Eliot previews Ohio University

D.J. ELIOT
“Good. Did some good things. We’re just concentrating on getting better fundamentally. We have to get some depth, got to establish some players at all positions for our backups, and that’s our emphasis.”

On Stoops saying Bud Dupree and Za’Darius Smith were trying to do too much and what that looks like on film: “Well, everybody has a responsibility. Everybody has a play that they’re supposed to make within the defense if they run an offensive play at you within your assignment. And when that happens, you’re supposed to make it. But sometimes you may try to do somebody else’s job, and therefore the defense doesn’t fit like it should, and in that scenario they’re trying to do too much.”

On if its easy to correct that mistake with veterans like Dupree and Smith: “It is. It is. You know, sometimes that’s just the first game of the year too. So, I think that goes with a lot of guys at different positions throughout the country. First game of the year they may be so wound up that they’re not just sticking to their assignment and their responsibility.”

On if they always envisioned A.J. Stamps playing safety instead of corner: “We like to recruit safeties that could play corner. That’s what we saw in A.J. We saw a guy that was athletic enough to be a corner. He was a corner in junior college, but yet we knew he was big enough and strong enough and physical enough to be a safety as well. So, we saw a guy that was capable to do both. That’s the kind of safeties we would like to sign: guys that could also play corner.”

On if he was more excited about Stamps’ interception or tackle for loss: “Well the best play that he probably made went unnoticed, but it was on a screen when he defeated a block, then the guy grabbed him from behind, then somebody else tried to block him and he got after it and he tackled him for a loss. And they called holding on the play as well. That was probably the most impressive play.”

On if they do anything different to prepare for a running quarterback: “We always have a plan. We have to execute the defense within the plan for athletic quarterbacks, but you don’t have to do anything different. You just have to be aware of what your responsibility is and aware that is a threat within the game.”

On personnel from Ohio he’s concerned about: “Like you mentioned, they have an athletic quarterback; it’s his first year starting. I think he handled himself very well in the first game, made good decisions, threw the ball where he should. He had an accurate arm and he’s very athletic as well.”

On if defense is close to where it wants to be as far as speed: “I think we’re close. In this league, you can never be fast enough. We’re continuing to recruit fast players; we’ve got some very fast young players that we’re currently developing.”

On what he saw from Randolph: “Kendall played with tenacity. Kendall played with confidence. Kendall made a lot of plays. Kendall played fast. I was impressed with Kendall for a true freshman. He reminds me a lot of Blake McClain last year.”

On how to get Randolph in the mix more with him playing McClain’s position: “Yeah, you’ve got to get him on the field as DB, in some capacity – as a safety, as a nickel, maybe as a corner somewhere. And within a rotation. We also have other packages where we’ve got six DBs on the field. Get him in one of those packages. I think that’s what Coach (Stoops) is referring to.”

On anyone who stood out on film that maybe didn’t live: “I thought Josh Forrest did some good things while he was in there. And Melvin Lewis. You know, Melvin sometimes goes unnoticed inside at the nose guard but it’s not what he does; it’s what he takes away that sometimes is important within the defense.”

About Jennifer Smith

Jen Smith has been a sports writer at the Herald-Leader since 2000, covering everything from high school sports to auto racing to various University of Kentucky sports. A native of Louisville and a graduate of the University of Kentucky (much to the dismay of her Louisville graduate mother and Indiana graduate father), Jen now resides in downtown Lexington with her husband and two young sons. You can follow her on Twitter @jenheraldleader or send her an email at jsmith3@herald-leader.com.
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