bleedCrimson.net: What are you looking for out of this opening game against Sacramento State?
DeWayne Walker: Just some consistency in execution. Now we get to go against a different jersey color team so you'd just like to see these guys match schemes and be able to execute what we practice.
bc.net: You're breaking in a new defensive coordinator this year, David Elson, what would you like to see from your defense in this game/
DW: Defensively, keep them out of the end zone and get off the field. That's always something you like to see good defenses do. Just really it's execution across the board. Offense, defense and special teams. We just need to execute. Defensively we need to improve considerably and I think we have. We just need to do it on Thursday night.
bc.net: From a fall camp standpoint with this being your fourth year, how have the practices been as far as consistency and recognition from your players of what you want from them?
DW: I think it's been pretty good to be honest with you. I think we've been pretty consistent on both sides of the ball. I think it's been pretty competitive. You're always going to have mistakes and those are just things you have to clean up but from a competitive standpoint we're feeling good about particular things on both sides of the ball.
bc.net: This season you're also helping coach the defensive secondary. What's that been like for you?
DW: Well, Mike Rutenberg is the secondary coach, I'm just there to assist him. He doesn't have anybody with him like a G.A. (graduate assistant) and we moved Wil Martin to linebackers so it's been good just being able to be with the defense a little bit more and be able to have a little bit more of a hands on approach and assist them and just get them to think more out of the box this year schematically.
bc.net: Who are a couple of players this year, especially in this first game that you're really excited to see out there in live action?
DW: Defensively you look at a guy like Trashaun Nixon [LB], [Donte] Savage [DL] who didn't play last year, Cameron Fuller [CB], Kevin Laudermill [DL]. Offensively I really want to see our receivers in action and even [Andrew] Manley coming back off of his injury last year. Our offensive line. Our kicker, our punter. Special teams, I want to see it all to be honest with you. I want to see these guys perform under the lights.
bc.net: Are there any specific benchmarks that you've set for this first game in terms of the offense, defense and special teams, for example like you want to see 150 rushing yards or 200 passing yards?
DW: No, not necessarily. The biggest stat is the 'W'. I know the coordinators and position coaches have their short term goals for this particular game but we just want to get a 'W' and execute and a win is a win but it always make you feel good when you get a good win. Hopefully we can do things right and get a 'W' on Thursday night.
bc.net: What are your thoughts on opening up the season on a Thursday versus opening up on a Saturday? Does it make much of a difference in your mind?
DW: It does but I think what helps is it's the first game and so we were really able to plan and build some strategy to make sure that we're prepared to play on a Thursday night. I think if you were midseason and you had to play on a Thursday night then I think it'd be more challenging just because of the schedule. But with it being the first game I don't think it's that much of an issue.
bc.net: What kind of growth have you seen from your team from the start of fall camp and leading up to game day this Thursday?
DW: I think the biggest improvement is the secondary. We've got four brand new starters, we've got a brand new group. Even though we have guys that have been on the roster they haven't been up front players. I think they've improved quite a bit and I just think as a whole our whole team has improved. I think our offense is getting a feel for Coach McManus' style as opposed to Doug Martin's style. I think defensively with me being over there trying to help a little bit with the defense, I think me and Coach Elson are on the same page defensively. I just think when you can get the coaches on the same page it's easier to get the players to follow suit. I think our chemistry is pretty good.
bc.net: Looking at Sacramento State what are some things that you've seen on film from them?
DW: Defensively we're going to have to play well in space. They're going to make us play in space and defend it. Defensively they're going to do a lot of things, stunting and blitzing and do a lot of things up front to try to confuse our offensive line and get after our quarterback and try to be the aggressor. On special teams I think they'll take chances. They'll come after our punter. They'll have trick plays and all that stuff and we're just going to have to cross our t's and dot our i's and make sure we're prepared for whatever they bring.
bc.net: What are one or two things that your team did really well last year that you want to see them carry over into this season?
DW: I think offensively we were able to create a lot of explosive plays offensively. I know that's the one thing that was the best part of our football team last year. I think some of the other areas we have to improve on but I think it would be the explosive plays we created on offense.