April 20, 2009

Defense makes strides during spring

Defensive coordinator Ted Roof didn't see much from his first-team defense on Saturday.

After all, the unit was on the field for just 12 plays during A-Day.

That didn't matter. Roof saw enough from his first-teamers to be pleased with the progress they made during spring practice.

"A lot of mistakes we got to clean up, but I was real proud of the first group," Roof said. "I thought they played well. They played a total of about 10-12 snaps, so they didn't get to play a whole lot. I was real proud of the effort.

"Overall, I was pleased with how we became more physical as the spring went on. It was a very physical spring but a physical spring by design. From an overall standpoint, I was pleased with that. I was pleased we gang tackled well."

Roof knows there are major depth concerns, particularly at linebacker, defensive end and, to a lesser extent, safety.

Because of those issues, he said incoming freshmen would certainly have opportunities to work their way onto the depth charts.

Still, there was plenty of reason for optimism for the coordinator.

Roof reiterated again that linebacker Craig Stevens had an outstanding spring. Plenty of other projected starters drew praise from Roof as well.

Roof also went out of his way to say defensive end Antonio Coleman "really became a force towards the end of spring."

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