April 18, 2010

Nielsen embraces increased role

After learning the ropes from A.J. Edds the past couple of years, Tyler Nielsen is now getting his opportunity at outside linebacker and has hit the ground running. Nielsen, whose play has impressed the coaches this spring, talked about his increased role on Saturday, what it is like playing on the same defense as his brother, Nick Nielsen, who is getting reps at safety, and more.

Q: Can you talk about how this spring is a little different for you, taking on a bigger role in the defense?

NIELSEN: Yeah, it is different this year. Pat and A.J. are gone. I'm just trying to work on the fundamentals, get better, and get ready for camp next fall.

Q: How do you think it has gone?

NIELSEN: I think it went pretty well. We had a good launch pad last December and January with bowl preparation. It seemed like a short winter break, but spring ball went well.

Q: You mentioned replacing Pat and A.J. Who have you seen step up as leaders this spring?

NIELSEN: There are a lot of guys stepping up. The defensive line is great. They all played last year and they're a good, athletic group. As a linebacker, it's great to play behind guys like that because they play tough and make plays up there for you.

Q: How about having your brother Nick back there behind you playing safety?

NIELSEN: Yeah, it's crazy having him back there. We played in high school together and it's neat having him back there now too.

Q: It seems like he has had a good spring too.

NIELSEN: Yeah, he's had a great spring. He's been back and forth between free safety and strong safety and he's trying to learn the ropes of both positions. I think he's doing a good job.

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