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September 30, 2015

Sheldon Day

South Bend, Indiana

An Interview With:


Q. Sheldon, how does Isaac Rochell push his game forward over the last few years and what do you think the biggest jump is from last year to this year right now?
SHELDON DAY: He's playing a high level right now. Just seeing him transition his game from pass rush to run blocking, he's just -- he's becoming a complete player right now, and just seeing his growth every day, just seeing him work different moves and seeing what he can and can't do and just challenging himself is probably the most impressive thing that he's done.

Q. I don't know, maybe people unfairly didn't see him as a pass rusher first last year. But do you think that's happening for him now?
SHELDON DAY: Oh, yeah, for sure. Coach Gilmore has definitely done a great job with all of us, and especially Isaac, just giving him new moves and just making him challenge himself and making him think outside the box when it comes to pass rush.

Q. Also from a conditioning standpoint, last week didn't really apply, but Virginia, Georgia Tech, you and him were basically out there for nearly 100 percent of the plays. How long can you guys go before that actually starts to take a toll on you and you don't feel like you have 100 percent?
SHELDON DAY: I guess we'll see, Coach Longo has done a great job with us, just making us kind of push ourselves to the next level and just making sure that we're giving everything we have on each and every play.

Q. I asked Coach Kelly about, you know, you guys use the phrase eye discipline or eye recognition or something along those lines, and I asked whether, you know, whether that can actually solve all of your problems by having the proper eye discipline, and he said, well, kind of depends on the situation. And I think the trick last week was one of those. How frequently can you rely on that or are there sometimes where the opposition just has a plan that's a little bit trickier or greater?
SHELDON DAY: Well, Coach VanGorder tells us to always have our eyesight presnap and just gives you a better understanding of what possibilities can happen. It's always those certain situations where it doesn't go the way that you thought it would or it goes a different way. So it helps to a certain extent.

Q. So how confident, you personally, you go into those situations, and you just trust it completely, and if they do something contrary to that, then you adjust?
SHELDON DAY: Yeah. I would say it's definitely reactionary. You go in with a presight, and if it doesn't go that way, you just fly around pretty much.

Q. Last year after that North Carolina game when the quarterback had quite a bit of success running against you guys, we kind of talked about how to correct those things and how a lot of those defensive line. Is that a bit of a point of emphasis this week because of Watson's ability to escape?
SHELDON DAY: We definitely remember what happened last year against North Carolina, and we definitely don't want anything like that to happen again. So we're definitely tight on our rush lanes and our assignments this week and make sure that we collapse the pocket and make sure he scrambles into one of the other three defensive linemen.

Q. And is that -- he's a more accomplished passer actually than Williams was from North Carolina last year. So do you still want to be able to dictate to him, though, that you can trust your back seven if you have him throwing from the pocket and you're collapsing the pocket, whereas, getting him in space is really probably the biggest problem for a defense.
SHELDON DAY: I would definitely say we trust each other and we know each other's assignments. But I definitely say we still want to affect him any way possible.

Q. Sheldon, how does the experience of this defensive group pay off in a game like this, in this big-game road environment?
SHELDON DAY: Lets us rely on other opportunities that we've experienced in the past and just knowing that we're going on the road, in a hostile environment, and we've been there and we've done that, and we've won in a hostile environment. Just helps us to kind of remember that and rely on that experience to help us out.

Q. What's your message, then, to the young guys who are doing this for the first time?
SHELDON DAY: Stay focused and look up to the older guys, seeing how we prepare, see how we do things and make sure that you stay on top of the little things this week to make sure that you don't let the hype of the game get you too wild up.

Q. You mentioned the hype of the game. Obviously there's a lot surrounding it. Game day is coming. And then there's the talk on Twitter. How do you get some of the young guys that you guys play with to level off and make them realize that too much emotion can be a bad thing?
SHELDON DAY: Just make sure they don't focus on the outside noise. It's so easy to get caught up in Twitter and what people say and things like that. But it's all about what's happening in this building and what you can control.

Q. Talk about Deshaun Watson. He's had some inconsistencies in his career. How important do you guys feel it is to throw him some different looks and maybe get him off his game early?
SHELDON DAY: We definitely want to get after him early, especially up front, make sure we rush the passer as well as we can and on the read option, make sure we don't let him become a problem. So we're definitely trying to make sure our looks are right in practice and make sure we're doing everything perfect.

Q. And you talked about how important it is to have those big plays early, in a hectic road environment. I think most of us kind of think that has to come from the offense. How much of an impact do you feel that you guys as the defense can make early and kind of shift the momentum?
SHELDON DAY: We want big plays. The D line playing on the other side of the line scrimmage getting tackles for loss, sacks, anything to kin of throw the offense off and make sure that we dictate what's happening.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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