Vikings Defensive Coordinator Alan Williams
Good afternoon. Just finished with walk-through, today we have short yardage and goal line in practice so we walked through that to make sure we fine-tuned a few things on both phases and actually I’m really looking forward to getting back to short yardage and goal line and I think when you do that it adds a special emphasis of toughness, a special emphasis you know that hey, the offense is going to run the ball and you know exactly where they are going to run it and you got to stop it. I always look forward to that to see how mentally tough are guys are and they’ve shown that they are. Another test for us today in practice and we look forward to seeing them compete.
Q: What was your evaluation of
A: I thought he had a good day at practice yesterday. Of course the guys have been calling him “fresh legs” since he’s been out for a little bit. He moved around and had some good run fits, and nine on seven and some of the team runs so it looks like he hasn’t missed a beat and I’d expect that from a veteran such as him but a little bit of time off did not hurt him in any means.
Q: What are your expectations for him?
A: Just that he goes out and executes the defense. I know that there will still be some rust on him in terms of live football, but we still have three weeks to go in time and time is on our side in that respect so I’m not going to put on any new pressure on him, just let him compete and he’s doing that. He’s a professional. He comes to the meetings, he sits up front, he asks good questions, out on the football field he’s attentive whether he’s in or out and so I’m just going to wait and see and let him do what he does, which is play good football.
A: They were out. I think, in my estimation, it was precautionary. Again, we have time on our side, we have three weeks left and there’s no reason to beat the guys up now and so I expect them to practice today. Not quite sure how much they will practice but they’ll be out and suited up.
Q: How much do you get involved monitoring their reps or is that just the medical staff?
A: Yeah, I don’t. I don’t at all. I leave it up to the medical staff, they’re the professionals what they do, and they kind of let the position coaches know, we want them to go individual, we want them to go how many reps or snaps, be cautious, be aware. They’re the professionals so I let them take care of that and let them tell me what guys can do.
Q: With young guys such as
A: Well, really with anyone, I tell the guys to start to get to know your body so that you’re telling people how you feel rather than someone telling you how you feel and what you should do. So get to know your body, know how your body works, know your limits and the other thing is, as you start to become a professional, know how to practice when you’re not one hundred percent so if your tight one day or you’re not feeling great one day you don’t go out in full sprint and hurt yourself. Also, be able to be honest with me because it will come up during the season where you’ll have to make a decision we’ll come to a player and ask, “Hey, can you go this week, can you stay in the ball game?” and we need a player to tell us, Coach, “I’m ready to go, I may not be one hundred percent but I’m ready to go.” And they’re able to finish a ball game rather than, ‘‘Coach, I’m ready to go.” Then after two series, “Hey I can’t go anymore.” So that’s a learning process too of being a professional, knowing your body and knowing how long you’ll body will hold out for you or hold up for you.
Q: What does Desmond Bishop need to show you still?
A: Like anyone else, first of all, can he get lined up and do his job, when a play comes at him, can he make a play and not give up any big plays and then see how many splash plays he can make. Plays that aren’t necessarily his play are great plays so really, in that order and it’s not just Bishop, that’s all the guys that are competing for a spot or guys that we have penciled in as the starters. So it goes in that order and that’s the same thing for all the guys.
Q: Is there more scrutiny because he’s missed a year?
A: Not really, not really. The starters also are guys who may not have started last year and we just want to see are guys available and then go down the line with that criteria. We don’t want to treat anyone differently or say that he’s got to be Superman in there because we don’t need that. We want guys to do their job, be able to understand the defense, be able to compete and again can they not give up big plays and make splash plays. I know maybe some other people will say, “Hey, he’s got to be Superman.” But no, he just has to do his job.
Q: From week one to week two you played a lot of younger guys. What are your thoughts and plans going into week two?
A: I want them to make sure that the things we are doing well we keep doing them. I thought that we tackled well, I thought that the guys showed some mental toughness as far as no penalties. I thought that the sideline organization was good, because in preseason it can get kind of crazy out there with the different bodies and different personnel groups going in. I wanted to make sure that they keep doing that. The first group came out there and I thought that they followed their rules well, especially on a game that you’re not that concerned with game planning a team, but you want to make sure you’re following your rules, they did that. The first half we held them to around 18 yards rushing, and I wanted to make sure that those are the things they did well and keep doing that. Going into the second game we want to continue to build on team chemistry, to build on communication, continue to build on running the defense, executing the defense, and hustling, the guys hustled. I think some improvements; we need to turn the ball over, that’s been a point of emphasis all camp, we need to take the ball away. Offenses are doing a better job of making sure that they’re not putting themselves in bad situations. With that we still have to take it away, and that will be a big point of emphasis, so that we need to get the ball back to our offense and score on defense. There is no reason why we shouldn’t score on defense ourselves. Coach Frazier in the last couple of weeks talked about when a defense scores you are likely to win 75 percent of the time. I like those odds, so we want to make sure we get ourselves in the end zone. I think we can do that.
Q: How much can you really teach those turnovers, and how much of it is just instinct?
A: Part of it is instinct and I’m not going to discount that, but part of it is hustling to the football, that every guy is expected to run to the ball, so when the ball is on the ground we have more bodies around it. Mathematically, we have a better chance to get the football, and that’s why we preach the last guy hustling to the football. We talked about being smart runners, that we’re not over running the football, that if you’re backside you are attacking the inside hip, so the ball carrier doesn’t cut back, and take it the distance. Some of it is instinct, some of it is hustle and some of it is making sure that you’re playing smart football.
Q: How much can Desmond Bishop help you there? We saw it in Green Bay. How much of his game can help you in that category?
A: I haven’t even thought about that part of it, as much as I have how he will function in our defense, that’s probably the biggest thing. One thing that we want to make sure that we do is that we’re playing Viking football, not necessarily where-you-came-from football that guys assimilate to what we do. All the guys that have come here that is important to us is high-character guys, and the guys that we have that come in and say, “You know what coach, this is how I was successful somewhere else.” They want to know what we want them to do so that they can be successful here in Minnesota and be a part of the team. Everyone that we have brought in has done that, so now we just want them to be a Viking football player.
Q: How have you evaluated
A: Very pleased with Marvin, he’s taken steps forward from last year. I think that Marvin feels more comfortable being around and part of the guys. We are seeing the leadership qualities from Marvin come out, not just on defense, but on special teams which is a good thing. I think that you cannot have enough good leaders, and Marvin is playing good ball for us. Hopefully we’ll get more base defense this week, and not as much nickel as we did last week with that first group. It will be a test for Marvin, as well as those other guys to see how our base defense holds up.
Q: Describe the problems you face as the defensive coordinator facing good passing tight ends, much like what our offense is trying to do with Rudolph and Carlson, what problems do you have with that?
A: If guys are one dimensional, that’s not as big of a deal if they are big guys. It is when you have big guys that can run and block. Then you have to match them up usually with a linebacker that can fill up the run as well as cover them in the pass. If you have just one guy that’s just one dimensional, whether it’s a big blocking tight end, or a big receiving tight end, it’s not as problematic as a dual threat. When you have a dual threat guy you have to decide, do I want to put a defensive back in there for coverage, or do I want to put a linebacker in there for run stopping ability. With that you have to pick your poison, and sometimes it’s based on down and distance for how you want to handle that in terms of who goes in the ball game.
Q: If you’re in nickel in that situation and they have two tight ends, do you put a safety on the other one?
A: Usually it is a nickel on one and a safety on the other one, and leave the linebackers in the box for the run.