Linebacker Preview

Jun 23, 2014 - Posted by Nicholas Henderson on June 23, 2014 at 2:44 pm | Updated: June 23, 2014 3:02 pm

Bronson Kaufusi

On his transition from defensive line to linebacker:

“The first thing that was the hardest was learning my responsibilities when the play call comes in I need to know what I’m doing, where to line up, so that was the hardest thing for me. The second thing was pass coverage, understanding it and actually doing it was pretty hard. The easiest thing was the pass rush, that’s something I love and playing the run. I love playing the run from that position because you’re attacking.”

On emerging players at linebacker:

Zac Stout has been playing really well. He had a great spring and has established himself. Jherremya Leuta-Douyere is really good as well. We have a lot of really good players that can establish themselves in fall camp. Sau Tautu is a really good player because he can play inside or outside linebacker. He is a super physical player.”

On replacing Kyle Van Noy:

“I look at it more as filling a position. You can’t really replace players because every player is different. In our defense this position makes a lot of plays. Coming from the defensive line, your job is to take the gaps and allow the other guys to feed off of how you play. Now being the guy to make the plays it makes you grateful for the guys up front. They’re the guys that make you good.”

On playing at a much lighter weight from last season:

“I feel way more athletic, way more fluid. I feel like I can run with guys that are smaller than me because I am much lighter. It’s nice to be at that natural weight because your body feels better. You can play faster and longer.”

On strengths of the linebacking core:

“I feel like we are really physical and there is a lot of leadership there in the linebacking core. I’d say the unity amongst the whole defense is steps ahead of last year. I feel like everyone has the ability to rush the passer. We also have length.”

On areas for improvement:

“For all of us it’s probably doing more than what’s expected. We all know our job and can do it. But then it’s also about doing your job and making plays. We just have to play fluid and loose with no strings attached. It will take knowledge and experience to where it just becomes natural to you.”

Coach Paul Tidwell

On the linebacking core:

Jherremya Leuta-Douyere has had a great offseason. Spring was a learning curve for him. Moving from outside to inside linebacker and now things are coming from different directions but we expect him to play a lot. He’s a student of the game.”

“Toloa’i Ho Ching will be someone we will count on. He’s coming back from a knee injury. We have to get him involved as soon as we can. He’s strong and athletic and we’ll have to bring him along as quick as we can.”

Austin Heder reminds me a little bit of Cameron Jensen. Just really dedicated, a hard worker, smart, and puts the time in the classroom to study.”

Manoa Pikula and Zac Stout will go in to fall camp as our No. 1s on the inside and then we’ll just battle for No. 2s and have those guys push the No. 1 guys and we’ll make it competitive. We have a lot of good inside backers so it should be competitive.”

“If I had to pick one area where we need to come along the quickest in, it’s experience. We just need reps and experience.”