Sunday, September 20, 2015

Memphis: The Defense

You're going to look at the 44 points and think the day was a disaster for the BG defense.

I'm going to tell you that while BG didn't have a great day on defense, they won their share of battles and remain better than they were last year and better than I expected them to be given what was lost.

Memphis has a good team, a great QB and put up some numbers.  They had 541 yards on 90 plays, almost 6 per play which is good if not great.  BG was OK against the run, holding the team to 3.1 yards per carry, though the top backs were at 4.5 and 4.7.  The pass defense was certainly soft.  They were 29 of 40 for 9.6 per attempt and 13.3 per completion, both really strong when combined with the completion percentage.

And yeah, they scored 44 and while there were two short fields due to special there weren't as many as before and the offense provided no turnovers.

Let's just finish the issues.  BG had 2 personal fouls on defense in the first quarter on eventual scoring drives and BG was totally undisciplined on the "Flipper" play that Memphis used for a wide open TD and had big trouble defending the screen pass.

That doesn't sound too good.

Now.  Beyond that, BG had 3 first half stops and got a stop when they had to have it in the fourth quarter.  They forced FGs on 2 red zone trips, the first times Memphis was denied a TD in the red zone this year.  And they held the Tigers to 11 points fewer than they got against Kansas last week.

I'm not saying this is the 2013 defense or even close.  I'm just saying that they won some battles against a very good team and kept battling.  Coach mentioned that fatigue was an issue--and Memphis dominated the second half...that 4thQ stop was BG's only stop of the second half.  He said that the Memphis line is like "tall trees" and the BG defense kept running against trees and got worn out.

That's an occupational hazard when you don't care about time of possession on the offensive side.  BG had the ball for only 23 minutes.  BG definitely has a short rotation, especially on the d-line and double especially at end, and that's just something that is going to stay an issue because we're going to try and make their job easier with points, not possessions.

Austin Valdez led the team with an eye-popping 20 tackles.  WOW.  Memphis ran 90 plays and 5 of them had TDs so Valdez was in on tackles on 20 of the 84 remaining plays.

Trent Greene had 10 tackles and there were 9 for Sanford.  They both had a pass break up, along with Mack and Stephens.  Lunsford and Bush had sacks.

Again, things are not great, but the defense is battling and their are winning in some cases.  I think the change in coaching has made a difference and I hope we see the defense remain healthy and continue to improve.  Depth issues on the d-line may put a ceiling on the overall level of improvement but that also remains to be seen.

Here's the question for you.  If BG can get "more touchdowns" as Coach says, is the defense good enough to give us a shot to win?


NWLB said...

There comes a point where you cannot expect to get ever more TDs. We were at that point last year. We are there again this year but also have the special teams turning into a game losing tipping point.

BG is maybe third best in the MAC as of this week and conference teams will know and play the Falcons better.

The offense is impressive. But it is moot if the defense and spec teams cannot rise to a higher level.....or even what we had prior to Babers.

Orange said...

No doubt, the defense still has to get better. Given the losses from last year, I'm cautiously optimistic that the new defensive coaching combined with the players who have been recruited will get that done. And yes, conference teams know us better but their players are not as good as we saw in Weeks 1 and 3.