Blogger So Dear had the great opportunity to sit down and have a discussion with Kyle Wilber on Media Day over the weekend. Wilber is a fifth year senior from Apopka, Florida who took over the starting role at defensive end halfway through his freshman year, earning honorable mention honors for the Freshman All-American Team. His sophomore year was cut short after suffering a broken leg against Stanford, but he resumed starting duties his junior year finishing third on the team with 65 tackles and making a very difficult transition from defensive end to linebacker as the team switched to a 3-4.
Click through for the interview with Kyle Wilber
BSD: You recently talked with Dan Collins about the move to the 3-4 that the defense made last year. Can you talk a little bit more about that transition?
Wilber: Well first it was just messing with tackles and stuff and then at the Maryland game we switched to the 3-4 and dropping back into coverages. Trying to keep up with my receivers was definitely frustrating at times because I didn’t really know what to do. Now it’s more comfortable and it’s getting really easy.
BSD: Speaking of dropping back into coverage, have you been working with any of the corners or safeties on improving your technique?
Wilber: Yeah Kenny (Okoro) has been helping me a lot telling me a lot of good stuff. The safeties have been working with me on how to improve my zone coverages while Kenny’s been teaching me how to jam at the line and stuff like that. It’s like completely learning a new position, but it’s coming along well.
BSD: Since it is your fifth year here in the program everyone on the defense looks up to you, are you enjoying and embracing that role?
Wilber: I am sort of embracing that role but it’s definitely good that I have other seniors on the defense like Tristan Dorty and Cyhl Quarles, they’re helping a lot. I just have to stick with my linebackers and keep them motivated. Dorty has the defensive linemen and Quarles has the safeties and the corners and we go from there.
BSD: It seems like players at practice this year have been more fired up than in the past, talking a lot more and getting into it. How is it different from last year?
Wilber: Yeah last year we were really down. Games like Stanford, FSU, and Maryland it hurts us a lot on defense because it makes us look like we’re terrible and we did play terrible last year. This year though we’re trying to pick it up and work on improving as a whole.
BSD: It looks like there are a lot more blitzes out there this year out of the 3-4 where guys are coming from all over the place and you guys look pretty good. Can you talk about how the 3-4 differs at the point of attack on the line?
Wilber: Yeah, coach wants to make it look like a four man front so we’re just not going to let the offense know who is blitzing. It can come from the right side, it can come from the left side, we could send anybody into the backfield at any time.
BSD: Individually you had a really good year last year moving to linebacker, did you ever think about going pro?
Wilber: Nah, I was always going to come back for my senior year. Receiving my education is the most important thing because the NFL isn’t going to last forever so you have to have that.
BSD: It looked like you were a little banged up in practice is that anything serious?
Wilber: I’ve got a little bit of a hamstring problem and my coach has been keeping me out. I keep asking him to put me in but he keeps telling me to just take it easy.
BSD: Overall how do you think practice has gone this year?
Wilber: I think it’s been really good on the defensive side. We’re trying to get the offense to pick up the intensity so defense can look a lot better. It’s been good.
BSD: Any big games you’re looking forward to this year with the great home slate?
Wilber: I really want to play well in all of them, but I always like playing Florida State. I’m from Florida, it’s my home state, and all the Florida players always want to play well against them because they always look past us.
BSD: What kind of goals are you looking for in your senior season?
Wilber: I’m just taking it one game at a time. I do want the defense to be one of the best defenses in Wake Forest history. We want people to stop talking about Aaron Curry and Chip Vaughn and start talking about Kyle Wilber, Cyhl Quarles, and Tristan Dorty.
BSD: Alright, well good luck out there this year we’ll all be cheering for you and thank you for your time.
Wilber: Not a problem