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Old 06-21-2010, 10:28 AM    (permalink
Ozzy
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Default 2010 Top 12 defensive units in the country

Here is what I think could be the top 12 defensive units for the up coming 2010 college football season. It is based off of incoming talent and production they had last year, plus returning starters. And let us be honest, the best teams last season had the best defenses, so do not say it does not matter, it means absolutely everything.


Many will argue Iowa being that high, but I see it as last year UNC was supposed to be gang busters and be a great defense and team overall last season. But it did not turn out that way, they underachieved and rarely match their hype they get. I see Iowa as a consistent well coached team and well coached defense with probably the best defensive line in college football coming back. Ontop of that they have more consistent depth as well, so that is why I have it the way it is, clearly though things can change and new players can emerge as the year goes on.





1)
Was a great group last year and if they fill some voids at linebacker and cornerback they could be even better than last year. That dominating defensive line is all back and they should be even better this season. Those two fine deep safeties really help them as well.
DE Clayborn
DT Klug
DT Ballard
DE Binns
OLB Nielsen
ILB T. Johnson, Coleman
OLB Hunter
CB Prater
CB Bernstine
SS Sash
FS Greenwood






2)
Talent wise no other groups are better, however consistency is the issue. Have real stars on the defensive line and if they play up to their potential they will be a great defense. Have arguably some of the best defensive backs in the country and have great linebackers. If all positions click and reach their potential they can easily be the best defensive unit.
DE Quinn
DT
DT Austin
DE McAdoo
OLB Sturdivant
ILB Reddick
OLB Carter
CB Burney
CB C. Brown
SS Searcy
FS D. Williams






3)
Could be a lot higher but their corners are the question mark at this point. Also losing Cody in the middle will be a change as well, still Saban always has big, strong fast athletes and I am sure they will be another fine unit this season. If those talented young corners play up to their potential, watch out. Dareus will dominate on the defensive line and Hightower could be awesome if he comes back strong after the injury.
DE Dareus
DT Chapman
DE
OLB Upshaw
ILB Hightower
ILB N. Johnson
OLB DeJohn
CB Kirkpatrick*
CB Milliner*
SS Barron
FS






4)
Very talented group, will have to equal the production last years defensive line had however. Great group of linebackers, just outstanding, and their safeties are very talented as well, corners are not as strong as years past but at least they have experience. If Heyward has a big year on the line however, he could really make them a great defense.
DE N. Williams
DT Larimore
DT Simon
DE Heyward
OLB Homan
ILB B. Rolle
OLB E. Sabino
CB Chekwa
CB Torrence
SS J. Hines
FS Moeller






5)
Obviously a talented group, the linebackers must play up to their potential and if the do they could be really good. The defensive line, pretty much the same thing, have to play up to their potential, Casey and Perry are big time stars. The corners will make the defense go, if they play the way they are capable of playing it could be another great USC defense.
DE Perry
DT Casey
DT Tupou
DE M. Jackson, Armstead
OLB Morgan
ILB Galippo
OLB Kennard, M. Smith
CB TJ Bryant
CB S. Wright
SS McAllister
FS






6)
As I said before they will have to fill a big void left by Kindle and Houston. If those freshman can do it they will be fine though, but will wait and see. Easily have the best defensive backs in the country and that will allow them to do a lot up front regardless of who is there. Robinson is a great linebacker and if they can get some better play out of a few more backers that would really help them.
DE Acho
DT
DT
DE Jeffcoat*, Wilson*
OLB K. Robinson, Hicks*
ILB
OLB Norton, Acho
CB Ch. Brown, Beasley
CB A. Williams, Cu. Brown
SS Brewster, Cobbs*
FS Gideon






7)
Really talented group but who knows how they perform. Linebackers are outstanding but Brown is a question mark at this point and McCarthy needs to stay healthy, Spence is a star though. The defensive line has to play great however, Bailey has to dominate and they need to get more push from the tackles. The defensive backs under achieved as well last year, but they have great talent at corner and safety. If they put it all together they could easily be a top three defensive unit.
DE Bailey
DT Holmes
DT Forston
DE Robinson
OLB Spence, Buchanan
ILB Brown
OLB McCarthy
CB Harris
CB Van Dyke
SS Armstrong
FS Telemaque, Nicolas







8
Lost a lot off last years defense, but still should have a great defensive line with Crick being the main stay. The linebackers are the biggest question mark, they have talent but will have to prove a lot, if they do they will be a fine defense. The defensive backs are deep and experienced, lost two fine safeties but have a lot of players that can make plays and have seen game action. Plus their two corners are outstanding.
DE P. Allen
DT Crick
DT Steinkuhler
DE
OLB Fisher
ILB Compton
OLB May
CB Amukamara
CB Dennard
SS Hagg
FS Gomes






