August 4, 2008

Media Day: Loose quotes

ASUDevils.com spoke with Mike Nixon, Dimitri Nance and David Smith, among others, on Media Day. Here are some quotes by those three players on a variety of subjects as they get ready for camp.

Mike Nixon on whether he will miss Camp Tontozona:

"Not at all, not at all. The dorm life is welcome compared to the living situation up there. There were just a bunch of little things that made it a lot worse than it really probably was. It wasn't really one big thing that really was the deal breaker. There were ten little things that made it inconvenient and really just kind of hampered the flow of camp."

Nixon on how much the team will blitz:

"The less you blitz the better off you are. You're a little more sound across the board. If our front four can get pressure (and) we sit with seven deep that's going to be great for our pass defense. It's when teams keep six or seven in where we've got to get creative and find new ways to get pressure. We're going to put a couple blitzes in, we're definitely going to blitz and if we're having trouble pressure we're going to create a little more but hopefully our front four, especially with our ends, will be able to minimize that as much as we can."

Nixon on whether the linebackers as a group will be able to provide pressure off the edge:

"I think so, especially spring helped quite a bit. Rob James did a lot of the blitzing for us last year. We need someone to step up and fill that hole to be able to get pressure and create movement in the pocket. If we can't find that in the fall we're going to have to find another way to get pressure."

Nixon on which linebackers could potentially fill a pass rush role:

"A couple of the young guys, McFoy and Oliver, really got that burst that Rob had. They get a little more consistent throughout fall camp and they'll be able to help us a lot come fall."

Dimitri Nance on where the team is at coming into the season:

"I think we're going to pick up where we left off because last year was the first year for the coaching staff, trying to feel everything out. Now they have a year under their belt and we know what they expect so that's only going to help and I think we'll be real good."

Nance on how the new offensive wrinkles will benefit the team:

"It's just a chance to get out there and get the ball out of the backfield away from the blocks sometimes and be elusive and see what you can do with the football."

Nance on the depth at running back:

"I think it's good to have all these good backs. It helps us to know that somebody is behind you and you just have to compete knowing that and I think it brings out the best in everybody."

Nance on what running backs coach Jamie Christian asked him to work on in the off-season:

"He just wanted me to work on pass blocking and also just getting faster. I've gotten stronger in the weight room so I think that'll give me more confidence going out there in the running drills that we do and it'll carry over to games hopefully."

Nance on his physical change in the off-season, where he has become bigger and yet leaner:

"I was in the weight room just trying to stay at a certain weight and not gain too much weight but just be stronger and lean up."

David Smith on what change he noticed with last season's defense versus previous seasons:

"Just discipline. That's one of our things last year compared to two years ago. Everyone is disciplined and just flying around. When you fly around you're going to have good things happen. We had some big plays we gave up but that's going to happen. The offense is going to get theirs and we're going to get ours and hopefully we get ours more."

Smith on the defensive line pressuring quarterbacks:

"For inside (guys), it's pretty hard with double teams. But we're going to do a lot of games, mix things up, try to pick people off. It's hard. You've got Dex (Davis) and Luis, we're going to be picking guys for them to help them make plays."

Smith on the perceived strength of the ends versus the tackles on defense:

"We're kind of like the position where you get double-teamed and there's a lot of times where I have to sacrifice…It kind of sucks, but it doesn't. I'm jut there helping the team. I just want to win. It's my last season, I just want to go to a BCS (bowl). I'll do whatever it takes. I'll pick guys up for Dex and Luis. I don't care. Usually you know before the play if you're going to get double-teamed or not, if you're playing a shade or a three. It's tough but then at times you've got to make a play. It's hard but you find a way to do it. Hopefully I can make some this year."

Smith on how far the defensive line is away from being championship caliber:

"We're hungry right now. Coach Stretz will get us right in camp. He's not going to let down about it. He'll grind us out. He'll get us ready. We already know what we have to do to get to the next level. I think we're going to be pretty good this year at d-line."

Smith on playing against teams like USC and Texas:

"Everyone said in the big games we kind of choked. I don't know. Those were good offenses we faced. It's a long season, I can't speak for the whole defense. It's a grind. That's one thing we have to work on, showing up for those big games and making those big plays. There were a lot of mental breakups in the backfield, some of front but it was more mental than anything. You have a big play you mess up on and it gets you down. It builds up. You can't let that happen but in those games we let it happen. We've go to work on those things as a defense and not let those things snowball."

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