Part two: A few minutes with Texas A&M's Tim DeRuyter

Tim DeRuyter took the job as Mike Sherman's defensive coordinator in January, replacing Joe Kines, who retired after two seasons at Texas A&M. DeRuyter left a job as defensive coordinator at Air Force, his alma mater, to take on the task of shaping up the Big 12's worst defense in 2009.

Here's part two of what he had to say. If you missed part one earlier today, go check it out.

David Ubben: Who’s impressed you early on?

Tim DeRuyter: One of our defensive lineman who was a freshman and is doing a great job so far is a young man named Spencer Nealy, who played some as a freshman last year. He’s a guy that’s got a great motor and really does a good job of leading and doesn’t care who’s watching; he’s going to go hard. He’s a fun guy to have, and that’s the kind of guy I’m used to coaching, being from the Air Force Academy.

DU: Has anybody really exceeded your expectations, based on what you knew about them coming in?

TD: Von Miller is a guy who obviously I knew a bunch of before I got here, but watching how athletic he is and watching more tape on him, he’s going to be a fun guy to coach. He’s got tremendous upside, tremendous athletic ability and he’s very anxious to learn and I think he’s going to be a heck of a player for us.

DU: What’s going to be difficult about the transition from A&M’s defensive scheme last year to your 3-4?

TD: They did some of that stuff last year, they ran little bit of a 3-3 package, so the transition that way helps a little bit. Our fits are going to be a little bit different, but the fact that they ran some four-man and some three-man fronts helps in the big picture. Our terminology is going to be different, so they’ve got to learn a new language. But the fact that they played some quarters last year is also going to help us. Those things, when you talk about the transition, we’re not starting from ground zero. It’s a chance to kind of build on what they did before, and it doesn’t have to be a wholesale change.

DU: Back to Von for a bit. What were your early impressions of him once you saw him up close?

TD: My initial impression watching him on tape was I was very impressed. Then through the first few mornings of our workouts, he’s a guy that can really stand out in a crowd. He’s a 6-4, 240-pound man that moves around like he’s 5-10 and 180. And having that explosion and burst really gives you a chance to say, ‘How can we get this guy isolated?’ Just seeing that athleticism just whets your appetite for that, thinking about the possibility.

DU: So how does he fit into your system?

TD: We’re going to use him in a couple of different ways. He’s going to play what we call a Joker position, which is an outside linebacker who does a couple different things. He’s going to be a guy who’s in the rush at times, and then drop [into coverage] at times. We’re going to put a lot on his plate and see if he can handle it, which I’m sure he’ll be able to. He’s a very sharp young man, and again, I think, hopefully he’ll give us a chance to play multiple fronts with some of the personnel that could give people problems.

DU: He put up a ridiculous 17 sacks last year, but what are you expecting from him this year? What is he capable of?

TD: I think he’s capable of a lot. We’re going to count on him, especially as a senior, to be a leader for us, and he’s got to be a guy, especially in this package, when you’re running a 3-4 and you’ve got edge guys like him, that’s what makes the thing work. So we’re expecting a lot of him and he and I have already talked about that. But I fully anticipate him being a guy who can make a difference for us and bring our Wrecking Crew back.

DU: Lastly, what’s something people don’t know about Tim DeRuyter?

TD: I’m pretty open with everything, I don’t have many secrets. I’m a Popeye, I-am-what-I-am type of guy. But I guess something a lot of people don’t know is I’m one of eight children and I’ve got about 80 first cousins on my dad’s side of the family. So that’s one thing.