Transcript: IU Football Defensive Line Coach Kevin Peoples and Grad Transfer Jovan Swann

New Indiana defensive line coach Kevin Peoples did a press conference with the media on Wednesday along with graduate transfer defensive end Jovan Swann.

Peoples arrives in Bloomington this season from Tulane, while Swann, an Indiana native, joins the program from Stanford.

The full transcript of their Q&A session follows.

Defensive Line Coach Kevin Peoples

Q: On what he’s going to be focusing on the most in working with the guys to get back into things…
PEOPLES: The first things we’ve got to do is make sure that everyone comes back as fast and healthy as we possibly can. The biggest thing is that we have to get these guys back into some type of football shape, so running and whatever model we come back with. We need to make sure they return safely, health-wise. We’ve got to get back to doing some skill work on their own. We’ve got to get back in the weight room. A lot of these guys have been on their own maybe doing body weight lifting and all that stuff. So just getting them back in the ordinary grind of where you’d be in a normal college football season. I think we’ve done a good job of adapting to the circumstances at hand, but the biggest thing is getting these guys back in shape and back in the weight room, then get back working on the skill set.

Q: On his feelings about the talent on the defensive line…
PEOPLES: Very excited about a lot of the guys we have coming back. We’ve got good depth at all of the positions. I think Jerome Johnson is a talented player that can stop the run and provide pass rush for you. Demarcus Elliott, Sio Nofoagatoto’a both at the nose position. They both have meaningful snaps. C.J. Person is a guy that we’re excited about that played a few games last season and should be back healthy. And then at the ends position, James Head Jr., Michael Ziemba, both guys that have had good success in this conference. Then Alfred Bryant, we’re looking for him to be able to step up and provide some pass rush and do some things that showcase his ability. We’re pleased where we’re at, and really looking forward to getting back to it.

Q: On Damarjhe Lewis…
PEOPLES: I’m glad you mentioned Damarjhe because he was a guy that was an early enrollee and was just trying to learn the ropes of what was going on. First of all, an outstanding person, outstanding character, but he is a dynamic player. He’s got some explosivity, he’s got some twitch and he’s going to be a guy that we think can get in the mix next year. Those four practices were huge for him. We wish we would have had 15, but who doesn’t? We think he has the ability to really be a dynamic football player. Strong explosive guy, and we’re extremely looking forward to him.

Q: On the depth of the defensive line…
PEOPLES: We’re comfortable with our depth. Absolutely. We do like to play a lot of guys. Some recruits and even current players asked me about that the other day. I think the earlier in the season you are, the hotter the temperatures, obviously, you need to substitute more frequently. Then later in the season when it’s a little bit cooler, defensive linemen can play a little more snaps. But obviously if you’ve got eight guys that can play over four positions or 12 guys that can play over four positions then that gives you an opportunity.

Q: On Jovan Swann…
PEOPLES: First of all, production. You’re talking about somebody that has almost a dozen sacks in his career in a different scheme that might be a bit harder to get sacks out of. He’s going to provide a lot of play-making ability. If you just meet and talk with Jovan, he is professional the way he handles himself. We’ve had meetings and he’s taken notes. He goes about his business the way that we do at Indiana. He brings a veteran guy that obviously has had success at this level. And then the way he handles himself and what he can bring to the table. both in showing the younger guys the way in which to study the game, the way in which to handle himself in meetings and the production that will come with it. I’m very excited about what he can bring for us and I think that he is going to have great success coming back to the state of Indiana.

DL Jovan Swann

Q: On your contact with the coaches and getting plans in place…
SWANN: We’ve been using, of course, Zoom, FaceTime and everything to stay in touch. I, like the other guys haven’t met Coach Wellman in person. We’ve had a couple phone conversations. He’s organized a training plan for us. Luckily, I have access. I have a little home gym in the garage. I sent him a list of the items I have. He made a specific workout for the things I’m able to do. It’s been great in that way. He’s been detailing. Stay in shape. Run like Coach Peoples eluded to. We’re going to have to get in good football shape and if we stay on top of that now, that’s going to be the best for us in the end. I believe in my strength and I can always develop into a fifth-year guy. I know what weaknesses I need to work on. I just communicated that to those guys. They emphasized work on what you know you need to work on and they’re kind of trusting in me to go through my process and trust in my process.

Q: On your leadership abilities…
SWANN: Everybody says that this game means a lot to them. I just try to emulate the great players before me from my high school, the colleges that I visited, things like that. Just taking bits and pieces. Really great players and great men. It’s easy to do. Everybody wants to be a winner, so just do what winners do is what I try to do every day. It’s one thing to say this game means a lot to you, but to live it out each and every day tirelessly and be obsessed with it is what I try to do. I know some guys who might look at me and say this guy is a little uptight, he’s a little too serious, but that’s alright by me because I’m going to try to do what I can until my body can’t do it anymore. That’s what I try to do. I guess that turns out into being a great leader, and I hope guys follow me and I hope I’m doing the right thing at the end of the day, which I try and do each and every day.

Q: On differences between defensive lines at IU and Stanford…
SWANN: I think Stanford had a great defense. At the end of the day I wanted to get into a scheme that fit my playing style better. Just more of an attack-react style than a react-attack. I know Coach Peoples definitely coaches it. We met and have been talking for the last couple of months since he got hired on. I’m excited to get to work with him. He’s got some great philosophy on behind what he’s doing up front. He’s got a lot of guys that are in the NFL and I watch their tape. He mentioned them to me. Just to see what he’s been able to develop them into is what I’m all about. I’m excited to get up front and play more of that attack-style defense, similar to what I did in high school. I know that was a long time ago and I still got it in me. I’m excited to tap into that and get after it.

Q: On being able to finish his career at IU being from Indiana…
SWANN: It means more than you know. I ultimately had Indiana in my final three before going to the West Coast. That wasn’t just for show. That’s because I truly valued the state of Indiana and the support that I have here. To wrap it up here means more than you know. I’m excited to be able to have my family around for games. It was $500 round trip to get to California and that wasn’t fun. I had to get my degree and they knew that it was a business trip in that way. Just to be able to come back home and be able to get that support in person, it means the world to me. I’m just excited to give my all to everybody in Indiana.

Q: On strengths on the defensive line that this team has not had before…
SWANN: I haven’t been able to watch a lot of tape. I know what I bring to the table. It’s quickness and some agility. I know leverage up front coming from a guy that’s 6-1, 6-2, I know that I’ll be able to do a lot of different things and play all four positions and do whatever is asked of me. I’m just going to try to be a versatile guy and make the most chaos that I can in the backfield as is asked of me. What I can bring to the room is, I’m just going to try having guys understand that everyday matters. Every rep matters. Not to take a moment off. Not every rep is promised. Not every play is promised. If I can get that through to the guys, it’s going to be a great season. I know that they already play hard. I wouldn’t have committed to a school that I didn’t think was a group of guys that play with a tenacious mentality or full of energy or always ballhawks. You talk with Coach Wommack and we have that philosophy of Swarm D and that was really what influenced my decision-making process to play with a group of guys that really care. All 11 to the ball. I’m excited to get to that meeting room hopefully when they release us and get working with the dogs.


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