September 16, 2009

McCarney talks Joker package and more

Defensive line coach Dan McCarney met with the media Sunday night to review the top players from the Troy victory and to look ahead to this weekend's matchup against Tennessee. Here's what he said:

Talk about Justin Trattou at nose guard. Is he big enough to play there?

McCarney: Yeah, it's our Joker package, it's our three down linemen, we're not going to tell him to sit in there and play smash-mouth, read the hat of the center all day so we game and we twist and we move around a lot.

He was outstanding. He did that last year, we played more Joker package than we did base defense in the national championship game and he was in there playing nose. He has a lot of experience in there, he's really confident, he knows what he's doing and he really played well. He was outstanding in the game.

From a layman's perspective, the Joker package looks like a bunch of guys all over the place going a little crazy. Just describe how that package really works.

McCarney: Part of that is we really disguise a lot and there are some times when you'll see only two guys with their hand down on the line of scrimmage and nine guys standing up and they're moving.

We talk about moving targets and bring them from all different areas and different places but there is a rhyme and reason behind everything we do. As soon as two guys hit the same gap there is a gap open and there can be a big play against our defense.

You have to be sound, you have to know the defense, know the calls, know the games, know the twists, know where you have to be on the snap versus all the schemes we expect. It's a really, really good package and you see more and more of it. You saw Troy doing that to our offense especially early in the game.

Having Carlos Dunlap standing up and roaming around, how difficult does that make it to scheme against you guys?

McCarney: Just knowing that there's a guy that size and has that range that can be a rusher, we'll drop him some, we pulled him out and played him like a linebacker a couple times, now and then we'll drop him in coverage.

You don't want to take one of the best pass rushers in the SEC and put him in coverage very often but when we do he has a great wing span and he can cover a lot of ground especially when a quarterback pulls it down he has the range to run him down sideline to sideline.

How difficult is that to scheme against if you're an offensive coach because he has to be doubled up on most times?

McCarney: Or he has to be accounted for and then is it going to be a back that blocks him, is it going to be an offensive lineman, is it somebody trying to crack on him? The most important thing is go make plays, wherever we put him, go make plays.

When we were able to do that we had five tackles for loss on the d-line, you start getting some sacks, we had a forced fumble, a recovered fumble, two tipped passes, that's what we're all about. No matter where we line up, with what personnel, go make plays and we were able to do a lot of that (Saturday).

For this week's game with all the hype do you have to worry about the guys being too fired up?

McCarney: I don't think so. Urban (Meyer) does a fabulous job, one of the main things he does as a leader of this program is understand each week what the challenge is and in a lot of situations in that game (Saturday) you could have seen a lot of sloppy play and a close game.

Look around the country, look at the scores, we don't see them but we read about them and there are a lot of games that should be mismatches that turn into great matchups because the team that has the better personnel and the better team and the better program is not focused.

You saw a real focused team (Saturday) and now you start the SEC race in the best conference in college football, these guys understand it, but making sure they're ready for kickoff at 3:30 on Saturday is a lot more important than making sure they understand that tonight.

Our Tuesdays and Wednesdays are sometimes tougher than game days and our guys understand that and if we prepare them right they'll be ready to go for another great effort.

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