We expected our defense to be better this year. It obviously isn’t. At this point, it feels like to me the following 3 pieces impact to varying degrees
lack of talent - its clear we dont have all of the talent we need to compete in the SEC. We have some pieces and more are coming (we have multiple 4 stars in the upcoming class), but the speed and agility needed to complete isnt there across the board
lack of football smarts - reading and reacting to keys incorrectly. Every time we have a really bad outing, it comes down to reading and reacting improperly which is exploited by every opposing coach.
Poor coaching - It seems to me that Smith has a defensive philosophy that he is going to run come hell or high water, regardless of the players he has for it. 2014, he had players and it was good. 2015 & 2016 he didn’t have the players and the defense is sub par. a good coach adapts to personnel.
Recruiting will fix the first two. Unlike many others, I feel as if recruiting is improving and I like where we are going. I really believe Coach B will make us competitive.
The third one is only resolved the Coach B. I think he is going to have a tough decision at the end of the season.
Our defense is why we are mired in the lower half of the SEC West. Plain and simple.
Yes, our OL has been inconsistent. Yes, Austin Allen has been inconsistent. But the defense has been weak for quite some time now. We are weak against the run and we are weak against HUNH offenses. That is a bad combination since there isn’t much left to be strong against.
I really don’t know if it is coaching, lack of speed, lack of talent, or all of the above but there has to be some kind of shakeup. Right? Someone has to be held accountable, right? I don’t like calling for firings but I would be surprised if Rob Smith returns next year. If we pony up $1 million surely we can find an elite DC.
Honestly this has been the biggest disappointment of the CBB era so far. I have no problem with our offense since he has been here. We strive for balance and achieve it more often than not but I assumed CBB would put a huge emphasis on defense, considering his background. Very disappointing.
There obviously have been coaching mistakes on offense and defense this year. But the problems on defense do not come necessarily from coaching deficiencies. If you don’t have players in the SEC, especially on DEFENSE, that possess speed and talent there is only so much a position coach or DC can do.
Recruiting problems rest with the inability of the head coach to close on talent that can compete in the SEC. With one or two exceptions, we’ve never had the combination of speed and talent in the back seven during CBB tenure. We’ve had numbers in the DL, but real difference makers have been few and far between.
Now, that said, I expect Bielema to fire Smith and maybe another assistant to tamp down the heat.