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Quotes: LB coach Reggie Herring press conference


Linebackers Coach Reggie Herring

(on his plans for Sam Montgomery and how he played at LSU) "First off, the characteristics of the young man are this: he's big, strong, powerful, explosive individual. His play strength is (the) exception, it's about average. As far as the run game, he has that play strength that you need to play early in this league. I think he'll blend in well as far as the run game and setting the edge in our package. The other thing is when we look at our outside backers, we look at pass rush as a priority in our defense. He does bring an element of rush off the edge that is, once again, probably undeveloped and raw, but he has the basic ingredients and that is he can rush speed to power. He's an explosive player, like I said; the play strength will help him make the transition quicker than later. The one thing that he will have to learn is that he will have to learn to drop a little bit and things that he hasn't done as a defensive end at LSU, understanding that they don't cultivate OLBs in college, so we have to pull from the defensive end position. Basically, you have to give and take with their ability to drop out in space, something they haven't done. That remains to be seen. That's something we'll have to work on. As far as playing the run and having pass rush skills and having the play strength that's above average in college, he has a foundation to be a good outside backer for us."

(on if he envisions Montgomery lining up over the tight end initially) "That's a great question. What we'd like to do is we'd like to start him out on the tight end as a SAM position. First, we have to find out can he drop and how adequate he can be. If he can make the transition and drop to the point where first and second down, he's not hurting the football team and he's okay or at least adequate in his job.  The other things that he brings to the table could make him an outstanding player and a potential star for us someday. That's what we see, starting him out at SAM. We've got to find out. Then, if he can't, we always have the easy transition to move him over to the weak side and say you rush 95 percent of the time, which we know he can do off the edge as he did as a d-end in college. We try the most difficult task first. We throw him in the fire and see if it works. At the least, we see him as having sub-rush value which right now, with Connor Barwin moving on and having Brooks Reed and (Whitney) Mercilus, the only other outside backer we have on campus is Bryan Braman. This guy, Bryan has talent, speed and ability, but this guy right now possesses a very raw power in speed to power rush that could help us as far as depth and pass rush as the year goes on. So he does fill a void."

(on whether he would ideally have a three-man linebacker rotation on the outside) "That's exactly what we had last year with (Whitney) Mercilus. We had Connor (Barwin), Brooks Reed and Mercilus in a three-man rotation. Playing some in the first half, resting some in the second half and if anybody got hurt obviously they filled in, which he did towards the end of the year for three or four games. Ideally in our system, we would like to have three outside backers to be able to rotate. You need that for depth anyway because you will get injuries and they will get tired. So that's an ideal situation, yes."

(on whether he saw any discrepancy in effort on Montgomery's part in college) "No, actually he plays fast and he's physical. I think if anything, the young man is guilty of being a little naive, and therefore the fact that he's really an honest guy and tells you like it is and probably would tell you a lot more than he needs to tell you or open up and take all day talking to you. He's a guy with a big personality and at the end of the day there's not many players that would tell you something negative about themselves and not even know they're doing it. And that's just me talking to you right now. I'm probably trying to analyze what he told you at the combine or what you heard. He likes to talk."

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