Aug. 18, 2015

Brian VanGorder – Defensive Coordinator

On the players understanding what goes on at each position groupââ’¬¦

“I think our older guys see the big picture. It’s hard work with younger players because we played so many freshmen last year that we’re just trying to take care of (getting them to understand) their job and getting aligned and the big world of football and even winning and playing to win. It’s a struggle for a young guy. Now they’re in a world where they’re trying to learn, conceptually, defense and it’s a struggle how each one of them is built in respects to natural instincts, ability to learn the game, control emotion. It’s hard to put a finger on exactly the difference of each guy and how they’re going grow and how their process is going to work. They’re obviously better (than last year). They’re not where I’d like to see a majority of them, but they’re better.”

On Jaylon Smith’s athleticismââ’¬¦

“I think there’s some things that he’s done from a visual standpoint and Jaylon works so hard at the game and he’s a real pro with the game. There’s some things that he’s done respective to a young player that have shocked me more than the physical things that you might be referring to. His eyes, some things that he’s learned about the game of football have been very impressive from the beginning until now.”

On the learning curve in the second year at Notre Dameââ’¬¦

“I think that in the early season, we played in some games that allowed us, since we’re so multiple, to use our system. As the season wore on and we played more tempo teams, for me I don’t think I did a very good job in that scenario. We put a lot of hard work into that; we’re not much different than anybody else in the country that’s running a defense. It’s a problem and statistics show that it’s a major problem. The emphasis of it and the plan that we take into a ball game in respect to it becomes critical. I think we’ve evolved. I think we all learned from it. Coaches across the nation are dealing with it. We’re all learning from it and we’re trying to create a package that allows our defenses to keep inventory and be able to stay rather multiple and not just live in one defense. It’s a very difficult thing and it’s a difficult thing for players to get their cleats in the grass and see an offense and develop a thought process, while at the same time cover all the things schematically that you’ve got to take on. It’s a difficult thing for young kids in college ball.”

On dealing with the tempo gameââ’¬¦

“I think I have all the components based on the past to deal with tempo, it’s just that you grow up and you’re so two-minute bound, and then coaching in the NFL, the two-minute drill is just a constant and you become very efficient. You’re talking about a two-minute drill that may just be out of your base personnel now. The run factor now that you don’t really deal with in the two-minute is the same, but rhythmically, how you call it, how you play it, it remains the same. I think one of the disadvantages that you have is, if you’re depending upon calls to get you lined up, it becomes really difficult. You’ve got to use the college field a little bit more to get your people down and get them ready quickly and then you’ve got to take a base package and really grow it like you do a sub-package in two-minute. You’ve got to be able to grow it and do it where the guys can do it quickly.”