On lineman off-season drills: The teams met with GSU and did pass rush drills. They also did a lot of work with bags and rubber bands plus fast and violent hands drills.
On leadership: Walls and Jason Peters will be leaders along with Steven Sylvester. Nobody on the team wants it to be like last year. And, there is a lot of accountability among the team this year – like making workouts and 7 on 7 drills. Those are huge steps – particularly without the coaches.
On younger guys pushing him: Walls doesn’t feel a lot of pressure. He prefers to lead and mentor them. He is not worried about losing a spot as he knows that he and TJ will rotate in and out a lot – taking each other’s place when they get tired.
Hardest part of 3-4 adjustment: The hardest part was communication process – from safeties to LB’s to DL. Along DL, the biggest issue was be able relax and realize what was going on instead of feeling pressure to jump the snap and make the reads.
More packages on D: Walls is excited about adding packages. Groh’s defense is not vanilla. Last year, they didn’t get to do a lot of it and they have a much stronger base package from which to add now.
Comments on new MLB and DB’s: The newest guy is Daniel Drummond. From what Walls saw, he was very impressed. Drummond made one very impressive play where he jumped the line and sacrificed his body. Also, Walls is very comfortable now with the secondary – especially after spring and 7 on 7 drills.
Biggest disappointment among DL in 2010: Pass rush was the biggest disappointment. Once they got in 3rd and long, they were unable to get enough pressure – especially late in the season. It was demoralizing sometimes. He feels like everyone is going to be digging harder this year to get to the QB.
With offensive changes from Nesbitt to Washington, does this mean its your turn to step up? Walls feels it definitely is. The defense is very much ready to carry the burden. If that is what they need to do, that is what they will do.
Was the lack of pass rush due to unfamiliarity last year? Walls feels it was. At times, Walls explained, the defense had guys not going to the right assignments – like going to the C gap when they were supposed to rush the A gap. Everyone getting on the same page will make a huge difference and Walls feels like they are very close to being there.
Defensive package more diverse this year? Groh’s playbook is 5 inches thick. Walls noted that there is a lot more to add and that they are just scratching the surface.
On NCAA probation, how upset were you? Walls and his teammates didn’t know what was going on until they got to the meeting. But, there are only a few players left from that team and many weren’t around for it. But, it bothered Walls. Walls did talk to his mom and she told him that they can’t take away the ring and the memories and things from the game. Mostly, Walls is just disappointed that he won’t be able to show his kids the ACC Championship trophy. But, he still has everything else.
Do you feel like you did anything wrong? Walls answered, “Personally, I don’t feel like I did anything wrong. They said it was $312 worth of stuff and I don’t think that’s worth an ACC championship.”
Will the NCAA sanctions be motivation? While it will definitely be motivation, it will be mostly with a lot of the older guys on the team. But, it won’t be “huge” motivation for any of them – more so for the younger guys.
Breakout players for 2011: Walls indicated he was very excited to see Louis Young play as well as the whole secondary – noting that they are all so fast and athletic. He is also excited to see Jeremiah Attaochu get in there as Walls described him, “He’s a freak in there.” Walls feels that Attaochu reminds him a lot of Phillip Wheeler with his nose for the ball and how he’s able to blitz and get by people.
What did Attaochu specifically do to impress you? Walls made a big deal about Attaochu’s performance in the bag drills. Coach McCollum puts the bags very together that it causes you to trip as you go through them. But, Attaochu goes through there and while it looks like he is tripping, he’s going through faster than anyone else. He can get really low going through Walls noted.
What about Louis Young? Walls thought that based on the 7 on 7 drills, he’s a lockdown corner. Young can bait people – and is deceptively fast. If its not a perfect ball, Young can pick it off. Walls really likes the idea of Young helping give a little more time for the DL to get to the QB.
Who along the GT offensive line gives him the hardest time? Walls lines up mostly against Nick McRae and Jay Finch and Jay Finch probably gives him the hardest time.
What has he been doing this summer? Walls has been interning with an insurance company and also taking an independent study course. Topic is the Obama healthcare reform bill.
On using the indoor facility this fall to get out of the heat: Walls said that he would excited if they get to use it a lot – adding that just getting out of the sun will help. Coach Johnson hasn’t indicated to the team how much they will or won’t use it. Walls noted that a lot of the early season games will be in the day and he knows they need to be acclimated to the heat.