he would be a backup DE because he doesn't produce the pass rush. Barnes is another quality guy who will get to the 20-30 snap/gm level, but also isn't a pass rusher. If VB was at 260 I'd feel much better about a consistent pass rush, but I think we'd be lucky to see him hold 240 right now, and he won't be able to handle 50 snaps because teams will run at him. It would've been really nice to stop Mama Nkemdiche from taking all that Ole Miss booster's money.
"Vic Beasley has to become an every down guy. He'll have more opportunities to make plays and not just sacks but to get his hands on the ball. In the spring he got his hands on the ball a lot ... tipped passes, in the flats, etc."
He needs to be an every-down guy, doesn't he?
"He needs to be and there's a lot of pressure with that. Some guys are better run guys than pass guys. Corey Crawford started last year because he was a better run player. Now he's got to develop his pass rush. If Vic can be an every-down player, he'll get his hands on a lot of balls."
Where is Vic's weight?
"I'm not sure. I'm guessing coach Batson is pleased with him. I just ask how is he doing. If he's pleased, then I'm pleased. He'll pick up weight in two-a-days and hopefully he'll hold it."
Is 245 this fall realistic?
"Wherever he comes in at and if he's ready, that's good. I don't want to say you have to be 245 or you've failed. I'm still counting on four weeks of good practices regardless. I don't like to put a weight or a height on guys. I think that's bad. I don't think you've had a bad summer if you're not at a projected weight. Vic is 21 and he might get up to that number but it won't come easy for him."
Talk about Corey Crawford's progress and what he needs to do going forward:
"Corey has a great upside. He had a great spring and the most versatile of my guys. He has the physical size to play the left end, which is the holding point of attack a lot, and he's proven he can play on the right side. I look at him because of his physical size and I'd like to see him get close to Merling's size. Once he took off, he took off. He reminds me of the guy who played at UNC last year, a big guy with athletic ability. He doesn't look that fast but he is fast. He's the leader of that group. He's played and he's started. If I ask a question, usually he answers. The group always looks to him." I
But had you seen that type of display from him in practice before, but without it manifesting itself in a game?
"Oh yes. Yes. Everybody in the country knew who he was. They kept the tight end over there. He got enough attention to where he wasn't going to run free. Corey got a lot of tackles because teams ran away from Malliciah. He had a great year, then a great bowl game. I was really proud of him."