The first time the media had a chance to meet with the coaches in February, defensive coordinator Dave Campo singled out Greg Brown. While all the players are starting with a clean slate Campo hoped to see certain seniors step up.
"He has started for two years," Campo said. "When I talked with the DBs I told them everybody is equal. But when I talked to Greg Brown I told him he will come in equal but he should command some respect already."
When Brown first met with Campo he said the feelings were mutual when it came to assuming a leadership role.
"One of the first things when I met him I told him I wanted to be a leader," Brown said. "I put that target on my back. I have been here long enough to help my team and the defensive backs.
"It's about me being a senior and a returning starter. I should have more responsibility on myself to become a leader. I try my best to lead by example and have guys come in watch film, talking after practice, and things I can to be a leader."
Change for the defensive backs
One of the new looks this spring has been in the secondary. The players said they are playing more press and man coverage than in the past. And it isn't just the cornerbacks sneaking up closer to the line of scrimmage.
"We're doing a lot more man," Tyler Patmon said. "Coach Charlie Weis and coach Campo want to bring more pressure than we did last year. We sat back in a lot of zones last year. The safeties are even coming down and playing man. That's the biggest difference."
Secondary coach Clint Bowen said the change in defense is to see how the players react. It may not be a permanent move, but there is no better time to try it out than spring football.
"I definitely like it," Patmon said. "We are doing more man than we will probably do in the regular season. He's trying who can stick and if we can't then we will have to alter or defensive game plan."
Crist, linemen building bond
Dayne Crist is the new player on the roster, but his experience showed in the off-season. One thing Crist did was spend time around the offensive linemen getting to know them.
"He definitely has taken a leadership role," Duane Zlatnik said of Crist. "This is his last year so he wants to win. He's always with the guys hanging out. He hangs out with the o-line. He comes over all the time and plays video games with us. We have all bonded. I think it will make us a better team."
Zlatnik said the most popular video game they play is NBA 2K12. Although Zlatnik will be blocking for Crist he doesn't show any mercy in front of the television.
"I can beat Dayne (in video games)," Zlatnik joked. "I'm definitely the best one."