Aug. 18, 2015

Keith Gilmore – Defensive Line Coach

On maximizing the talents of Sheldon Day

“I wasn’t here in previous years to see exactly what he did, but I think he has really worked hard in improving his technique and understanding offensive linemen pass sets and those sorts of things that he’ll continue to improve on. Hopefully we put him in positions that help him, get some mismatches and move him to different positions. Part of it is a mindset that we’re going to rush the passer, and really putting a lot of attention and focus on that. I think he’s had the skillset all along, but just refining it and making sure that this is a priority for us.”

On the changes of the shift to a 4-3 during Day’s career…

“They were previously head-up guys and converting pass rushers as opposed to getting guys in gaps and teeing off, letting it fly. Coach (Brian) VanGorder, having that pro experience, that’s what he’s used to and that’s what he wanted. In year two guys have a better understanding of what the expectation is and the techniques that are involved. I was from a 4-3 front, understanding a one-gap player, so I think I have been able to help with that.”

On defensive linemen preferring the different schemes…

“Especially those that have pro aspirations, that’s what you have to do (rush the passer). If you can’t rush the passer, if you can’t get vertical and be a penetrator and create havoc, it’s really hard to play at the next level. It’s a good selling point for guys.”

On Jonathan Bonner playing the three technique…

“It is situational. We will move him inside, just like we will do with Isaac Rochell at times. He played a little tackle last year, and he’s gotten bigger and stronger, so he’s able to hold up a little bit in there. He has shown the ability to use his hands and separate, not become engulfed or engaged by offensive linemen. His biggest asset as a pass rusher is his ability to bend and do what we call running the hoop, not getting pushed up the football field and turning his shoulder. Turn the corner and get pressure that way.”

On the expanded role of Jerry Tillery

“The biggest thing for him is to understand the scheme of the defense, and that he doesn’t have to make every play. He can do his job and we will be fine, as opposed to taking chances and peeking. Doing things outside of the context of the defense, that’s what we’re working on. High school players are often the best player on the team and everyone wants them to make plays, and they get away with doing certain things to make plays. Here we don’t need to do that, we’ve got Jaylon Smith and other good football players. We need him to do his job. If the plays come to him, so be it.”