Aug. 18, 2015

Mike Elston – Linebackers Coach/Recruiting Coordinator

On coaching Joe Schmidt

“Coaching Joe Schmidt is great. He’s another coach on the field, he’s a great leader, he works at a very high standard and he holds his teammates to that same standard when he’s out there. He does a really good job.”

On the development of James Onwualu

“James is an under the radar kind of guy, you don’t hear many people mention his name. But when we say the one defense he runs out there with the outside linebackers. James is much bigger and has a better knowledge of the defense, he’s able to play more physical and with better technique, and he’s only going to keep getting better with that. He has probably maxed out with size, I don’t know how much bigger he could get to throw his weight around, but he’s a very good coverage linebacker for us.”

On Onwualu’s ability to learn the position quickly…

“James is a very intelligent football player and he’s a champion at every thing he does. He works at it, it’s important to him, and nobody is going to outwork him in the classroom, studying film or out on the field. In that regard he’s a very good learner.”

On Jarrett Grace’s progression returning from injury…

“I don’t see Jarrett missing a step from where he was in terms of movement a year and a half or two years ago when the injury happened. I see Jarrett moving the same as he ever did.”

On the growth of Nyles Morgan and Te’von Coney

“Nyles is consistent in everything that he does. Technique and understanding of our system and how we play, instinctual movements for a linebacker, all of those things that young guys struggle with, Nyles is in a battle with that. But he works hard, which is very important in our program. He’s a fun guy to coach and I love coaching Nyles. People forget that Te’von has been here for two semesters now but he’s still only a freshman, so there’s a lot on his plate. He is running out there behind a guy like Jaylon Smith, who’s pretty good, so there’s a drop off when he’s in there. Te’von will be fine, and just like Nyles he works hard and it’s important to him. He is a bit behind as a true freshman while Nyles has a full season under his belt, but we need Te’von to come along pretty quickly.”