Thursday, August 26, 2010

Falcon Preview---the Defense Department

As I have stated before, the media is focusing on replacing Sheehan and Barnes, but the real challenge the Falcons face is to rebuild their defense.  In a larger context, I contend that we have not had a championship caliber defense in this program since the first year of the Urban Meyer regime.

Coach has been talking about the team being young but having talent.  That's a good thing, because, much like the offense, it would be nice to think that we have guys who are going to be good players...the question being how good they will be this year.

The BG News did a little analysis of the defense, with comments from Coach Clawson.

The D-Line is a good place to start.  The ends are two 5-year seniors, one (Magnone) with significant time and one (Darius Smith) who took a long time to reach starter.  R-JR Kevin Alvarado plays tackle, alongside Chris Jones, who logged snaps as a true freshman.  Jordan Roussos will figure in the rotation (he played as a true freshman), but two of the other backups are R-FR with no playing time.

This makes it the most experienced part of the defense.  In addition, in the article, Coach says that the front 6 (or 7) of our defense made the most progress this Fall.  If these defense is to be competitive, it almost has to start here.  BG has failed to defend the run and control the line over the past few years, and with the running strength of OU, Temple, and Kent (for example), we need strong play from this unit.

LB is an area with new players as well.  The camp scuttlebutt appears to be that this unit will be more physical and more athletic than the players we had last year.  Eugene Fells is playing one of the outside LBs.  He played in all 13 games last season, with big plays against CMU and Toledo.  I think there is some confidence that as a R-Sr, he's ready to come into his own.

In the middle is Dwayne Woods, who also played all 13 games, though less noticeably than Fells.  Woods is the key here.  He is a true Sophomore, and the defense really needs him to come into his own. He was a highly recruited HS player, and he is getting an opportunity to show what he can do early.

At the other linebacker are Calvin Marshall and Tim Moore, each of them converted D-backs.  These guys are light, and it will be very important that the line eats up the blocks to give them the chance to show their athleticism.

That's your front 7.  There is potential there, and we have to hope they are ready to go.  We can't expect to win shoot-outs as we have in the past, and we need to get off the field.

The defensive backfield is especially hit.  The corners are Adrien Spencer and Robert Lorenzi, both players who have time under their belt but uneven production.  At safety, (where Mahone and Brown left), there is Keith Morgan, who played during Mahone's suspension, and Jovon Leacock, a JUCO transfer, where he was all-conference....on offense.

The backups are freshmen and sophomores.  So, I don't mind saying that the defensive backfield appears to me to be the weakest part of the defense.  And I hope I am proven wrong.

So, that's the Falcon defense.  Promise, but hard to tell what we can expect from them this season.  However, for this team to finish over .500, they are going to need this unit to exceed expectations.

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