Ruff and Sullivan Interview
WWL Report 8/5 Ruff & Sullivan sitting in
Welcome to Sports Talk with Buddy Diliberto.
Buddy: The Saints practice at Mandeville High was cancelled for tonight due to excessive rain over the past several days, which is a blessing for the team that will once more make use of its indoor facility at 7:30 p.m. We'll speak with new Saints MLB Orlando Ruff in a moment. Now, for a report on the morning practice, here's Kenny Wilkerson.
Kenny: And Ruff will get more action as this morning Darrin Smith strained his groin, and will be out indefinitely. Orlando will get a chance to really step it up and take the vast majority of the reps. Also, Dale Carter is out again, Haslett is slightly concerned, not that Dale can't perform, he just wants him out there. Also, Cie Grant did not work as well as guys like Boo Williams and Sanderson, but again the main guys who didn't work were Darrin Smith, Dale Carter, and Cie Grant.
Buddy: Orlando, thanks for joining us on Sports Talk, you figure to be a key acquisition for the club as MLB has been an area of concern. How do you consider that?
Orlando: As an athlete you like to get into competitive situations and as you say to fill the role and I feel that I am capable of filling it and definitely am up for the challenge.
Buddy: The Sporting News, ran an article recently on the lost art of tackling in the NFL. What do you think of tackling these days?
Orlando: Tackling is a skill you hone on a regular basis, it is a conscious effort each and every time to wrap him up, defenders tend to want to go for a kill shot, but you have to remember to come to balance, force him into a direction and then wrap him up, every shot isn't a kill shot and a lot of people get caught up into that.
Buddy: With the limited tckling that goes on in NFL practices, do you feel you can learn to tackle?
Orlando: Tackling to me is a want to, can you do that with limited reps you get in practice, to answer your question I do think you can if you make a conscious effort to face the player up and get him to the ground and then you live to see another down. It is a want to.
Buddy: They showed that on offense once you break a tackle you generally pick up 7-9 additional yards and 13-15 for a special teams missed tackle... the Saints were one of 5 teams to allow more than 1,400 yards after contact last year.. conversely the Super Bowl champion Bucs only allowed 908 yards after first contact.
Orlando: It's interesting you mention that, though statistics can be manipulated to say anything, for this defense we have some new players and the coaches have switched things around to give us more vision on the ballcarrier as opposed to playing with our backs to the line of scrimmage, now we as players have to go out and execute
<< Commercial Break at 5:16 p.m. >>
Buddy: We have a little over two hours to go for the second practice, we're visiting with Orlando Ruff right now. Orlando, you're entering your 5th year in league, and really the first year as an every down player, but you've been behind Junior Seau and no one can really argue with that.
Orlando: Yeah, well, you know I am definitely excited about the opportunity, but I am also very grateful for my chance in San Diego and to learn from Junior, this is a big year and I am looking forward to it
Buddy: Did he help the younger guys out with his knowledge or anything like that?
Orlando: Definitely, the guy is the greatest, you'd think a guy of his caliber wouldn't take time out for the little people like me as I call them, but he was so humble and helpful in teaching and providing positive examples.
Buddy: What was the most important thing you took from your time around Junior?
Orlando: Most importantly the discipline aspect, if you decide on something go for it, there is no substitute for hard work, you can have all the talent in the world, but if you don't work hard, then you'll go nowhere. Hard work is the great equalizer.
Buddy: What's the most amazing thing you've seen Junior do?l
Orlando: Oh man, one thing? I've seen him do some amazing things, you can start from A and go to Z, the guy is just amazing.
Buddy: The key to the new defense is speed, how do you fit in?
Orlando: Very well, I think my hustle is a big attribute, I may not be the fastest guy in terms of a 40 time, but put a ball on the field and I'll go get it.
Buddy: You have the instincts then you say.
Orlando: I have the proper instincts and the want to.
Buddy: Thanks for joining us, Orlando, good luck to you.
