We are terrible on Defense

We change defenses to accomplish what, improve in what areas? Play against spread teams more effectively? The injuries other than to Pulley are all on offense so that’s a poor excuse. Oh yeah we have been told we don’t have the personnel for this defense but the coaches still chose to switch. Seems like a desperate attempt to save a job. Plus we hire Rhodes to run this new defense we are not ready to run and he has no experience with a 3/4. Now Insiders elude to the attacking style our coaches talked about and yet we catch blocks and give people angles on our 3 defensive linemen. There will always be excuses with this coach but no answers. Surely he won’t be brought back to coach a team that he can’t coach.

I do the opponent previews each week for the magazine and always look up where the team they’re going to play in two weeks (have to do it in advance) and Arkansas rank nationally. Did the Mississippi State one last night.

Arkansas’ SEC and national ranks are:

Scoring defense: 13th, 111th
Total defense: 12th, 92nd
Yards per play: 14th, 118th
Run defense: 11th, 96th
Rushing YPC: 13th, 121st
Pass defense: 10th, 80th
Yards per attempt: 12th, T-104th
Turnovers forced: T-7th, T-65th
Sacks: 14th, T-106th
Tackles-for-loss: 14th, 126th
Third-down percentage: 14th, 117th
20+ plays: 12th, T-102nd
20+ pass plays: 14th, T-117th
20+ run plays: T-6th, T-41st

By looking at the results above it is terrible!
At some point you have to stop an opponent which the hogs can’t. I believe it’s more scheme than personnel.
If you are getting gashed I’d rather gamble and run blitz than watch the junk we are seeing. Soft pass defense and poor tackling. It’s has become the norm.

Thanks for the stats, Jimmy. We have had one of college football’s worst defenses in 2015, 2016 and now 2017. We are among the worst in college football…let that sink in for just a minute. Arkansas Razorback football since Coach Broyles came was noted for its effort and great defense. We all know since Coach Hatfield left the story has been a different one, but my point is this should not be the case. This needs to get fixed, now. Whatever it takes.

Right, how do you propose we fix it now. No coaching change till the end of season and that’s not a given. It is what it is. We have to live with it.

the head coach needs to chew on the defensive coaches rear end the coaches need to get on the players for the way the are playing big time then you will see a big improvement on the way the players perform

I’m afraid Bret’s laid back, reggae, flip flops mentality permeates throughout the program. Tyler Wilson was on a talk show today and said when he was up there there was always an air of professionalism and detail in the complex - coaches in dress shirts, slacks, etc. A professional, business like atmosphere. Without bagging on this staff too badly, he merely said on the limited times he’s been in the complex the laid back, casual atmosphere he’s observed was a striking contrast to his playing days. He observed the attention to detail seems to be lacking with this staff.

I agree totally…I posted this before on another thread…”We have a bad football team right now. Apparently we also are a young football team and lost a lot of veteran players through graduation and injury. I picked us to go 6-6 this year. It is apparent that the team is not improving. I see a lack of intensity in this team and that to me is on the coaching staff. More former players are now speaking out about the culture within the program…practices aren’t intense and sometimes haphazard… that relates directly to game day. The team looks ill prepared and not intense. Does the team want to win…certainly…but you play how you practice. Does a change need to made? If we’re going to improve, I believe so…just my thoughts.”

We play a very non aggressive style. It’s hard to blitz when your linebackers are 6-7 yards off the line of scrimmage and your safeties are 15 yards deep. I still can’t fidgure out why they have the nose guard line up a yard off the ball. Wouldn’t you want him helmet to helmet with the center? Lining up that far off the ball gives the guards better angles at doubling the nose before moving to the 2nd level to seal the linebacker. Could Matt or Dudley or Clay ask that of Brett or Paul sometime? Would love to hear the thinking behind it.

Totally scheme. Every TV personality that does our games agree, “what are they doing? I’d run every play with their scheme. You get 6 yards a play.”

It’s not the scheme. If you remember right, the defense was record-setting horrible against the run last year in the 4-3. It may be that the 3-4 and the players aren’t meshing, but I don’t think you can blame the conversion to the 3-4 as being the sole reason.

There are a lot of contributing factors. Scheme may be one of them, but I think lack of talent and lack of quality depth, especially in the front 7, is the overriding theme. They’ve been bad in the 4-3 and the 3-4 with a lot of the same pieces.

