New UW defense coordinator keeps it simple

Nov 1, 2013 The Associated Press

LARAMIE -- Less is more, right?

Jamar Cain sure hopes so.

The first-year Wyoming defensive line coach has a strategy about how he wants to run the defense in Wyoming's final four regular season games. Cain's plan is just days old, after he was named interim defensive coordinator after Chris Tormey was fired on Monday.

"One thing we are going to do is we're going to play fast," Cain said after Wednesday's practice. "I got a great text message from a buddy last night that said, 'If you simplify it, that equals execution.' So I'm going to simplify stuff and let the kids play fast.

"If you have a lot of stuff in there, the kids are thinking and I'm thinking. Then the play's gone. So we're going to simplify stuff and let the kids play fast. My goal is to have the kids playing as fast as we possibly can. That's what we do up front; we play fast, so we're going to do it with everybody else in the defense. We're going to simplify it so we can play fast."

Some variation of the term "play fast" was used six times in nine sentences. The word "simplify" was used four times.

The less his players have to think, Cain figures, the more they'll fly to the football.

If less confusion results in fewer big plays allowed, then the move to remove Tormey with four games remaining in the 2013 season will have been worth it.

Wyoming coach Dave Christensen makes it perfectly clear what he needs from the defense: fewer points allowed, and significantly fewer than the six pass plays of 30 or more yards that the team surrendered to San Jose State last Saturday.

In other words, he needs the defense to give his offense a chance to win.

"What we're trying to do is continue to get the offense to play at a high level, and get the defense to play better than they have been -- to eliminate big plays and keep points per game down," Christensen said. "That's what we're looking to try to do."

Cain, who has coached eight seasons at a Division I level but has never been a coordinator, is attacking his unit's weaknesses in practice. He has ordered that his defensive backs work on defending deep balls every day. They've put an added emphasis on third down defense as well.

"(Coach Christensen's) biggest thing is that we just can't give up so many points. The big plays have killed us, and he wanted to know how I'm going to attack that," Cain said. "I said (to cornerbacks coach Renaldo Hill), 'Renaldo, you can't give up those deep balls anymore.'

"I want deep ball drills done every single day."

Cain plans to make the defense less complicated, ensure that his players know their assignments and stress sure tackling on every play.

That focus was apparent in Wednesday's practice.

Playing against the scout team offense, the starting defense allowed a long run up the middle, as freshman running back Oscar Nevermann took a handoff and burst through a gaping hole.

Cain did some yelling, then some more yelling. Then he slowed things down.

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