Washington cornerback Desmond Trufant says he and his teammates are tired of answering questions about last season's defense -- but he also understands why they are being asked. Here are some of his thoughts on the new-look defense, where things went wrong last year, and the tough schedule that Washington faces in 2012.
How'd spring ball go for the defense and do you feel like you guys are getting more comfortable?
Desmond Trufant: Spring ball went pretty good. Obviously, there were some mistakes at the beginning because it's a new scheme and there are going to be mistakes and a few guys were in the wrong place. But as we learned the defense, guys were flying around and there were a lot of plays being made.
How about the adjustment to your new coordinator, Justin Wilcox?
DT: He brings toughness. I think he played safety when he played so he emphasizes the secondary in his defense. He's a cool guy to be around and I'm excited to be playing for him.
You've been around a while. Do you feel like you have to step up into a leadership role this year?
DT: I feel like it's something I want to do and it's something I'm obligated to do. Coming in, I had a lot of older guys to look up to. It's my job to do this for a lot of the guys.
How much does the defense's reputation from last year sting?
DT: As a competitor, it's going to stay with you. You never want to be part of something that's looked at as bad. We know that we did some good things even though the statistics don't show it. But we did do some good things. Now we're moving forward. We know what we can do as a defense and we know we can improve.
What were some of those good things you guys did last year that you can point to?
DT: For the defense, I think we made some big turnovers in games. Even though we gave up a lot of yards, I think we held teams to a lot of field goals in the red zone. As far as myself, I forced some turnovers and made some big plays. But we're looking forward to this year because people will see a whole different mentality and a whole different defense and we're excited to show people what we can do.
The first half of the schedule is so brutal. We're going to find out real quick what this defense is made of. Do you feel you're ready?
DT: For a guy like me, I really don't care who we're going to play. I feel like I can compete with anybody I go against so I'm not worried about the who. It's great to go against great competition. As a competitor, you always want to play the best. Those are great teams and we're definitely going to be tested. I think we'll be ready. I know we'll be ready. We just have to go out and prove it.
I don't know how much film you've watched of the Alamo bowl. Is that something you want to forget, or do you go back and watch it as a reminder of just how bad things can get?
DT: A little of both. You never want to hold on to the past. You always want to have a short memory. At the same time, you can't be satisfied with the display we put on. As a defense, we never want to let that happen again. We have to move on. It was one of the worst performances in history in terms of Husky defense. But we can improve and we're going to improve.
Are you tired of answering questions about it?
DT: (Laughs) That's the reality of it. When you play that bad, you're going to get questions. People are going to ask you about it. For a guy like me, it was embarrassing what they did to us. It's fuel to get better and go out and prove people wrong.