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Old 06-03-2014, 12:46 PM   #41
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Default Re: Our Linebackers and Defense this year.

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Originally Posted by CoverTwo View Post
What I don't understand why its a travesty to say that our defense is likely to take a step back this year.

Why has our defense been so good under Coach Johnson and Coach Ward? Its because we have been able to dominate at the LOS and drop everyone into zone coverage. When you have had a pass rush as good as ours, you don't have to bring extra defenders. Its the same reason why our offense can't seem to put up huge statistics in our Spring Games. When you crowd the field with 7 defenders, its hard to find anything other than a check down. The same thing our defense has been doing to our offense is the same thing they have been doing to opposing teams. We are going to get you into 3rd and long and make you find a hole in our defense within a short amount of time while we bear down on you with our very talented pass rushers.

Well, that formula does not have the pieces this year. We are hurting at Defensive End. Inexperience, lack of bodies, and lack of talent. In a best case scenario, we need to hope that Darius English turns some heads when he walks onto the practice field in August (hopefully in the 250 lbs range at the very least). We need to hope that Jhaustin Thomas pulls a miracle and gets into school. Hopefully Blake McClain's recovery from foot surgery goes better than expected. Hopefully Devin Washington can stay healthy an entire camp. I think he is one more concussion away from being done with football. We have a lot of ifs right now. Its not out of the realm of possibility that Darius English, Gerald Dixon, and David Johnson are the only every down DE's we have all season. Cedric Cooper and Mason Harris are tweeners that may or may not contribute at all this year. In fact they are probably more suitable for the BOB Linebacker than DE. Do you really feel optimistic with this group? There are no game changers and there isn't anyone you really have to plan for. If I am an opposing offense, I'm going to run right at these guys and then hit our linebackers with playaction all year long because there is no one that I fear right now breaking through and getting to my QB.

In the case of our linebackers, there is no question that they are better but we need to hope that their bodies can catch up. Skai Moore, for as good as he was, looked like a strong safety/SPUR more than a WILL linebacker last year. TJ Holloman is still on the slim side as is Marcquis Roberts (he would be a great BOB linebacker, IMO). Both of those guys were inconsistent with their play all year. They both have good noses for the football but when they get in position to make play, they just have a brain fart or something and whiff / over pursue / arm tackle .. Physically, Kaiwan Lewis and Johnathan Walton are our most physically impressive linebackers but Walton lacks snaps and Lewis has been just as inconsistent as Holloman and Roberts. I think there is a very good chance that Walton and Moore will be our starters before the year is over. I also expect us to eventually end up playing 2 SPUR linebackers so we can get Diggs and Bryant on the field (two more physically ready players) because they are improving at an accelerated pace.

With all of the talk about the 3-4 we don't have the size (and I'd argue the athleticism) to make it a base defense. Schools like Alabama and Georgia take projected Defensive Ends and put them on the outside. So you have 6'2 - 6'3 240-250+ pound monsters roaming around. We don't have that which is why we are not going to see the 3-4 as a base. Its a look they want to deploy when teams are put into obvious passing situations so we can overload one side and hopefully get the offense caught up in more defenders than blockers. I also expect more blitzing from the Secondary than we have been accustomed to.

Until shown otherwise, I think many OCs are going to audible to a draw play or just straight hand off when they see us in the 3-4.

While I have concerns about Corner, I think the secondary is going to be terrific eventually this year. The defensive end position won't improve much by Week 5 but I bet the secondary will. I think Brison Williams, Chaz Elder, TJ Gurley, and Rico McWilliams can be as good of a starting unit as what we've had in the past. With Marcus, J. Smith, Moody, Groves (hopefully), Sasser, Smalls, Harris, Green, Lammons, and D. Smith all providing depth, we should be good to go bodies wise. If we can bring those freshmen along and not force them to take on a big role we will be fine.

Coach Ward needs to find a way to bridge the gap from this year to next when he gets some reinforcements in here at Defensive End. This year, IMO, is his biggest coaching challenge to date. He has got to find ways to get to the passer. I'm confident that he will field at Top 25 defense but I don't think its going to be pretty. I think its going to be one of those years where we look at the final statistics and say 'wow, we ended up in the Top 25?'
If anyone thinks C2 is a downer I don't know what to tell you. These are all logical points that have been made a few times over the year. I don't see us getting any pressure from the DE's either unless something changes, so I see it coming from the DT's if possible or blitzing Safeties and LB's. I honestly think the DE's will be asked to contain the edges this year and if they can do that well, some of these other adjustments can work.