9)
Linebacker is the only group without real stars, have fast linebackers but Jeffery is the only really talented one. They have a lot of solid players and if they pick up their game they could be just great. Good defensive line led by Matthews and Ajiboye, Taylor should be a fine player as well. The defensive backs are outstanding, Gilmore is one of the best corners and Culliver is one of the best safeties, they have great depth at those positions as well. Potentially they could be one of the best defenses in the SEC and that is saying a lot.
DE Matthews
DT Ajiboye
DT Robertson
DE Taylor
OLB Jeffery
ILB Paulk
OLB S. Wilson
CB Gilmore
CB Auguste, Whitlock
SS Holloman
FS Culliver






10)
A lot depends on the production of their defensive line, have a lot of talented players but they have to produce. At linebacker Hicks will be a great player and they have some experienced behind him, but again all depends on the defensive line. The defensive backs lost Haden but still have Jenkins a fine corner and two great safeties, Black is a star and Hill has tons of potential.
DE Trattou
DT Marsh, Easley*
DT Sanders, Howard
DE Powell*
OLB Hicks
ILB Jones
OLB Edwards, Doe
CB Jenkins
CB
SS Black
FS Hill






11)
Not a really deep group but they have star players, the defensive backs are outstanding, two of the best safeties in the land with McDaniel and Hall. Gilchrist is a fine corner as well. At linebacker Maye will carry the load and the defensive line has very talented players with Bowers and Jenkins. If they can get some more depth they will be a great unit.
DE Bowers
DT
DT Jenkins
DE
OLB Cooper
ILB Maye
OLB
CB Gilchrist
CB Maxwell
SS McDaniel
FS Hall






12)
Should be a fine group, especially if Rowe plays up to his potential as a pass rusher. The linebackers are solid led by Paysinger and Matthews, they got good speed. The defensive backs should be good, Harris will be a star at corner, and Boyett is an experienced young safety. If they fill a few more holes they could be a solid defense.
DE Rowe
DT Bair
DT
DE
OLB Paysinger
ILB Matthews
OLB
CB C. Harris
CB Jackson
SS Boyett
FS
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Old 06-21-2010, 10:37 AM    (permalink
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For UNC the other DT will probably be Tydreke Powell and Quan is the ILB while Reddick/Zach Brown will be on the outside.

Didn't Iowa lose Pat Angerer and AJ Edds?
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Old 06-21-2010, 10:46 AM    (permalink
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Yea, Iowa lost Angerer and Edds, but Hunter is returning as the 2nd leading tackler on the team last year. And Iowa also tends to fill in at LB without too much of a drop off usually.

I'm more worried about our CBs. Losing Spievey really hurt, and if we have weaker CBs this year it'll really hurt the D all over. Sash and Greenwood will be much more spread out to compensate. We'll see. I'm not worried about the front 7 really at all.
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Old 06-21-2010, 11:45 AM    (permalink
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Quote:
For UNC the other DT will probably be Tydreke Powell and Quan is the ILB while Reddick/Zach Brown will be on the outside.

Didn't Iowa lose Pat Angerer and AJ Edds?
I know, I only listed starters that I was impressed with when I saw them play. I hope they can live up to their potential but I sure know they did not last year.


Quote:
Yea, Iowa lost Angerer and Edds, but Hunter is returning as the 2nd leading tackler on the team last year. And Iowa also tends to fill in at LB without too much of a drop off usually.

I'm more worried about our CBs. Losing Spievey really hurt, and if we have weaker CBs this year it'll really hurt the D all over. Sash and Greenwood will be much more spread out to compensate. We'll see. I'm not worried about the front 7 really at all.
True but there are worse secondaries around the nation, note Pittsburgh, who would be on this list but their secondary is awful, or at least it was last year and that was with Berry at corner, now they have no real proven players back there. Iowa at least has those safeties, if they did not they might not be even top 8 on this list because it would weaken the unit as a hole a great deal. In my view if you have good corners or good safeties that can make up for weaker alternate positions.

Agreed, the linebackers never seem to be an issue for them, but if they do not play at a high level that will greatly decrease this defense, which I doubt but still.

I am not all that familiar with the corners they have, but some might have developed, and still the front four is the reason that defense is great anyway.
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Old 06-21-2010, 11:54 AM    (permalink
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Yea, not to say that Iowa's secondary is in terrible shape, just in general as an Iowa fan that I'm more concerned with our CBs going froward than with restocking our LBs.

