…if we can avoid injuries to key players, I think we can have a much improved defense.
a. We have two good linebackers in Greenlaw and Scoota. Possibly as good a pair as anyone in the SEC. Scoota is already preseason All-SEC in one publication and a healthy Greenlaw is a very talented player.
b. We are two deep and at least adequate and could be pretty good in the interior defensive linemen in this scheme (Capps, Guidry, Marshall, Simtih, & Watts) and we have one great player in Agim who they will move around so the other side can’t scheme to stop him. This can be an adequate defensive line manning the middle.
c. Defensive end has several players who may be coming into their own at this stage of their career and in this defense. Ramsey, Richardson, Taylor, and Bell CAN all be more than adequate and Agim can move out to make some plays when appropriate.
d. Pulley can be all SEC and Calloway can be good. Very nice pair of starting corners.
e. Curl seems to have found a home at Safety, Ramirez seems ready for a great season, and Richardson provides a 6 year veteran at nickel
This can be a much improved defense over last year.
We are very talented at tight end and CCM will scheme to exploit that.
We are very talented at running back and our speed backs can flourish in the more wide open running lanes.
Our tackles were more finesse than physical last year and that will fit this offense much better. The running game can be good if we can get good play at center.
We lost our top two centers from last year, have two former walk-ons running 1 & 2 and they are talking about having Froholdte convert to center over the summer so they are that nervous about center and so am I. This may be the make or break position for this team.
The receivers are going to be OK, not great, just OK.
I am not worried about the talent at quarterback. CCM will play call to work to their talent level. Passing accuracy is my big concern. Nothing about learning a new offense, adjusting to the new scheme, vanilla playcalling, etc. is any excuse for the passing inaccuracy shown in the spring game. CCM’s offense has to have a passer that can hit the open receiver, especially when they are not talented enough to get wide open like our bunch. I am hoping and praying for a miracle of development over the summer. If not, there will be a true freshman @ QB starting by game three.
So, if the center and quarterback can pleasantly surprise us, I think we got a shot at 6-6 or 7-5. If they struggle, we may end up matching last year’s record.
I think the D will be improved, because it couldn’t get much worse.
I’m the most worried about our recruiting class, however. I was browsing around 247 a minute ago, and we are major behind. Only ahead of vandy. And our average recruit rating is pretty low, granted there is only 4. We really need to get going. I know stars aren’t everything, but they absolutely mean something, in order to compete you need highly talented teams. I hope it picks up.
last year we were 63rd in the NCAA is Points/game on offensive side and 116th in pts/gm on D. I agree it will be easier for the defense to be better next year, because it would be hard to be worse. But personally, overall I still worry more about that side of the ball than the O. Especially since everyone seems determined to use group-think to push us towards a Joe Lee Dunn send the house on every play defense.
The thing I worry most about on defense is depth. This speaks not only to having quality guys to step up in case/when we have injuries (because everybody has some, at some point in a season), but also the fourth quarter of each individual game. Your first line players cannot play every snap in this day and age; so, what happens when they are on the sidelines? Or, gassed late in a game because the quality depth isn’t there and the games are on the line?
I do hope and expect some improvement on defense this season just due to coaching. But the talent level is not that dramatically improved and it can’t/won’t be for a couple of seasons. Just the reality of the situation, as I see it.
I think depth is improving on defense. The depth at linebacker has to improve. Hayden Henry and Grant Morgan are the top backups at inside linebacker. That may change, but they know the defense the best. Henry surprised a little bit in the spring with the ability to step inside from the strong/nickel spot. That’s the position Chavis coaches and he just told me flat out, “I’ll have two more ready. That’s what I’m paid to do.” Dee Walker might surprise, too. He’s very talented. Has the right burst. Still learning all the nuances of the defense.