November 11, 2009

Smith talks defensive end

Defensive line coach Giff Smith has had an interesting season replacing three starters who are playing in the NFL now and having injuries rob him of two contributors on the defensive line. Jacketsonline caught up with Coach Smith to talk about the season and the competition at defensive end and defensive tackle heading into the tail end of the 2009 seaosn.
How is the competition between Izaan Cross and Anthony Egbuniwe?

"It's been good. Izaan has improved every week since we have gone throughout the season. Anthony is still progressing back from when he had the illness that cost him a few weeks, but he did better this past week. Competition makes everybody better and it also creates more depth. We're able to keep guys fresh so I'm real pleased with how that's progressing,"

Is it at the point where either can be the starter on any given week?

"Yeah, we will continue to rotate them and hopefully get depth and a little more breathing room than last week. It's really kind of whoever is hot at the time is who we'll ride."

How do you feel about the progression of Ben Anderson and Logan Walls at defensive tackle?

"I think that Ben has had a real solid year, but I think that he'd tell you the same thing that he could have played better this last week. Ben and Logan, as long as they are playing within themselves, they do a good job. They are never going to be the flashy players that get noticed, but they have continued to get better. What they can do is make the plays when it is their time."

What is the update on J.C. Lanier's injury?

"JC had surgery on the shoulder and he is back running. He hasn't been cleared to practice yet, but he doesn't have his arm in a sling anymore. The surgery was a success and he'll continue to work and hopefully by bowl practice he'll be able to do stuff, but if not definitely by the spring."

What do you see from some of the red-shirts like Emmanuel Dieke, Euclid Cummings, and Chris Crenshaw?

"I don't get to see them as much this time of year. They are on the look squad helping the offense, but I stay in contact with Coach Ciano who does a great job with us in the weight room. Euclid is about 260 and looks good, Too Tall has really developed, and Chris Crenshaw has really developed. We didn't miss on any of those guys and I think that is going to create a lot of competition come spring time and going into next fall. I'm real excited to see how those kids do."

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