Orlando: Thank you very much.
(He was incredibly well-spoken, and a joy to listen to compared to a lot of players.)
<< Commercial Break >>
Kenny: Orlando Ruff has the chance to be this year's Joe Horn, in terms of when he came in during 2000 and really took off, but Darrin Smith has lost some weight and playing good, he won't give up the job.. Same as Fred Thomas and Ashley Ambrose..we know Fred Thomas can play, but so can Ashley Ambrose, but Fred doesn't want to give up that job.
Kenny: Now, here's a sound bite of Rick Venturi discussing the tackling..
Venturi: Maybe that is the case, but we're making a big emphasis to work on drills to lead up to it, but good tackling teams pursue well and are close to one another, one of the things we're emphasizing is vision and get close to the ball, we're spending a lot of time on it, defensively you don't have a lot of live tackling, so we make use of scrimmages like Saturday's and the preseason games for that.
Kenny: Also, Rick just in conversation mentioned to me that Tampa is so good at tackling, one of the reasons is the massive amount of zone they play, if one guy misses it there is usually another guy nearby.. The Saints played a lot of man last year and will be going to a lot more zone this year. Here's more of the soundbite:
Kenny: Do you feel guys hit them instead of maul them more?
Venturi: Everyone tells me that, I'm not sure, I think the game hasn't changed much, but I think you did scrimmage more in the older days, but you had more guys so in effect you weren't tackling that much more, I think it comes down to technique and desire.
Buddy: Haslett told me he watched a game last year, but turned it off in the middle of it the tackling was so bad, we're now joined by Jonathan Sullivan, do you feel you've caught up with the team?
Sullivan: I think I have caught up fairly well.
Buddy: What has been the most difficult thing?
Sullivan: Just coming in and catching up and learning the new position from the one I played in minicamp.
Buddy: How are you as a tackle with those other big guys?
Sullivan: I think I fit right in
Buddy: Did you do anything special with the bonus? 11.4 million I believe it was.
Sullivan: Not yet, the check I got I put in the bank.
Buddy: The bank, huh?
Sullivan: Yes sir.
Buddy: You're buying Charlie Clemmons' house, right?
Sullivan: I already bought it, and I've been there one time.
Buddy: Is it what you thought it was?
Sullivan: Yes sir.
Kenny: You got his house, his car, but hadn't seen them yet, do you stay pretty much at the hotel?
Sullivan: I went over there one time this weekend on the day off, but I'm strictly working out the hotel.
Kenny: Sam Clancy still spending extra time with you or are you on level with the others?
Sullivan: I'm about at the level everyone else is at, but he still gives me extra help.
Kenny: It must be great to work with Clancy who played the position and have guys like Howard, Grant and Grady around.
Sullivan: I just listen to them everyday, get something new, different techniques, how to judge the offensive line.
Kenny: Montrae said he's picked it up in a short time, who has given you the best move so far?
Sullivan: Coach Sam really.
Kenny: Thank you, Jonathan.
Sullivan: Thank you.
<< Commercial Break >>
Kenny with Jim Haslett..
Kenny: You were quoted in the Sporting News as saying tackling is the worst it has ever been in the league and the tackling ***** in the league right now. Why is that?
Haslett: Injuries, salary caps, no live tackling anymore, we will have one tonight, but you don't have a lot of them because of the injury factor with the salary cap, you get one or two key injuryies and it screws your team because of the cap. If you have a good tackling football team your defense and special teams will be good, and as the season wears on it worsens, the tackling gets poor when guys get beat up.
Kenny: So you mostly get to practice tackling in games?
Haslett: Well, we did it Saturday night, but that was the first time all year. We'll do it every so often, but you mostly are tackling dummies and sleds and things that don't move.
Kenny: There you have it, also I heard what Orlando said about painting stats how you want them, but 1400 yards versus 900 for Tampa, that isn't painting stats, that's telling the story.
<< End First Hour >>
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