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Defensive Press Conference News and Notes, 8/28

Coach Blake Baker, defensive lineman Darius Robinson, linebacker Chad Bailey, and cornerback Ennis Rakestraw met with the media on Sunday to discuss the transition to game week.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 13 South Carolina at Missouri Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Blake Baker | Defensive Coordinator

  • “Different sense of urgency, first game you’re always concerned about tackling. If you watch games from yesterday, you can see it’s an issue early on.” On what issues the defense might face in week one
  • “Felt like it has been non-stop, but we’re excited to hit someone else, we’ve come a long way in a short period of time.” On how far the defense has come since spring
  • “Obivously tempo. When you look at the air raid, they’re gonna try to go fast and spread you out with short perimeter throws.” On concerns with LA Tech’s offense
  • “I’ve challenged the coaches to take a step back and let guys communicate, because on the field we can’t talk to them. I want to see how these guys communicate without us.” On what he wants to see from this team during game-week
  • “I have a great amount of respect for Louisiana Tech, in a lot of ways it was a lot of fun. I love the community, the players, the coaches I worked for. I still owe ‘em one for my time at Miami.” On his time at LA Tech
  • “I do believe the kids believe in what we’re doing, but when they see it out there on the field then that is what really convinces them it works.” On the new system
  • “Smoke was there when I was there. He’s an explosive playmaker, dynamic with the ball in his hands. He loves to talk (laughs). The Harris kid, his film speaks for itself. Their 3 tailbacks are really good players, but the two players out wide are their most dangerous.” Scouting LA Tech
  • “It’ll be kind of a mixed bag from that standpoint. But there’s some young guys who have earned playing time. I’ve done both in my career.” On the rotation at defensive back
  • “We have strength in numbers.”
  • “Martez his hand got a little banged up, he should be good by Thursday. I feel extremely comfortable with all 3 of those guys, JC, Joe and Jalani.” On the depth at safety and the STAR position
  • “He does a great job with everything running through him, he’s fast enough to cover slot and physical enough to stop the run. He fits the bill. I had an idea watching him that he would be ideal. Reminds me of a Kenny Bacaro, hybrid guy that can do it all.” On his impressions of Martez Manuel
  • “It’s gonna be a committee behind Chad and Hopper.” On the linebacker depth following injuries
  • “We’re a one-gap style of defense. Our whole philosophy is to create tackles for loss and turnovers, be an attacking front. It’s an exciting style of play.” On what fans can expect from his system
  • “D-Rob and Martez are the vocal leader son defense. Isaiah and Chad more sit back and take it all in before they speak.”

Darius Robinson | Defensive Tackle | Senior

  • “We know what the talent is, every day we have to buy in. On paper, everything looks good, but we have to have the right mindset everyday.” On the defense’s mindset entering game week
  • “It means everything. It’s one of the biggest honors I’ve ever had in my life. 150+ guys and coaches think I can be responsible for this group.” On being named a captain
  • “Not being afraid to talk to my teammates, you only have so many days. We’re doing it for the right thing, so nobody gets hurt.” On advice Martez Manuel gave him about being a captain
  • “We go to the hotel on Wednesday. Still got school Monday and Tuesday. I don’t think I’ve ever played on a Thursday.” On the odd schedule with a game being on Thursday
  • “I like Jayden cause he’s fearless. He’s not the biggest but he plays hard every play. First day he got to Mizzou, me and Trajan Jeffcoat went to his house and picked his brain a bit. I’m really excited for him.” On Jayden Jernigan
  • “I used to be the younger guy. I’m the older guy now, but everybody else is old too. The best conversations we have is about what they did at other schools to get a leg-up.” On how he’s leading the new guys on the defense
  • “I still call Martez ‘cap’. We called him that last year. He always leads everything out there, he’s all in. He’s my captain, I’m very thankful for him. He was my roommate freshman year.”
  • “When teams look at us on Monday and Tuesday, I want them being like “yeah, we gotta play Mizzou.” I want us to be very physical and show that we have fun.” On what he wants people to take away from this defense on Thursday
  • “Whatever they want, they gonna get it. I promise you. Those guys go hard every day, they’re my best friends.” On Isaiah McGuire and Trajan Jeffcoat
  • “He’s very good at communicating. He’s able to address and fix things that go wrong, and his energy and passion stick out. Not a lot of DCs go to practice with cleats on.” On coach Baker’s style
  • “We call him Rock Bridge legend, all those COMO jokes. First thing I asked him was when things aren’t going well, how do you rally the group? He said you have to understand your teammates, cause you can’t talk to everybody the same.” On Martez Manuel and advice the safety gave him

Chad Bailey | Linebacker | Senior

  • “Players voted on it, so that’s the best thing about it. It feels really good.” On being named captain
  • “I get to play the run a little bit more. Martez playing the star makes it easier for me to play more in the middle.” On how his role changes in the new defensive system

Ennis Rakestraw | Cornerback | Senior

  • “I’m just happy to be back playing football with my brothers.” On how it feels to be back playing
  • “I just want them to take a deep breath, soak it all up. First game is always a special one.” On his advice to the new guys playing at Faurot
  • “The receivers gave me a lot of good looks, I have a lot of faith in coach Baker’s system.” On how he feels entering a game for the first time after injury
  • “I respect that he came in here humble, not with that 5-star mentality. It got kind of chippy sometimes, but we’ve got the same competitive mindset.” On Luther Burden and their competition during camp