Full Transcript: DB Coach Tony Gibson covers them all: Donovan Warren, Boubacar Cissoko, JT Floyd, Teric Jones, JT Turner, Thomas Gordon and walkon Jared Van Slyke.
Question: How comfortable are you right now with the DB’s from last season to this season?
Tony Gibson: “Donovan Warren is obviously a year older, has got great experience. He has played more than anybody, take my whole room combined compared to him. He’s got the most experience. He’s having a good camp right now. He is battling a few nicks and bruises and that kind of things, but he’s recovered really well with the ankle, doing well. Boubacar (Cissoko) is having a really good camp. J.T. Floyd as coach mentioned earlier is doing some good things. Troy Woolfolk, the move has really helped him. Michael Williams is having a good camp. The biggest thing we got to work on now is depth, get some young guys ready.”
Question: Let’s talk about some of your younger guys, J.T. Turner and Teric Jones; Teric has just been moved over from the offensive side to the defensive side; can you talk about Teric first and then JT?
Tony Gibson: “Yeah, Teric that was a pleasant surprise. We got him the day before camp started. We had a staff meeting and talked about some guys that we could move over and he was the first guy we had mentioned. He’s been in the two deep the last couple of practices. He had a good day yesterday, had an interception. He’s playing well and learning the system. He still has a lot to learn obviously, but he’s getting better. JT Turner as you know missed the first couple of days of camp with NCAA stuff, but has come along. He had a really good day yesterday. He had three or four tackles, defended some balls really well. We got some good mileage out of him yesterday and just got to keep rolling.”
Question: JT came in with a lot of hype, the #1 player in the State of Ohio; has he been living up to that, just seeing glimpses of what he can do?
Tony Gibson: “Yeah you know and I think right now it is hard to evaluate that part of it just because he learning something new. He doesn’t have a feel for it yet. He’s getting it yet. Yesterday what was good was that I put him in with the ones for about the last 10 plays of scrimmage and he played really well, knocked a ball down, had a couple of tackles. I was excited about that for him. You can see with his body and all of those things that he is going to be a good football player for us.”
Question: Can you talk about the progress of Boubacar; last year, he kind of got his feet wet. It looks like you guys are going to depending on him quite a bit this year.
Tony Gibson: “Yeah he has got to have a great year. He’s a solid kid on the field. He loves to play football and he needs football. I love the way he approaches it. Once he steps between those white lines, it is all business for him and he competes on every single snap. He gets up in their face, press man. If we could tell him, you play press man 80 plays a game, he’d be in heaven. He getting better and better every day and it is important to him. That’s what I like.”
Question: Speaking of his aggressiveness, do you kind of have to have him back up from that a little bit to see what’s going on more so, because he is and always has been since high school so aggressive.
Tony Gibson: “Yeah. He just needs to and I tell him, you’re not going to make every play and things are going to happen to you. You’re going to get beat and you got to have a short conscious and move on, get it rolling. Just learn the whole system and not give up the big one.”
Question: Can you talk about the leader of the group, would you say that would be Donovan Warren at this time?
Tony Gibson: “Yeah Donovan Warren, he is our leader right now back there. Just because the kids look to him, he’s been in the battle, all those things. He’s been there, done it. Like I said, he started 23 games already in his career at Michigan and the rest of my guys you can combine them all, special teams and all that and we don’t have as many minutes as he has game type.”
Question: Newcomer to the group, Jared Van Slyke, can you kind of talk about his progress and where he is on the team?
Tony Gibson: “Yeah. Jared has done a nice job. The deal with Jared, he was a quarterback at Southeast Missouri, transferred in here, was a wide receiver until right before spring ball and we moved Jared in right now. He’s battling obviously Troy for some playing time back there. We got a couple of young guys too; Thomas Gordon was a kid that has been doing really well and he had an ankle, so he has been out a few days. I kind of like my depth at safety. They’re young kids, but I like coaching them and they’re aggressive to learn and all that. I like what their doing.”
Question: How is JT Turner?
Tony Gibson: “JT Turner, he got slowed down with not getting into camp the first couple of days, but he’s having a really good camp. He ran with the ones yesterday for a couple of series at the end and made some plays. I think he got 30 total plays in the scrimmage yesterday.”
Question: Is that the first time he run with the ones all camp?
Tony Gibson: “Yes. That’s the first time we’ve put him in there just to see what he would do. He did really well with them. We played him a lot of man coverage yesterday and that’s kind of his thing. He’s so long, he can get his arms on people and hands on people. I like the way he’s progressing.”
Question: It sound like he could eventually start by the end of the year or is that maybe…?
Tony Gibson: “Yeah. I wouldn’t put that on the kid right now. We’re just trying to get him better day by day right now like we are the rest of them.”
Question: Can you think of play from the scrimmage yesterday that really stuck in your mind from JT Turner?
Tony Gibson: “Yeah, he probably was playing man coverage and a screen broke out on a play away from him in the field and he ran it down. He ran about 50 yards and caught Tay Odoms. So that was really good to see him turn it loose and go. He did some good things.”
Question: Is Donovan 100% right now? We’ve heard some reports that he’s worn green jersey a couple of times. If he’s not 100%, how effective can he be?
Tony Gibson: “If he’s not 100%, I think it goes back to last year. You know last year, we had talked about a lot of this before. He was never healthy last year and I think it affected his whole game and his mindset and all those things, but right now he’s getting…he’s just so much better as a player and all those things. He has to be healthy just for his mind I would think. He wants to be perfect on every snap. He is healthy. He had a couple of bangs and bruises that just has to do with camp. He’s in the grind of it, but he’s come back from the ankle and done well. I think he’ll be fine.”
Question: You said you liked the depth at safety; how much more comfortable are you with the way Troy has kind of emerged throughout the spring, summer and fall?
Tony Gibson: “A lot. Troy is kind of our eraser on defense. Mike Williams, he’s just a scrapper. He’s a throwback.”
Question: Can you talk about Boubacar Cissoko?
Tony Gibson: “We grade every rep that these kids take every day. The thing about him is that he is all over the field. We use him in the run game. He’s supporting the run, he’s playing man coverage. He’s playing zone coverage. You know just all those things and he’s getting them. That’s a relief for me. He’s figuring it all out and he’s feeling comfortable as he goes.”
Question: You said he supporting the run; lots of great corners don’t generally do because they’re worried about receivers, is that something that you like to see or is that something that he needs to focus more on?
Tony Gibson: “No we do it. We ask all 11 of our guys. We don’t have what you call cover corners. Our kids need to be physical and support the run and all those things. Him and Donovan, JT Floyd, JT Turner and Teric Jones and all those kids. We’re expecting them to do it. We are going to play coverages where they are going to force the run.”
Question: Can you talk about JT Floyd and his progression from last year; he didn’t play at all and this year starting to step it up for you a little bit.
Tony Gibson: “Yeah the best thing that we done for JT was to redshirt him and let him get a year older and mature a little bit and get physically ready. From a mental standpoint he is really good. Physically, he is a little behind, but he is faster now going through Coach Barwis’ strength and conditioning stuff. Mentally, he has it from day one but physically is where he has had to catch up and I think he is doing that.”