Over the course of training camp, we’ll periodically check in with various UMass players as they prepare for the season opener against Boston College. First up is Trey Dudley-Giles, who enters his junior season as an important piece on both defense and special teams.
Dudley-Giles appeared in 22 games over his first two seasons (16 starts) predominantly playing alongside Randall Jette as the Minutemen’s starting cornerback duo. He also found success as a punt returner last year, averaging 12.3 yards per return and earning Athlon Second Team recognition as both a kick and punt returner.
UMass is implementing a brand new 3-4 defensive scheme this year under new defensive coordinator Tom Masella. It’s a scheme many of the players are excited about because of its more aggressive and attacking style as opposed to last year’s defense. We quickly caught up with Dudley-Giles after practice yesterday.
On returning to the field with the first-team defense: “It’s a starting point, it felt good. We were talking all summer like ‘we’re ready to get out here for the first day of practice’ so it’s a starting point. It felt great to be back out here starting my third year.
Early style of defensive play: “We’re just working on attacking and going 100 percent every play and running to the ball. We’re trying to make sure there’s eight people on the scene when the ball is caught.”
On the differences from last year’s defense: “(It’s) a lot different than last year. Last year we had some lulls here and there, I lulled sometimes too. But I feel like the mentality we have on defense is a lot more aggressive now and we want to attack more now instead of sitting back more like we did last year.”
On the secondary anchoring the defense: “We try to make it seem like that. We’re trying to make a bigger step than last year and improve our game as a secondary. Less complete passes and less big plays, that’s what we’re working on here. I expect us to have a great year.”
Getting up to speed on the new playbook and various changes: “We’re all kind of in the same spot. We’ve got some guys playing SAM linebacker in the nickel (now) so we’ve got some guys playing new positions. I’m actually playing a new position. I went from (playing) boundary to upfield, so it’s a lot different. It’s a lot of field that I have to cover so it’s different.”
How long it will take to adjust: “Camp, it’s going to take me camp. I learn pretty fast and I can adjust this camp so tat’s what I’m focusing on, my techniques and my assignments. So I’m just working on guarding from the has over to the sideline.”
Mark Chiarelli can be reached at email@example.com and followed on Twitter @Mark_Chiarelli