As for CB, we have Shaun Prater returning who was #2 last year, and Jordan Bernstine who was #2 in 2008 before missing 09 with an injury. Now, both played at the very least competently when they were #2, but they also had Spievey, Sash, and 09 Greenwood. How either would do as a #1 is up in the air, especially since both have shown lapses in judgement/ability, but that may have just been inexperience. Also, Prater likes to partake in off the field activities that don't win him points with the coaching staff.

Other than that, sophomore Micah Hyde is supposedly pushing for a starting spot. When he was recruited last year, I read a lot of OSU fans congradulate Iowa on landing him as he was a real sleeper and OSU really had no room for him. He's incredibly athletic, but raw at CB, and in limited action last year showed a lot of potential.

So, while we do have 2 returning CBs with full seasons as starters, it's still remains to be seen if either can handle the job as a #1. Right now, neither are close to being lockdown, or even true #1s imo. But having 2 solid #2s is a good thing, even if it may not be ideal vs. teams with legit #1 WRs (Wisconsin, OSU).
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Old 06-21-2010, 12:44 PM    (permalink
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1 - McAdoo will back up Coples
2 - Sturdivant will play ILB
3 - Zach Brown will start at OLB opposite Carter
4 - Tydreke Powell will start at DT opposite Austin
5 - UNC > Iowa.
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Old 06-21-2010, 01:07 PM    (permalink
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Quote:
1 - McAdoo will back up Coples
2 - Sturdivant will play ILB
3 - Zach Brown will start at OLB opposite Carter
4 - Tydreke Powell will start at DT opposite Austin
5 - UNC > Iowa.
Forgive me but I believe you opinion might be a little biased ;o)

Just kidding, I hope they are that good but we will see, I thought similar things last year and they were average at best despite a few standout performers. Would not surprise me at all if Quinn underachieves this year based on all the attention and love he is getting, and Austin technically has always underachieved.

With the Iowa kids, I doubt that happens, rarely do they not maximize their ability based on years past, and overall they do have a better defensive line that is more consistent. Defensive backs UNC clearly has the advantage however.

Putting things into perspective, UNC back in 2000 their defense had quite the talented collection of players as well

DE J. Peppers
DT Ryan Sims
DT
DE Chapman
OLB S. Hodge
ILB B. Spoon
OLB Monk
CB M. Waddell
CB E. Hood
SS D. Reid
FS

I loved Reid at safety, Hood and Waddell had great athletic potential at corner. The linebackers were very solid, Hodge could really run and Spoon was really good in the middle. Then you have Peppers and Sims who arguably are better than Quinn and Austin. I doubt Quinn at his peak in the NFL can reach the level of success Pepper had early in his career.

So it is nothing new UNC having a fine defense, again this years DBs are great but as a hole they usually under achieve as a team and sometimes as a defense because more often than not the offense is not up to par.
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Old 06-21-2010, 02:33 PM    (permalink
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Do know who else has had some impressive defensive talent since 2000?


Nice list and a good read. For the most part, I pretty much agree with it. One thing, Arthur Brown no longer goes to Miami. Senior Kylan Robinson will be the starter. But this is his first year starting so he too may have some question marks.
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Old 06-21-2010, 02:46 PM    (permalink
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Quote:
Nice list and a good read. For the most part, I pretty much agree with it. One thing, Arthur Brown no longer goes to Miami. Senior Kylan Robinson will be the starter. But this is his first year starting so he too may have some question marks.
Oh really? That is too bad...that is a big loss for them potentially. Hope they can play well though, I must say Miami has had an flat out awful defensive and offensive line the past few years, when in their hay day as you speak, the 2000's they had great defensive and offensive lines. That should make or break the team, heck Wisconsin killed them last year on both offensive and defensive fronts, that was sad to watch.


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Do know who else has had some impressive defensive talent since 2000?
Yes I do, I have a signed mimi helment from that Hurricanes starting defensive unit.
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Old 06-21-2010, 02:58 PM    (permalink
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Forston and Robinson might not be in the 2 deep this year, neither have a chance at starting and Jojo is the 5th best safety on the team when he isn't hurt.
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Old 06-21-2010, 03:09 PM    (permalink
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Oh, HAI! watch me turn a group of good, but not great players into a masterful defense and win championships
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Old 06-21-2010, 03:17 PM    (permalink
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I'd take Oklahoma's D over Oregon. I'm not sure USC is top 5 either.
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Old 06-21-2010, 03:35 PM    (permalink
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tjsunstein I'd take Oklahoma's D over Oregon. I'm not sure USC is top 5 either.
True, Oklahoma has some talented defensive lineman, but let us be honest Taylor is not where near the likes of a McCoy. Beal is a star though but Alexander is an underachiever, however if Chaisson plays well they will be fine. At linebacker Lewis is great and Box is ok but the rest are question marks. Main reason I do not have them on the list, same with Pitt is because of that suspect secondary. Not a fan of their safeties at all, and they lost easily their best two corners and the guys backing them up I know nothing about. Sure they could be a fine defense, but again the question marks with the defensive backfield is where I draw the line.

