August 3, 2008

Omar Bolden Q&A

Cornerback Omar Bolden is coming off a 2007 true freshman campaign in which he started the final nine games of the season and earned second-team Freshmen All-American honors by We spoke with Bolden about the overall state of the defense coming into camp. It seems like we'll be seeing a more aggressive defense this year?

Bolden: "A little more, well, way more aggressive. Scheme-wise, we're doing the same things, same defense. Just a little more exciting. I'm ready for it, I'm excited. Get a chance to get some sacks, get more picks, put pressure on the quarterback." Will the new stuff make it more complicated for guys to pick up?

"Not really. Not at my position, not at corner. I got two geniuses behind me in Troy (Nolan) and Rodney (Cox) and everyone else seems to think it's fine. Everyone is excited. It's going to be way more exciting to see us play this year I think." "How geeked up are you guys for the opportunity to play the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the country this year with USC and Georgia?

Geeked up is perfect. That's the perfect word. We are geeked up. It can't get bigger than that. We just have to come out ready to play and play smart. I'm ready now. I can suit up now and play. But I just don't want everybody to get too hyped. That's what happens when you play big teams like that, you get too excited, too emotional and bad things happen. So we have to be excited but play within ourselves. That's what's tough." Any concern about overlooking anyone before Georgia?

"We're going to take it one game at a time. We're not going to worry about Georgia until Week 4. Everyone is looking forward to it but we're not going to worry about it until it's time. Right now we're focused on getting this camp in, getting some good work done, really gelling with each other and getting ready for NAU." Where is this team at as far as guys filling leadership roles and just how would you describe this group?

"We're looking pretty good there. We have a lot of leaders but we don't really have a lot of vocal leaders. Which is good too because we need those. I'm pretty sure some guys will step up as far as being vocal leaders in camp." Are you able to get a sense of where you guys are as a team this year compared to last year heading into camp?

"Last year when I got here I was here for a good three weeks before we started 7-on-7. This year we came out about three weeks difference with workouts and I started doing extra workouts with Rudy and the receivers on Saturdays and Sundays so we're way ahead this year." You have a new position coach (Greg Burns). What's that been like?

"A little different because he has a different technique than coach Simmons did. Coach Burns' technique is pure-step, kick-step. We used to back up a little bit (initially), that's the only way I can explain it. Now it's more of just a step outside and wait for them. To me, it's easier. I don't really know about everyone else. It's nothing against what coach Simmons was teaching but it just fits me better." Last year there were solid performances throughout the season but then against the better quality teams the defense struggled a bit. Was that just mental? Did you guys psych yourself out more than anything else?

"I think that's what it was. I honestly don't think we got physically beaten by anyone all year. I think it was all mental." How do you feel about where you're at personally heading into camp this year?

"I actually feel really good. I'm backpedaling now. I don't know if people saw it but last year I was doing more of a shuffle. This year I'm backpedaling, it's starting to be easier for me to see things, to read the quarterback in 3-step and 5-step. Last year that was tough for me sometimes but it's getting to be easier now."

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