Our staff had some plans that fell through, mainly a guy that should have made it in but didn't due to a technicality in Caldwell. He was the number 1 Juco WDE last year. Missing out on him hurts, a lot. As C2 says better than I can our formula has to change a little this year and we will see how it does.
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Old 06-03-2014, 01:51 PM   #42
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Default Re: Our Linebackers and Defense this year.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CoverTwo View Post
What I don't understand why its a travesty to say that our defense is likely to take a step back this year.

Why has our defense been so good under Coach Johnson and Coach Ward? Its because we have been able to dominate at the LOS and drop everyone into zone coverage. When you have had a pass rush as good as ours, you don't have to bring extra defenders. Its the same reason why our offense can't seem to put up huge statistics in our Spring Games. When you crowd the field with 7 defenders, its hard to find anything other than a check down. The same thing our defense has been doing to our offense is the same thing they have been doing to opposing teams. We are going to get you into 3rd and long and make you find a hole in our defense within a short amount of time while we bear down on you with our very talented pass rushers.

Well, that formula does not have the pieces this year. We are hurting at Defensive End. Inexperience, lack of bodies, and lack of talent. In a best case scenario, we need to hope that Darius English turns some heads when he walks onto the practice field in August (hopefully in the 250 lbs range at the very least). We need to hope that Jhaustin Thomas pulls a miracle and gets into school. Hopefully Blake McClain's recovery from foot surgery goes better than expected. Hopefully Devin Washington can stay healthy an entire camp. I think he is one more concussion away from being done with football. We have a lot of ifs right now. Its not out of the realm of possibility that Darius English, Gerald Dixon, and David Johnson are the only every down DE's we have all season. Cedric Cooper and Mason Harris are tweeners that may or may not contribute at all this year. In fact they are probably more suitable for the BOB Linebacker than DE. Do you really feel optimistic with this group? There are no game changers and there isn't anyone you really have to plan for. If I am an opposing offense, I'm going to run right at these guys and then hit our linebackers with playaction all year long because there is no one that I fear right now breaking through and getting to my QB.

In the case of our linebackers, there is no question that they are better but we need to hope that their bodies can catch up. Skai Moore, for as good as he was, looked like a strong safety/SPUR more than a WILL linebacker last year. TJ Holloman is still on the slim side as is Marcquis Roberts (he would be a great BOB linebacker, IMO). Both of those guys were inconsistent with their play all year. They both have good noses for the football but when they get in position to make play, they just have a brain fart or something and whiff / over pursue / arm tackle .. Physically, Kaiwan Lewis and Johnathan Walton are our most physically impressive linebackers but Walton lacks snaps and Lewis has been just as inconsistent as Holloman and Roberts. I think there is a very good chance that Walton and Moore will be our starters before the year is over. I also expect us to eventually end up playing 2 SPUR linebackers so we can get Diggs and Bryant on the field (two more physically ready players) because they are improving at an accelerated pace.

With all of the talk about the 3-4 we don't have the size (and I'd argue the athleticism) to make it a base defense. Schools like Alabama and Georgia take projected Defensive Ends and put them on the outside. So you have 6'2 - 6'3 240-250+ pound monsters roaming around. We don't have that which is why we are not going to see the 3-4 as a base. Its a look they want to deploy when teams are put into obvious passing situations so we can overload one side and hopefully get the offense caught up in more defenders than blockers. I also expect more blitzing from the Secondary than we have been accustomed to.

Until shown otherwise, I think many OCs are going to audible to a draw play or just straight hand off when they see us in the 3-4.

While I have concerns about Corner, I think the secondary is going to be terrific eventually this year. The defensive end position won't improve much by Week 5 but I bet the secondary will. I think Brison Williams, Chaz Elder, TJ Gurley, and Rico McWilliams can be as good of a starting unit as what we've had in the past. With Marcus, J. Smith, Moody, Groves (hopefully), Sasser, Smalls, Harris, Green, Lammons, and D. Smith all providing depth, we should be good to go bodies wise. If we can bring those freshmen along and not force them to take on a big role we will be fine.

