Blackwell seeks more impact from LBs
David Blackwell has two games under his belt as USF's linebackers coach and co-defensive coordinator, with the Bulls primarily using three lineabackers: seniors Kion Wilson and Chris Robinson and junior Sabbath Joseph.
The position has been productive -- Wilson and Robinson are second and third on the team with 15 and 12 tackles -- Blackwell said he's looking for more in Saturday's game against Charleston Southern.
"They're all making plays. I'd love to make more impact plays," Blackwell said. "A guy having 9 tackles, 10 tackles, 11 tackles doesn't impress me as much as a guy having tackles for loss, impact-type plays, sacks, caused fumbles. Just by the nature of the position, if you play hard, you should make a lot of plays."
Robinson leads the team with three tackles for loss and Wilson and Joseph have 1.5 each, but the defensive secondary has accounted for all three of USF's takeaways. Robinson had a key stop on a fourth-and-short in the fourth quarter at Western Kentucky, and Blackwell was pleased with his play.
"He did some really good things, but there's an awful lot of things he has to work on, too," Blackwell said. "As coaches, you can always find negatives, and we tend to look at and harp on the negatives more than the positives. I think he's getting better, but there's still a long way to go to be an elite level player."
Newcomers Sam Barrington and Jacquian Williams have played sparingly on defense, with four and five tackles each after two games, but Blackwell said to expect to see more of them, even as the level of competition increases in upcoming weeks.
"I think you'll see Sam Barrington start playing a lot more," Blackwell said. "And you're going to see Jacquian Williams in some situations playing a lot more. Those five guys are the ones who have played the most. Sometimes that's manipulated by nickel packages and things like that, but Sam's really every day getting a little bit better, improving and improving, and I can see him playing a big role on this team in the not-too-distant future."
Williams has played some defensive end in long passing downs, but Blackwell said he remains a linebacker and the team's No. 2 at strongside, behind Joseph. "He's a guy who's very versatile athletically, so we want to be creative in how we use him," he said. "There are situations where we can use him, kind of like how Florida State used to use Ernie Sims."