On the line, Sosa is a talented athlete, but his impact is lessened in the 3-4. I don’t think they have high-caliber talent at the other two line spots. Scheme may be an issue here because a lot of the time, it’s a numbers game. Offenses have numbers advantages at the line and the defensive linemen are being doubled. But I still have been underwhelmed with the talent, aside from Sosa, on the line.

At outside linebacker, Randy Ramsey hasn’t had the impact I or many thought he would. They figured he would be a playmaker. He hasn’t been, for the most part. Dwayne Eugene is a really nice guy, but probably a below-average SEC linebacker. I think Gabe Richardson could be interesting down the line.

At inside linebacker, Scoota has probably been the best player on the defense. Physical, quick and has good instincts. He can deliver a blow like an SEC linebacker. Dre has been a bit of a disappointment to me this year. He is athletic, but has had some costly mental busts and just not been as active as you’d like. I still think he can be a very productive player. All the time off had to hurt and affect him. Grant Morgan needs to live in the weight room and they need to keep recruiting and developing this position. Bumper Pool looks like he could be a good one.

At corner, they played well early in the year, but have obviously been picked on the last few weeks. Will be interesting to see how they perform the rest of the way with some blood in the water, so to speak. No safety help on a lot of the big passes. Kam has all the tools to be a good one and this year will help him big-time in the future. Pair him and Ryan together next year and you could have a great tandem. Henre’ is probably a slightly above-average SEC corner. He’s solid. The spring will be important for Chevin, Britto and the other young guys to help. Maybe Hanspard can contribute early. This is the best position group on the defense, to me.

At safety, Santos has been much improved this year. Not perfect, but much better. Not a fan of Liddell or Coley. Liddell gets beat on a big pass every week and still is a shaky tackler. Coley can’t beat him out. Montaric Brown needs to have a great spring and provide some athleticism and hitting next to Santos next year. One of the bigger storylines after the year will be whether Kevin petitions for a sixth year. Getting him back would be huge. Minus him, nickel becomes a question mark.

Bottom line, they need more difference makers. I like the talent level at ILB (starters), CB and safety moving forward, but am not sold on the rest at this point.

When you say you like the S talent moving forward is that just a comment on Brown or does it include Smith and Edwards also? Hopefully the latter because one player that’s an upgrade over what’s out there is not enough.

We get caught unset on defense a lot, particularly after big plays. It is just pitiful to watch the defenders running around trying to get in position as the offense is preparing to snap the ball. I don’t know whether they are looking too much for the sideline to make a defensive call or they just get winded and their brains are deprived of oxygen during those lapses. When they have time to set the defense, they do much better. Recognizing formations is lacking this year in my opinion. Richardson seems to “see” the offensive scheme and tries to relay that to the other backs, but often, it is too late for them to react. Other than Richardson, I haven’t seen a lot from the guys who should be calling the adjustments on the field.

They have played three different schemes in the last five years, meaning Chris Ash and Robb Smith were in different styles of 4-3. The last three years there hasn’t been anything but porous defense. I was told before this season by two NFL guys that going to scheme was not going to be a significant help because the players were the same. I guess they were right. They also said changing scheme would cause some transition issues, that it takes more than one year to implement the entire scheme with players reacting instead of thinking. There appears to be some of that, too. I was also told that the best player on defense were Ryan Pulley and McTelvin Agim. That’s probably, true.

If a change is made and the new guy runs a 3-4, it sounds like another echo of 1998. The young guys have been redshirted and/or learning, they have recruit contacts/evaluations/ commitments aimed at playing the 3-4, and the entire defense will have had the year of transition. So while it’s hardly a sure thing, and more talent is needed, there is some reason to believe that next year’s defensive coaching staff could end up looking like miracle workers, just like what happened in 1998 when the new guys arrived with much of the groundwork already done.

Fair point. I was thinking more that the Montaric-Santos pairing next year could be good if Montaric is the player we think. Depth is still a question mark.

I interpret this response to mean you don’t think Smith and Edwards are “winning” players in the SEC - am I correct ?

At this point, I don’t think they are, but they’re both still young. They need to develop. Reid Miller is someone that can’t play safety in the SEC from a physical standpoint and they have yet to pass him, which is something that stands out to me.

Thanks - that’s what I figured. Disappointing but certainly not unexpected.