Coach Ward needs to find a way to bridge the gap from this year to next when he gets some reinforcements in here at Defensive End. This year, IMO, is his biggest coaching challenge to date. He has got to find ways to get to the passer. I'm confident that he will field at Top 25 defense but I don't think its going to be pretty. I think its going to be one of those years where we look at the final statistics and say 'wow, we ended up in the Top 25?'
http://www.cfbstats.com/2009/team/648/roster.html

Our 2009 roster, our LBs with the exception of Eric Norwood were diminutive. We had only one DT that weighed more than 300 pounds and two DEs that weighed more than 240, (280 on a 6'8" frame and 249) Devin Taylor was second string and on the field often at 232. That defense was damn good, they would've been better if our offense could play ball control the way it will next year. Our LBs got better throughout the year, and weren't terrible early on, they just stopped playing if we were up going into the fourth. The coaches think all English needs to be a game changer is to get over 240. We won't have the communication issues we had in the early goings last year because we have the experience you need at safety and linebacker to help set the defense, we're young at the places where you can get away with it. Will we take a step back? Yes, but the theme of this thread is it won't be drastic enough to make an 8-win season optimistic. And I would be surprised if our scoring, not total, defense is not in the top 3 of the conference. And Ward would never run the 3-4 as a base under any circumstances, it's vulnerable to hurry-ups and the 4-2-5 is not only the only system he's ever coached in but has worked out greatly and consistently for us.
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Old 06-03-2014, 01:53 PM   #43
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Default Re: Our Linebackers and Defense this year.

We had a very young team last year and won 11 games. This year's team will be fine barring no major injuries.
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Old 06-03-2014, 02:33 PM   #44
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Default Re: Our Linebackers and Defense this year.

Whammy better be ready to jump out of a 3-4 scheme as soon as it starts to fail. Alabama gets away with it for the same reason NFL teams can run it, their LBs are HUGE. 250 average. UGA had lots of talent and got ran all over thanks to a 3-4. We are TOO SMALL FOR THIS PACKAGE. We might as well be running a prevent D. Also, this will be Whammy's first year without any Ellis players.
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Old 06-03-2014, 02:41 PM   #45
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Default Re: Our Linebackers and Defense this year.

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Originally Posted by Harry Tuttle View Post
Whammy better be ready to jump out of a 3-4 scheme as soon as it starts to fail. Alabama gets away with it for the same reason NFL teams can run it, their LBs are HUGE. 250 average. UGA had lots of talent and got ran all over thanks to a 3-4. We are TOO SMALL FOR THIS PACKAGE. We might as well be running a prevent D. Also, this will be Whammy's first year without any Ellis players.
I would look for it on 3rd and long, where the likelihood of running it in the teeth is not as likely. It also lets you disguise who is coming after the QB better.
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Old 06-03-2014, 03:08 PM   #46
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Default Re: Our Linebackers and Defense this year.

A lot of ya'll keep mentioning Bama and the 3-4. They only run a base 3-4 defense about 1/3 of the time.

And btw, I think coach ward would be smart enough to know if we didn't have to personnel to run a 3-4 (size included). We have so much depth at DT that we could run 3 DT's out there for a couple plays and stand up the DE's to be OLB's. Nobody is saying that our DE's have to be DE's in a 3-4. Don't you think Ward would know if they weren't strong enough to play that roll?

In today's college football, if you are too vanilla with your defensive scheme's offensive coordinators will pick you apart with these new offenses.
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Old 06-03-2014, 04:42 PM   #47
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Default Re: Our Linebackers and Defense this year.

It seems like we are using the 3-4 mainly as a way to confuse offensive line blocking assignments on passing downs, or against the smashmouth spread teams (Clemp, Auburn) to confuse their option assignments.
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Old 06-03-2014, 05:04 PM   #48
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Default Re: Our Linebackers and Defense this year.

I'm not jumping off a cliff, but I'm expecting a drop in the Dline next year...simply because we lost an NFL caliber guy in Quarles and a phenom in Clowney.

DT I feel pretty good about with the depth with Dixon Jr, Suratt, Dukes, Griffin and Lamin.
DE though is an issue...we aren't sure what we will get with English, or Dixon. Can Cooper be a viable option? Can Mason Harris be a pass-rush specialist with his low weight?

What will guys like Gerald Turner, Devin Washington and David Johnson bring to the table?

This isn't being negative, we simply don't know what our guys bring to the table.

Also, CB is an issue...we don't know what Rico, Ali, Jamari and the freshmen bring to the table. We know what Elder, Williams, Gurley and Marcus bring at safety, but in today's football, you need at least three quality corners, and right now, we have nothing but unknowns at the position.
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Old 06-03-2014, 06:14 PM   #49
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Default Re: Our Linebackers and Defense this year.

I think we should post all these negative posts in the players' locker room and for all the players you all degrade, judge, label, etc. that it provides motivation to them. All of these boys are true athletes and blessed to be in the position they are in, otherwise they wouldn't be at USC. Whether you think they are undersized, unathletic, injury prone, SEC potential or whatever, remember this- YOU do not have the final say. My mom always told me that you can't please everyone and its so obvious that people will judge you when you dont live up to "their" expectations. Not all of them will make it to the NFL- so what, not all of them will play like Clowney or other great players- so what. The least you can do is provide them encouragement. You think they like hearing they need to gain weight, try to avoid getting hurt, etc each and every day? Believe me, they are trying to do all of that but understand its a GAME, its not the end of the world. I appreciate their hard work and dedication to this University each and every day. And if either of them chose not to or couldn't play football tomorrow, that's ok with me too. Relax people.