As for USC, yes if their linebackers underachieve and those corners are no good, then yes not a top 5 defense but if Bryant and Wright are as good as I think they could be, they could be a great defense because of those two possibly.



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scottyboy

Oh, HAI! watch me turn a group of good, but not great players into a masterful defense and win championships
Maybe but losing Munoz, McCourty, Kitchen, D'Imperio, George Johnson will be way too much for them to come back from.

Do have Lefeged, Freeny and Francis coming back and a few ok linebackers but seriously McCourty was by far their best and only really good corner back and Johnson was a fine pass rusher. Will see but I doubt they rebound all that great compared to last years defense.


Quote:
draftguru151 Forston and Robinson might not be in the 2 deep this year, neither have a chance at starting and Jojo is the 5th best safety on the team when he isn't hurt.
We will see, they sure do need a far better defensive line, I know that much. As for the safeties, well Miami always says they have all these great safeties but when it comes to game play few show up at a consistently high level. Hopefully this year they do.
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Old 06-21-2010, 04:36 PM    (permalink
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At least respect it, Chris Low does-

http://espn.go.com/blog/sec
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Old 06-21-2010, 04:40 PM    (permalink
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You mean Chris Low, the SEC Blogger?

That's like saying Adam Rittenberg thinks Iowa's D is the best in the country.
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Old 06-21-2010, 04:48 PM    (permalink
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Don Vito
At least respect it, Chris Low does-
Why? Powe is a fine player I will give them that, and Lockett is ok but is no way better than Hardy. They also lose Tillman off that front. Then you have the fact they lose their top two corners in Green and Vaughn, and lose easily their best safety in Lewis. How in the world again will they be a top defense in the nation? Just cause they have Powe in the middle? Ok Walker is an ok linebacker but nothing amazing in my opinion. I find it very hard to believe this unit can be better than last year, and even last year they performed average at best, they were not tops in the nation by any means.

South Carolina has such a far superior defense when compared to Ole Miss, and that is just taking into consideration returning starters, again that which Ole Miss has very few in my opinion.
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Old 06-21-2010, 08:59 PM    (permalink
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Maybe but losing Munoz, McCourty, Kitchen, D'Imperio, George Johnson will be way too much for them to come back from.

Do have Lefeged, Freeny and Francis coming back and a few ok linebackers but seriously McCourty was by far their best and only really good corner back and Johnson was a fine pass rusher. Will see but I doubt they rebound all that great compared to last years defense.
McCourty will be the big loss, no doubt. But we're perfectly fine at LB, despite losing D and Damaso. Johnson will be replaced by Freeny nicely. Hopefully our young CB's step up and fill the massive shoes of McCourty
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Old 06-21-2010, 09:05 PM    (permalink
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No love for Penn State's D? They're consistantly in the top 10 in defense.
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Old 06-21-2010, 09:29 PM    (permalink
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No love for Penn State's D? They're consistantly in the top 10 in defense.
To many question marks and not enough returning stars. Have a few good players but at this time to me not enough to make them an elite defense unit. Note statistics were not taken into account in this, it was just baseline talent position by position, any big school can play small schools and improve their overall defensive statistics because of it. It is about players returning not statistics defensively.
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Old 06-22-2010, 01:09 AM    (permalink
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Nebraska's base defense isn't a 4-3, as we barely go into any 3 LB sets. More often we are in a nickel or dime as our base, which we ran almost exclusively by the time conference play rolled around.

Matt May will likely never see the field, and Sean Fisher won't see much either. Our top two LBs as of right now are Will Compton and Eric Martin, and not far behind is Alonzo Whaley.

Gomes and Hagg will be all over the field as well. Hagg will be the 3rd corner in our nickel, and Gomes will be the 4th corner in our dime packages. PJ Smith will likely be the SS, while Austin Cassidy and Rickey Thenarse fight it out for the other safety position in our dime package.
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Old 06-22-2010, 09:42 AM    (permalink
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bwillie26 Nebraska's base defense isn't a 4-3, as we barely go into any 3 LB sets. More often we are in a nickel or dime as our base, which we ran almost exclusively by the time conference play rolled around.

