Coach Smart has been critical of his defense all spring. More than once he has commented about how much the defense has been ou- performed by the offense, repeatedly saying that the defense was not getting “knock-back.” Thursday was different.
“They were a little upset, and they practiced a lot better. Hopefully, the offense will respond Saturday, but it’s the first life that the defense has shown. Probably the best practice we’ve had defensively since we came out of shorts. Shorts was, kind of, everybody ties, you know. But once we put the pads on the defense has struggled a little bit, but they made a lot more place today.”
“I thought the energy was really good out there for the defense – a lot of enthusiasm. Not so much for the offense, but that’s kind of how the spring has gone – one side or the other has done a little bit better.”
When replying to a question about how the staff has addressed defensive performance with the team, Smart replied:
‘’We addressed it. As leader of the organization, we addressed it. We didn’t have a very good scrimmage. We were very honest. They did some good things in the scrimmage. It wasn’t all bad. We showed the good, we showed the bad, and then we go into a defensive meeting and we explained what we did statistically, which wasn’t very good. And then Coach (Mel) Tucker talked to them about it and some of the players talked about it. I can’t say that it was a lot better Tuesday, but it was a lot better today.’’