This week, I asked former Bearcat safety DeJuan Gossett about many things. Included, the Fresno St game, Rick Minter, and his former DB coach, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin. Without further adieu, DeJuan Gossett.
BB: UC had a lot of breakdowns in the secondary that led to 3 TD passes directly. As a former safety, what did you notice on those plays?
DG: The main thing that I noticed was that the plays are correctable. It all comes down to technique and experience. The two touchdowns in particular were the route where the kid caught the pass up the middle in what looked like two deep coverage. The corner has to get a bump on that kid and slow him up of the line to give his safety a chance and the safety can’t let anyone behind him. Both of those didn’t happen and you give up a big play. That’s correctable. Another one was on the goal line. It looked like cover two or some sort of zone and the corner showed his hand too early biting on the out route instead of holding water and hanging under the corner route long enough to make the qb put ark on that pass. What that does is give the safety a better chance to make a play on the ball. Its instinctive and its things that you learn with experience. The last one was as simple as being a mean S.o.b. and getting the ball out by all means necesssary. Two defensive guys on a jump ball. you gotta rip, claw, and can’t let him bring it down.
BB: Were there many positives with the defense that you noticed?
DG: I noticed early that they have some kids with passion on defense that are going to hit you in the mouth. I loved how physical they were early. I think they wore down a little as the game progressed but Wolfe and #4 (Maalik Bomar) really impressed me with how physical they played. Richardson stuck his nose in on a play at one point and I saw about 8 kids on a tackle at one point that really impressed me. They were running to the ball and that will suit them well as the season progresses.
BB: What’s it like for the defense when the offense can’t move the ball? Do you try to pump them up on the sidelines, or just let them be?
DG: It depends….It can be me against the world where you say ” Its on our shoulders” or it can be deflating when you start to fatigue or when you cant make adjustments quick enough becauise you are back on the field in a sudden change situation. For the most part you the let the offense be but at certain points you may go add some inspriring words to try to fire up your team. For the most part as a defense you are trying to get your wind and making sure that you get your adjustments from the coaches. You have faith in your teammates no matter the outcome.
BB: Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin was your defensive backs coach your last two seasons. What kind of coach was he? Were you surprised by his success so far with the Steelers, or did you know he was going to be one of the better coaches in the NFL?
DG: He was a grinder. When I say grinder he believed that hard work in practice lead to results on Saturdays. He believed in players earning jobs. He believed in the next man in philosophy which kept people out of the training room and on the field. In all my years in football Ive never ran that much in practice than when Mike Tomlin, Greg Hudson(Fla State), Rick Smith, Kieth Willis were our defensive coaches. The one thing that he had that reminds me of Rex Ryan was swagger. His swagger was quieter tha Rex but he had a swagger and energy everyday that made you want to put it on the line for him. I knew he would do well but didnt expect it so fast. He is a great coach and a great person. He is one that you could talk about life and feel like you were talking to a friend or uncle.
BB: Rick Minter is part of the Indiana St staff that comes into Nippert this week. Since he was your former coach, do you have a couple of Rick Minter stories you want to share?
DG: Coach Minter probably doesnt get enough credit for the turnaround of the program but he put solid teams together in 97, we upset Wisconsin and should have beaten Ohio State in 99, and had another quality season in 2000.
Coach Minter was always had interesting names for people when he was upset and when we all get together we still recite some of his tirades. He really wanted the best for his players and one thing that I know a lot of the players remember is that as mean as he seemed once we left and got to the real world we realized that he was trying to prepare us for life outside of football. I respect him for that because in every friday meeting before the game and every pre-season speech he put life in perspective and wanted his guys to be great athletes but great people when eligibility was over.
Special thanks to DeJuan Gosett for taking the time to answer my idiot questions. If you have question for DeJuan, leave it in the comments or send it to me. Look for an Indiana St preview a little later.