I think we are better than last year on defense.....................

…and that is not just because we could not get much worse. We have two talented, veteran, linebackers, who may be the best pair in a very long time at Arkansas. So, LB is better. We have Pulley, Calloway, Richardson, Curl, and Santos in the secondary. There is talent and experience there so the secondary is better. We have reports that Ramsey may be a beast at a speed rushing end, that Agim will play well at DE, and we are hearing hints that Bell and some of his friends may be responding to Caldwell and coming on strong. So, we may be better at DE. In the interior, we are 2-3 deep with good if not yet great players (Capps, Guidry, Marshall, etc.) who may can grow into a plugging the middle role with a little push in the pass rush to let us be a little better in the interior of the D-line. They seem to be responding to Chavis’ system, so there is hope for improvement on defense.

My worry is the offense. We have a nationally recognized offensive genius as the head coach who has proven his system at Clemson in a big way and at SMU in a sneaky, strong way. Can he win with the players he has inherited or do we have to suffer through a long season of square pegs trying to fit in round holes and slowly adapting to the new system?

From the get-go, will we be better at QB? Doubtful. Passing accuracy in the spring was very low. Adjusting to the new offense appeared to be a work in progress with a long learning curve ahead.

Will we be better at center? Not even close. We will be lucky to get mediocre play from two walk-ons trying to replace the best offensive lineman in America from last year.

Will we be better at guard? Yes. Froholdte will be All-SEC & Gibson will be OK.

Will we be better at tackle? Like the defense, how could we be worse? There is hope that our tackles are more finesse than physical and they may be better suited for the spread. That may save us, but there is no sign or rumor of suddenly improved tackle play in the spring.

Will we be better at tight end? I think this is the really bright spot and there is a chance that Patton and O-Grady can be a nightmare for SEC defenses. This position could be very good.

Running back? I think our backs may be unleashed with more room to run and not having to run into a stacked box like last year. We may have a very effective running game if we get adequate line blocking. That may be a big if!

Receiver? They will get more out of the receiving position than last year but will they get enough to feed this offense and overcome the shortcomings at QB? The speediest returning receivers (Jones, Warren, Martin) have struggled the most to adapt to the new system. There was very little evidence of ability to get wide open in the spring (maybe that means we will have a great secondary…probably not) and our spring QB’s needed a wide open receiver to have a chance of getting the pass caught by a guy in the right jersey.

Kicking game? Again, how could it get much worse? Very poor return game, very weak field goal kicking, inconsistent and rarely long kickoffs, ‘meh’ coverage, and just OK punting. CCM has a reputation of coaching up special teams so there may be some hope for improvement here but we are a very long way from having big play potential on special teams.

Being weak at center, QB, and the tackles is not a good start seeking a good offense. Our formerly worst in the west defense may have to carry the offense initially if not all season. If that don’t scare you as a Hog fan, you don’t have a pulse.

JMVVVVVVHO

I share your optimism for a much improved Defense. I am not as down on our QB situation as most of our fans seem to be. I still remember a big fella named Kelly leading us to two dramatic come from behind wins last year. I’m hoping that being lighter on their feet and not having to drive opposing D-linemen 5 yards or more downfield in order to be successful, will result in a more effective O-line. I’ve never been more excited about a team that I realistically expect to finish 6-6 or 7-5. That would be a good 6-6 or 7-5 as opposed to having the same record in year 4 of a coaching regime. CMM lays a good foundation this Fall, then follows up with a great recruiting class. Better days ahead.

I also sense the defense will be improved, maybe quite a bit. Offensively, I think the HC knows what he’s doing…that should help a lot.

I do believe the defense will be better in fundamentals and we return a lot of the two deep… I think the Chief is a coaching upgrade in attitude and scheme. As noted, we can’t get worse than last in the SEC on defense so we have that going for us.

I see us better at almost every position, offense and defense. QB in the key.

I think it may be a tough year but I believe we will enjoy a different brand of football. I know I’m ready. I sense that Morris and his staff are much better recruiters than we had before. If true, that will translate to a better football team in future years. I don’t think we will recruit better than Alabama but I think we can recruit better than we have in the past. We’ve fielded some decent teams in the past and I think we are going have a decent team in the future.

Our defense will be more aggressive. That was one of my biggest complaints under CBB. He played the defense to soft.

You can take chances if you have some players that can win the one on one battle, letting you send extra people in hopes of big plays. If you get beat when you make your corners or linebackers try to win the one-on-one battle, you get burned when you take chances. We did not have enough real players to take a lot of chances.

we have the secondary to be very aggressive just don’t don’t if we can find a edge Pass rusher unless the Juco stud is as advertised.I’m not sold on Ramsey yet because you have to remember who he’s practiciing against.our OT are not very good Pass blockers…we will find out how good Ramsey is when he is in the SEC.I do like Agim though he’s stud.

I think we will be betteron defense if we get an inside presence other wise they will hammer us inside 4-5 yds a pop and don’t really don’t know where that’s going to come from unless Ferrell makes a big impact.

The loss of Ryan Pulley last year was extremely underrated. He will help a lot this year.

I totally agree. Pulley was our 1 player in the Secondary that could play for top SEC teams. He was a lock down corner and the only one we had who could play press coverage at the LOS. He was replaced by a true Freshman. NOW add the 7-10 yard cushion that we used and the QB never had to hold the ball long enough for our rush to get to him.

THIS YEAR we have Pulley and enough experience at CB to play press coverage WHICH allows time for our Rush to reach the QB. Curl has moved to Safety after proving to be a stud while replacing Pulley. Ramirez has experience at the other safety spot so we look strong. Add in Richardson as a swiss army knife backup and we could be quite solid with depth. LB depth scares me more than anything on this defense.

Good post! I agree with all of your summary on the defense. I want a very solid defense sooo bad! This would go a long way in working our way back as a “good” SEC West team.

At least we have two legit SEC starters @ LB. The interior of the D-line worries me. Do we have any starters or subs there (not named Agim) who can stop the run and/or rush the passer? To me, THAT is the weak link unless those guys suddenly become a lot better than last year.

We had no upfront pressure last year mostly because the 7-10 yard cushion that we used and the QB never had to hold the ball long enough for our rush to get to him. We will probably have coverage sacks this year for the first time since the 2015 defense.