PITTSBURGH (93-7 The FAN) – Ray Vinopal sparked the defense in Pitt’s big win last season over No. 24 Notre Dame, recording seven tackles, two interceptions and a forced fumble. Last season the defensive corps was led by K’Waun Williams and Jason Hendricks but this season Vinopal is the sole senior and after three days of spring drills, he says he is eager to take on his new role.

“I’m not very outspoken all of the time but I lead by example, and I think the guys really follow me and they always come to me with questions,” Vinopal said.

A major focus during spring drills among the defensive backs is technique especially with man coverage and preparing for assignments mentally. Vinopal  said he spends extra time studying the X’s and O’s after practice and he feels comfortable with the game plan and enjoys sharing his knowledge with his younger teammates.

“It’s just a good group and if I have something to say they listen to me and it’s good to work with people like that so it’s been fun,” Vinopal said.

Putting on the pads for the first time at spring drills added even more fun to the typical routine for the Panthers on Thursday.

“It’s fun coming out here and competing and you have to come out and do the drills and the footwork but when you get the guys going against the guys and playing 11 on 11 it’s fun,” Vinopal said.

For more from Vinopal listen to the entire interview here: