he Duke football team continued spring practice on Monday, and following the workout GoDuke.com caught up with rising junior linebacker Michael Tauiliili. A native of Houston, Texas, Tauiliili led the Blue Devils in tackles last season with 94.
GoDuke.com: What adjustments have you made this spring?
Tauiliili: "I think I’ve grown into being more of a leader and trying to rally up the defense. As far as the whole team, I’m trying to work on being someone they can count on both on and off the field at all times. I’m trying to work on my speed as a personal goal, and being able to go sideline to sideline and make those plays that I couldn’t make my freshman year."GoDuke.com: How has the defense progressed?
GoDuke.com: How has the defense progressed?
Tauiliili: "I think we’re doing really well. We lost a lot of experience and a lot of guys have had to step up. We’re just trying to take it one day at a time and meet with the coaches as much as we can and try to take it step by step. We’re making vast improvements."
GoDuke.com: How have you developed as a leader?
Tauiliili: "When I played as a freshman, a lot of guys were older than me and they took on a leadership role, and now that has fallen upon myself and a couple of other guys. What I try to do is make sure that I’m doing everything right first within myself, and then I try to lead the younger guys by example, making plays on the field and showing them how to do it. If they have questions, I want to have that line of communication in making them comfortable so they know they can come talk to me. Also, we want to give constructive criticism to get their motor going."
GoDuke.com: Who is one young player who has made an early impression?
Tauiliili: "I would have to say Wesley Oglesby has really turned it on. He’s going to be a big player for us. He’s actually opened up a lot of guys’ eyes and coach is throwing him in the lineup now. He’s very physical and he comes down the line real hard. He’s going to continue to grow and learn the defense."
GoDuke.com: What have you noticed about the offense this spring?
Tauiliili: "Our offense is becoming a very cohesive unit. The offensive line is doing everything together on and off the field; they eat lunch together and they travel throughout the camps together and it’s good to see. The receiving core has gotten even better. Thaddeus (Lewis) is really impressing me. He’s stepped up and really taken a hold of that leadership role and has taken charge of the offense."