My Impressions so far: Defense

I have had so much fun watching and rewatching the Hog games this year. Its been awhile since I have had the time (not that we want the pandemic to continue), or the motivation.

I have just marveled at our defense. Everything people are saying nationally is spot on. Odom deserves the Broyles award for sure. His staff has done a great job. And of course, the Head Man deserves arguably the most credit. I love the schemes. The staff seems to really have made the most out of Zoom meetings and walk throughs over the summer. They are running what seems to be simple zone schemes (and some are calling them simple), but what they are doing is often disguised…and based on reading keys perfectly. Which they are. Over and over. I think Odom has reminded the world the value of well-executed zone schemes…especially as employed against the RPO…which feasts on DB’s turning their backs on mobile QB’s.

I think I have been the most surprised at the play of the d-line. Yes, I listened as Pittman said they looked good in practice. But I also knew we had lost Sosa, and that we seemed to lack a true difference maker. Enter Mr. Marshall. He has been THE difference maker on that line. Just watching him cave blocking schemes has reminded me of players we have had to FACE…not employ. The remainder of the D-line has looked very good too. Our depth is really impressive.

As for linebacker…I for one always believed we would have two damn good LB’ers…and I was correct on that account. I knew Bumper Pool was gonna continue to blossom. And I felt like Grant would play well as a starter. Though I didn’t think it would be THIS WELL. Henry played really well last week too. Now, we do lack depth here…and we all are holding our breath hoping that Bumper and Grant can hang in there. Stay healthy enough to be effective. Having played with cracked ribs myself…I remember how awful that feels.

All that said, I think its the secondary that really makes this team “special.” Combining with the LB core, these guys understand some zone concepts that are pretty advanced, and are executing beautifully. We have players at every position and better depth than I ever would have believed.

And having bitched and moaned about our safety play for what seems like FOREVER…one Jalen Catalon has stepped up and is playing as well as any safety I have seen in the nation. (That is MY opinion anyway). He reminds me of Ronnie Lott. He has been a true difference maker…and is headed to All-American honors…
What a player. He has it all. Smart. Intuitive. He’s a leader. A ball-hawk. And he will KNOCK. YOUR. HEAD. OFF. And do it clean.

Add in Foucha, Busta when he gets back, our new folk hero Hudson Clark…man, I think this secondary is gonna truly be “special.” (yes…cue up HDN on that one).

OK…back to live football. Just wanted to say all this. Thanks for reading…if you made it this far!

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I definitely made it—and enjoyed your take.

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Thanks for saying what we all feel - don’t know that it could have turned out better for us (other than Auburn) and hoping we have continuity of Staff for at least 2 seasons - I’m thinking Coach Carter takes the reins from Barry Odom once the offers get too great to turn down!

Unless he goes with Odom.

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