Defense Questions

First, awesome win. We did what we needed to do against a team of that caliber. It wasn’t that many years ago when we would struggle in these games.

My questions comes to Robb Smith and his defensive schemes. Is he the right answer to our defensive woes? I am not advocating his firing, however our defense has been consistently poor against running quarterbacks. Is he the man to fix our defense? Was Paul Rhoads brought in with the thought of replacing him at some point?

Am, I just over reacting?

I don’t think he is the answer. I believe we play base entirely too much. He doesn’t mix it up at all and today’s offensive coordinators are too good to just run base defenses.

It looks to me that our base defense has an inherent weakness on the QB option. If the opposing team blocks the play right, there is always a crease for the QB to run. :frowning:

Well, looking at this Clemson game I see the difference and the difference is SPEED and ATHLETISM. We have neither on defense. We gotta go get some guys who can run and who are athletes on defense.

This. Our secondary is so slow. Besides the 3 starting corners we have no one that is at the least an average SEC player

Yup. Aside from Greenlaw, there isn’t any real above-average speed for their position in the back 7.

When the offense comes out in their empty sets, and have the design QB run it seems that we put our LB’s and split the the DE, which leaves the middle of the field wide open every time. I just don’t understand that concept, in order to do that you have to know that your two DT can hold their own and that has not been happening in the empty sets…

Don’t know what it is, but whatever it is, it is unacceptable from scheme to slow players. Got to get much better in early Feb. and with performance in the fall.

Everyone has made good points on this one. We are slow and out of position on D. The athletes I’ve seen on the teams we have yet to play are noticeably faster and more athletic. I fear a rough stretch ahead. We will have to play smart and get some breaks to be successful from here on out. I do think the offense will keep us in games and give us a chance. Woo Pig…

We are going to be ok in the secondary and could sign a serious stud with the remaining slots for this class.
-We lost some good talent in the back 4 when Richardson and Tutt were lost for the season.
-We lose Collins and Dean to graduation, but get extra years out of Richardson and Tutt.
-We have 2 FR studs in Deon Edwards and Micahh Smith that will be an improvement to add to Tutt.
-We have these JR’s that can carry us this year and next- Coley, Liddell, and Toliver.
-We have not seen much out of Nate Dalton or Byron Keaton in their RS FR years, but we are just now seeing Pulley, Ramirez perform at a proper level in their So year.

Devin Buckner\tDB\tFr\t5/10\t190\tPine Bluff, Ark.
Deon Edwards\tDB\tFr\t6/1\t205\tClermont, Fla.
Micahh Smith\tDB\tFr\t6/1\t195\tMarshall, Texas
De’Andre Coley\tDB\tJr\t6/1\t214\tMiami, Fla.
Matt Dodson\tDB\tJr\t5/10\t208\tMcKinney, Texas
Josh Liddell\tDB\tJr\t6/1\t210\tPine Bluff, Ark.
Kevin Richardson II\tDB\tJr\t6/1\t178\tJacksonville, Ark.
Henre’ Toliver\tDB\tJr\t6/1\t185\tMarrero, La.
Nate Dalton\tDB\tR-Fr\t6/3\t190\tBaton Rouge, La.
Byron Keaton\tDB\tR-Fr\t5/10\t183\tCamden, Ark.
Dylan Calhoun\tDB\tSo\t5/10\t185\tWaxahachie, Texas
Cory Hollowell\tDB\tSo\t6/2\t202\tCorona, Calif.
Ryder Lucas\tDB\tSo\t6/1\t190\tThe Woodlands, Texas
Reid Miller\tDB\tSo\t5/9\t197\tHollidaysburg, Pa.
Ryan Pulley\tDB\tSo\t5/11\t198\tFort Myers, Fla.
Santos Ramirez\tDB\tSo\t6/2\t205\tShreveport, La.
Britto Tutt\tDB\tSo\t6/2\t177\tAugusta, Ga.
Jared Collins\tDB\tSr\t5/11\t173\tTulsa, Okla.
DJ Dean\tDB\tSr\t5/11\t199\tNewton, Texas

I think LB fatigue is a bigger problem than we know. Ellis is pretty solid in the 1st and 3rd quarters against HUNH teams. Harris and Eugene need to play a lot more and we may see that the 2nd level of our defense improve. The safeties are another issue but angles are fixable.

Scoota Harris and Eugene could be productive in giving Ellis and Greenlaw some breaks and building for next year. Sadly, the lack of stud LB signees for a few years is showing it’s ugly head.

