Last season was not a good season for the Bearcat secondary. Today Butch Jones talked to the media about the improvements that have been made and the impact Dominique Battle has had so far in camp.
Here is what he had to say to the media following the morning practice on Thursday.
Q. How do you feel practice went today in general?
A. I felt we had good focus. This is the time that you find out about your football team. We are still building our identity and coming together as a football team. Now this is when you find out about your leadership and toughness. We got through some situational football, so today has been an extremely productive day.
Q. Have there been any players in camp that has led by example?
Q. How do you like the defensive secondary?
A. It’s a work in progress. We have to continue to challenge them and we haven’t challenged them as much as we would like to. So over the next couple of days, you will see us really challenge them on the perimeter. We will challenge them by blocking, deep balls, mental toughness, and fighting through being tired.
Q. How much did you miss Dominique Battle last year?
A. Well you find there is always a premium on experience. Dominique brings so much to the table with his experience, and his stability in big games that he has played in. We’ve missed that and have been forced to play some young players. It’s great to have him back. He has been competing every day and adding to the overall competition at the corner spot.
Q. How has Dominique done in camp so far?
A. He has been doing great. He is competing day in and day out. We have a great battle going on there. He has brought it every day and keeps getting better. There is a progression when you are coming back from injury. First game shape, then mental conditioning and Dominique has been doing a great job with it.
Q. How much has your secondary improved from last year?
A. It does have to improve greatly. The whole key to being great in the secondary is the ability to disrupt the quarterback, and we did not do that. It may not be statistically by sacks, but its hits on the quarterback, and hurries. I think for us to improve to a great defense its not just about one component. It’s the defensive line, linebackers, and secondary. A lot of times there will be a 15-yard dig throw over the middle and we’re in cover 2 and yelling at the secondary. It’s not the secondary, it’s the under coverage of the linebackers. So, I think playing great pass defense is the overall objective here.