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September 10, 2013

Malcolm Willis

THE MODERATOR:  We have senior safety Malcolm Willis with us here in the media room.

Q.  Central Florida scored 76 points in two games.  When you're watching them on film, what do you see in them that makes their offense effective?
MALCOLM WILLIS:  First of all, they're a very experienced team.  They have a quarterback who's played a lot of football, and they have a lot of good play makers on the offensive side of the ball.
So from our film study so far, we have to be ready for anything.  They have a lot of speed and a lot of physicality on the outside edges, and we just have to make sure that we're on top of our game come Saturday.

Q.  Malcolm, Bill just said that their quarterback Blake Bortles is a pro prospect, a really, really good quarterback.  He hasn't thrown an interception in 217 attempts.  How do you approach a guy like that to pressure him to make the mistakes he doesn't normally make?
MALCOLM WILLIS:  That's up to our coaches and the film study we put in throughout the week, just studying different tendencies and things like that.
You have to approach this game like you approach any other game.  You don't want to get too high.  You don't want to get too low.  You want to make sure you're nice and calm and just understand what they're going to try to do to you.

Q.  Malcolm, you go against Allen Robinson a lot.  What are some of the difficulties‑‑ it's pretty obvious on the field.  But going against him in person, what are some of the difficulties he poses?
MALCOLM WILLIS:  Allen, he's a great athlete, you know.  He can really jump at the gym.  He's probably one of the better basketball players on our team.  So his athleticism is second to none.
His ability to like read coverages and understand what we're throwing at him every day, it just helps him out just as much in the game as it it does in practice.

Q.  What strides do you feel like you've made from the start of the season until now over these first couple of weeks?
MALCOLM WILLIS:  You know, just my explosiveness, my ability to read plays and to really understand what teams are going to try to throw at me.
That's just a part of me being here for so long and me understanding what I have to do each week to prepare for the game.

Q.  Who is the best basketball players on the team?
MALCOLM WILLIS:  Allen Robinson would probably be number one, Geno Lewis number two, and I'm probably a close three, probably.

Q.  How about your adjustment to the new safeties coach, Midget?  How has he impacted the secondary?
MALCOLM WILLIS:  He's been a great asset.  You know, like I've said on numerous occasions, it would be insane for me not to listen to things that he's trying to teach me because he's done everything that I'm trying to do.  He's played at the next level.  He's been an all‑American.  He's had interceptions.
He's done a lot of things in his playing career that I can really look forward to and look up to and be able to listen to him and try to get that for my career.

Q.  Did you watch the Eagles last night?
MALCOLM WILLIS:  Unfortunately.

Q.  As a defensive player, when a team is just going at that kind of speed, at that kind of pace, what kinds of things can you do‑‑ we were talking to Coach O'Brien earlier about some of the good things and the challenges of that kind of pace.  So as a defense, what do you do to stop a team that's going to be running a play every 15, 18 seconds?
MALCOLM WILLIS:  You just have to buckle in and really‑‑ you got to give everything you have every play.  You really have to‑‑ throughout the week, that's when you really prepare for the game and you really try to understand what teams are going to do to you.
It's really hard to simulate the type of tempo like that at practice.  With our team, we go against fast tempo every day in practice, and it does nothing for us but help us.

Q.  I take it you're an Eagles fan?
MALCOLM WILLIS:  No, I'm a Redskins fan.  It was terrible.

Q.  Malcolm, on your left.  Christian's proven that he already came in with some refined skills, especially when it comes to something like play action type play in practice against Christian.  How difficult is that when an opposing quarterback is able to really sell that play action, especially with Christian?  Is that something you've noticed he's been able to do?
MALCOLM WILLIS:  Yeah, he's great.  He's been working at it since he's been here.  Like I said, it's really a test of different players and their ability to watch film and understand how defenses are going to attack them.
I know just a smidgen about playing quarterback, just from me playing quarterback in high school, but if a team has a great run game, then their play action pass game will just be just as bad.
So Christian, he's great at selling his fakes in practice.  He gets us to bite sometimes.  Sometimes he doesn't.  But he's getting better with every rep that he gets.

Q.  Malcolm, you guys were without Mike Hull last week.  Bill just said he's going to play this week.  His personality, he kind of seems like a quieter guy, when you compare him to a guy like Mike Mauti, who was maybe a little bit more fiery.  What kind of boost does he give you guys when he's in there, maybe psychologically or mentally, that aspect.  How does his personality lend itself to the defense, overall, the characterization of it?
MALCOLM WILLIS:  He's one of the leaders on the defense as a unit.  You don't technically have to be a very vocal person to lead on our team, and his play really shows.  He leads by example.  He's not really the vocal type of player that the Mauti or the Hodges was last year, but he makes just as many plays, and younger guys, and even the older guys like myself, we look up to guys like that who show out on game day and they really step up.

Q.  Jordan Lucas, Trevor Williams, they've progressed a lot from the first week up to now.  What do you see out of them in practice, and what do you see out of them going forward that they could bring to the table that's helping the secondary out?
MALCOLM WILLIS:  The biggest thing about those two guys, from the spring, they've made tremendous strides just understanding the concepts and the way our defense works, the terminology and the ability to communicate with the safeties.
The biggest thing that they've really done is they've really got in the film room and really watched themselves and the mistakes that they make, and they really work every day.  They have goals for themselves, and we go over those things every day.
Guys like Jordan Hill come to me and be like, I'm going to work on this this week.  He'll pick out something each week, and he'll really focus on that during practice.  I want to work on my man coverage.  I want to work on my press technique.
Things like that, it's only going to make him a better player in the long run.
Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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