-We lose 2 SR’s after this year - Brooks Ellis and Josh Williams
-Dwayne Eugene has been the most productive of our 3 JRs (Hackett, Reynolds), so we can count on him to back up Greenlaw.
-Soph Josh Harris from PB is a good player that I really like but he just doesn’t have all the tools.
-We have one RS FR Phillips, and 6 true FR. Of those Scoota Harris, Walker, Jean Baptiste, and LaFrance look like a solid core for the future.

Ben Brasuell\tLB\tFr\t6/1\t218\tBenton, Ark.
De’Jon Harris\tLB\tFr\t6/1\t255\tHarvey, La.
Alexy Jean-Baptiste\tLB\tFr\t6/2\t231\tPompano Beach, Fla.
Giovanni LaFrance\tLB\tFr\t6/1\t255\tNew Orleans, La.
Grant Morgan\tLB\tFr\t5/11\t220\tGreenwood, Ark.
Dee Walker\tLB\tFr\t6/2\t208\tMoultrie, Ga.
Dwayne Eugene\tLB\tJr\t6/1\t235\tMarrero, La.
Khalia Hackett\tLB\tJr\t6/2\t223\tDouglasville, Ga.
Matt Reynolds\tLB\tJr\t6/1\t211\tMcKinney, Texas
Tyler Phillips\tLB\tR-Fr\t6/1\t232\tNorth Little Rock, Ark.
Dre Greenlaw\tLB\tSo\t6/1\t226\tFayetteville, Ark.
Josh Harris\tLB\tSo\t5/10\t239\tPine Bluff, Ark.
Brooks Ellis\tLB\tSr\t6/2\t245\tFayetteville, Ark.
Josh Williams\tLB\tSr\t6/1\t249\tFt. Lauderdale, Fla.

The defense still lacks speed. I’m not sure any of them are cat quick, either. I know Jimmy thinks Greenlaw has speed, but I don’t think he’s 4.5. His lack of speed is probably the reason he was moved from safety to weakside linebacker. He’s got decent speed, but not truly a flyer. Toliver has good speed, too. They have at least gotten longer and bigger at safety, but still there isn’t great speed there, either.

Coach thinks we have SEC quality corners. I think his opinion is a lot more knowledgeable than posters on this board.

Yeah, speed was definitely the reason he’s at linebacker instead of safety. What I meant is that he has above average speed for a LB.

I know the staff likes Giovanni LaFrance. Will be interesting to see how he looks in the spring and where they use him. They’ve mentioned they like the physicality Dee Walker plays with.

Scoota seems like a natural to slide right into Brooks’ role. He actually likes playing Will better, but the coaches have him at Mike to learn behind Brooks because they think he and Dre will be a good tandem. They need to build depth at LB, no question.

As far as speed in the secondary, the lack of makeup/playmaking speed at safety is what jumps out at me the most. They haven’t had that for several years.

It looked like Scoota was playing both Will and Mike. I thought I saw him play some Will this game with Brooks still playing. Did I see that correctly?

Yes, they mentioned it today. Wouldn’t be surprised if that means he is potentially the third guy in a 3-man rotation moving forward.

I’m beginning to question the entire concept of the “Under” defense. I’m beginning to think that maybe - and I’ve resisted the notion for years - that the 3/4 might be the way to go. The 4 defensive studs up front are getting harder and harder to find these days. They’ve got to be at least 6/4 280-90 and run like deer, plus be maniacs. It’s easier to recruit 3 down linemen and there are a lot of 6/2 250 guys out there that just aren’t big enough anymore to be down, but make great LBs. How about this for our front: Ellis and DeJon in the middle sugaring the A gap on either side. Ramsey and Big-Play Dre as true OLBs bringing the heat from outside. Agim/Ledbetter and Wise as Alabama sized DE with Bijon and Capps on the straight up nose. This is the defense that Alabama and MSU have used to excellent effect against us. Like, forever. I really like the concept of the double MLBs. I think the 3/4 matches our talent better and is a systemic solution to the inside OB run game which is killing us… It’d take at least a year or two to change. And maybe a new DC.

It’s not a given that Brooks is always at mike when he’s on the field. I see him change sides with Dre a lot. So if you put Scoota out there, it might be that Brooks was playing will in that look. I know they like to switch those players to make it difficult to recognize strong side for the quarterback’s keys.