Matt May will likely never see the field, and Sean Fisher won't see much either. Our top two LBs as of right now are Will Compton and Eric Martin, and not far behind is Alonzo Whaley.

Gomes and Hagg will be all over the field as well. Hagg will be the 3rd corner in our nickel, and Gomes will be the 4th corner in our dime packages. PJ Smith will likely be the SS, while Austin Cassidy and Rickey Thenarse fight it out for the other safety position in our dime package.
True, but I believe that is more to do with their lack of linebackers, regardless I really like the potential Fisher has as a linebacker and I like Compton as well, if these other guys are better great but we will see. Yes Gomes and Hagg are fine players, played a lot last year and will do the same this year, as for Cassidy, Smith and Thenarse I know very little about them.

Odd thing is you compare last years defense to the 2004 LSU defense, it is the same thing, outstanding defensive line, great defensive backs that are deep and pretty suspect linebacker play outside of maybe one linebacker. Clearly that is the way Bo and Will want it and it really does work quite well for Nebraska and Texas last year even without standout linebackers.
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Old 06-22-2010, 08:52 PM    (permalink
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True, but I believe that is more to do with their lack of linebackers, regardless I really like the potential Fisher has as a linebacker and I like Compton as well, if these other guys are better great but we will see. Yes Gomes and Hagg are fine players, played a lot last year and will do the same this year, as for Cassidy, Smith and Thenarse I know very little about them.

Odd thing is you compare last years defense to the 2004 LSU defense, it is the same thing, outstanding defensive line, great defensive backs that are deep and pretty suspect linebacker play outside of maybe one linebacker. Clearly that is the way Bo and Will want it and it really does work quite well for Nebraska and Texas last year even without standout linebackers.
No, it has absolutely nothing to do with a lack of LBs, as Bo has even stated. It has everything to do with Bo adjusting to the numerous spread attacks in the B12. Having a 4-3 as your base in the B12 is basically senseless, as you are not very often going to use it.

Every team Nebraska played in the B12 ran the spread, or a variation, while Nebraska was in conference play.

You are right though, Nebraska did this out of necessity. Only the necessity to match up personnel versus an offense that the conference we are currently in has went to almost exclusively.

And I didn't bring up the '04 LSU defense, nor did I make a comparison.
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Old 06-22-2010, 11:39 PM    (permalink
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No, it has absolutely nothing to do with a lack of LBs, as Bo has even stated. It has everything to do with Bo adjusting to the numerous spread attacks in the B12. Having a 4-3 as your base in the B12 is basically senseless, as you are not very often going to use it.

Every team Nebraska played in the B12 ran the spread, or a variation, while Nebraska was in conference play.

You are right though, Nebraska did this out of necessity. Only the necessity to match up personnel versus an offense that the conference we are currently in has went to almost exclusively.

And I didn't bring up the '04 LSU defense, nor did I make a comparison.
True but that is recruiting and who he recruits and who he brings in. If they had players like Greg Jones, Sean Spence, or Michael Morgan you better believe they would be playing a base 4/3, still look at the roster they have no linebackers, mostly because I doubt they focus on recruiting many. But yes that is why they play nickle, of course, to play against the spread.

But if they had better linebackers I bet they would play a 4/3 more often.
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Old 06-23-2010, 02:00 AM    (permalink
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True but that is recruiting and who he recruits and who he brings in. If they had players like Greg Jones, Sean Spence, or Michael Morgan you better believe they would be playing a base 4/3, still look at the roster they have no linebackers, mostly because I doubt they focus on recruiting many. But yes that is why they play nickle, of course, to play against the spread.

But if they had better linebackers I bet they would play a 4/3 more often.
Simple question .. if you play against spread teams with constant 3-4 WR sets, what exactly is the point of having 3 LBs on the field so that you are at a disadvantage? You expect them to cover the slot consistently, or are you going to attempt to drop zone coverages all night and allow B12 QBs all day to throw?

Just doesn't work that way, which is why he implements his 'Peso' defense, which I must say worked out pretty well. :)

Now you are entitled to your opinion about our LB core - but it's just irrelevant because we just do not use 3 LB sets, which is my original point. If you are going to judge our defense, at least do it with our correct base. That is all.
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Old 06-23-2010, 03:25 AM    (permalink
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well Miami always says they have all these great safeties but when it comes to game play few show up at a consistently high level. Hopefully this year they do.
...what?

found this little picture for you
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