Defense when you are slower and less athletic

Coach types and smart people…

How do you defend when your players are slower and less athletic than your opponent? I know it can be done successfully. Just look at Cabot on the high school level and Vanderbilt and some other schools at the college level. What do they do differently than Arkansas?

Vanderbilt has a stud linebacker, Zach Cunningham, in its defense who may be an all-American and could be a first-round draft pick. And Derek Mason is thought to be one of the best defensive-minded coaches out there. That helps.

  1. Be prepared for fake punts.
  2. Avoid offsides penalties on 4th down plays.

True Matt, but traditionally Vandy is usually known as a good defensive team.

Injuries are part of football, so the fact that we had some doesn’t really excuse our poor defensive performance. I’m sure other teams had injuries, too. However, I think the loss of Dre’ Greenlaw really hurt us in the second half of the season. Hate to think one player could’ve made a difference, but in a game as close as the MU game, I’d bet he could have been the difference. Would’ve helped against LSU. Losing Tutt before the first game hurt, too.

I don’t think you can in the SEC; believe we proved that this year time after time.

Overall, I agree with your post. However, Dre wouldn’t have made a difference in the 2nd half of the MU game because they problem there was they were beating our DBs on long vertical routes. Over and over.

Yes they were & you may be right. However, I’d think a more capable LB might have helped with pressure on the QB or allowed the D-backs to play a bit further off to avoid getting beat deep. I’d defer to more sophisticated observers than I to tell me if that’s way off base.

Well, apparently you haven’t seen Vanderbilt play defense because they are faster and more athletic than we are.


:smiley: :smiley: :smiley: :smiley:

thats no joke. if they could throw and catch they would have scored 3 or 4 times on those vertical routes

We will be faster next year! We have only played team defense once this year! In the Florida game the hogs swarmed to the ball and made plays. That is the only game they played defense for 4 quarters. I hate the Rob Smith Bend but don’t break defense! I hate the way the prevent has been played at the end of the first half of games all year! It would be nice to see our defense fight for every inch that an opposing offense gets. Instead we play soft on outside receivers giving up 5 yards anytime they want it on first down and when a ball is thrown deep we never look for the ball we’ve had balls hit our defense in the back we have had numerous Chances to intercept and stop drives to include the Missouri game but that has not happened in 2 years at least. It does not take speed and talent to put the effort out to swarm to the ball, look for the ball, tackle and play angry.

My question is how does Vandy have faster, more athletic defense than us. That means that they did a much better job in recruiting and evaluation. What else can it be? Perhaps I am wrong. Don’t claim to be an expert in this area, but if they have better talent, does that not mean they recruited better?

Our recruiting for defensive players has been way below acceptable the last four years. Last year was a good class except at db. So far this year is terrible except maybe at db. We have been taking a lot of C level recruits on that side of the ball. It will get them fired sooner than later. They better close these next few months.

Our problem is this staff spends way too much time chasing pipe dreams ( the CB from Louisiana last year that was ALWAYS going to LSU, two Texas CB’s that signed with Texas) and does not have adequate back up options when they fall through. We need to be working to find that next level of recruits - being recruited by OK State, TCU, Louisville, etc- and evaluate very well amongst this tier of recruits to have a chance.

You are correct Vandy has a much better defense than Arkansas. In the first game of the season it was quite clear Louisiana Tech had evaluated defensive back recruits better than Arkansas - how does LA Tech have better defensive talent at any position than an SEC school?


How could that be? We have the hardest working group of coaches on the recruiting trail than has ever been at Arkansas in nearly the last four decades.

Is it inability to gauge talent? Is it inability to close on recruits? Or something else altogether.

Whatever it is, it has not produced enough SEC quality players to be consistently successful winning games.

We may have well hard working recruiters, but we need some good evaluators


I’m guessing you use them because of continued success throughout their history.

The biggest similarity there to me would be a ball-control offense that limits the amount of time that the Panthers’ D is on the field.

Jim–the simplest and best answer for your inquiry comparing Fayetteville to Nashville is their airport. They get better recruits because they have unlimited flights into Nashville on key recruiting days. We don’t. That’s a major disadvantage for us and probably a chief reason Vandy has better faster players.