Last edited by Makavelli; 06-03-2014 at 06:17 PM. Reason: Grammar
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Old 06-03-2014, 06:21 PM   #50
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Default Re: Our Linebackers and Defense this year.

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It seems like we are using the 3-4 mainly as a way to confuse offensive line blocking assignments on passing downs, or against the smashmouth spread teams (Clemp, Auburn) to confuse their option assignments.
Exactly, Ward said he wants to use it for passing downs so they don't know where the fourth blitzer is coming from, Kirby Smart sights this as the true strength of the 3-4, but I didn't even consider the lateral quickness it would afford which could help against the spread option. Points.
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Old 06-03-2014, 06:24 PM   #51
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Default Re: Our Linebackers and Defense this year.

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A lot of ya'll keep mentioning Bama and the 3-4. They only run a base 3-4 defense about 1/3 of the time.

And btw, I think coach ward would be smart enough to know if we didn't have to personnel to run a 3-4 (size included). We have so much depth at DT that we could run 3 DT's out there for a couple plays and stand up the DE's to be OLB's. Nobody is saying that our DE's have to be DE's in a 3-4. Don't you think Ward would know if they weren't strong enough to play that roll?

In today's college football, if you are too vanilla with your defensive scheme's offensive coordinators will pick you apart with these new offenses.
Just because their BUCK lines up on the LOS, it doesn't mean it isn't a 3-4, fronts don't dictate base, personnel does. It's like how even when the SPUR acts as a Sam linebacker in the box or over the tackle, it doesn't mean we're a 4-3, we're still a hybrid 4-2-5 in a 4-3 alignment.
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Old 06-03-2014, 06:27 PM   #52
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Default Re: Our Linebackers and Defense this year.

Quit labeling players as "injury prone." I hate when i hear that. This is football and you think people want to get hurt? A person has a concussion and was very cautious on the healing of it so now they are injury prone? I bet almost every player on any football team has had concussions or an injury of some sort and probably just played through it. My understanding this is what D. Washington did and probably to please people like you, he kept playing and made it worse. So please, please don't label anyone that. So what if you get several injuries in your football career? It is a brutal sport. There are a lot of players who cant play football again today because they were seriously hurt, paralyzed or crippled- were they injury prone too? That is so unfair to these kids. And how can you judge a kid as not being physical enough for the SEC when he never even played in a game? Man- I dont know what to say. I just hope these kids don't read this stuff and if they do it serves as motivation. I just ask that we be positive and not so demoralizing to them.
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Old 06-03-2014, 06:41 PM   #53
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Default Re: Our Linebackers and Defense this year.

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Just because their BUCK lines up on the LOS, it doesn't mean it isn't a 3-4, fronts don't dictate base, personnel does. It's like how even when the SPUR acts as a Sam linebacker in the box or over the tackle, it doesn't mean we're a 4-3, we're still a hybrid 4-2-5 in a 4-3 alignment.
What I posted wasn't from my mouth. It was from an analyst on ESPN, so take it up with him. I tend to believe experts when they say something.

My point was that the spread offenses today are dictating what personnel d-coordinators put on the field. You only want to cover a shifty slot receiver with a slow linebacker at most on 1st and maybe 2nd down.

There are way more nickel and dime coverage today than anything else.
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Old 06-03-2014, 06:54 PM   #54
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Default Re: Our Linebackers and Defense this year.

One thing that impressed me about our young LBs last season was Moore, Lewis, and Holloman combined for NINE (9) INTs! We've had secondaries that have had fewer season totals than that in the past...
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Old 06-03-2014, 06:56 PM   #55
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Default Re: Our Linebackers and Defense this year.

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Quit labeling players as "injury prone." I hate when i hear that. This is football and you think people want to get hurt? A person has a concussion and was very cautious on the healing of it so now they are injury prone? I bet almost every player on any football team has had concussions or an injury of some sort and probably just played through it. My understanding this is what D. Washington did and probably to please people like you, he kept playing and made it worse. So please, please don't label anyone that. So what if you get several injuries in your football career? It is a brutal sport. There are a lot of players who cant play football again today because they were seriously hurt, paralyzed or crippled- were they injury prone too? That is so unfair to these kids. And how can you judge a kid as not being physical enough for the SEC when he never even played in a game? Man- I dont know what to say. I just hope these kids don't read this stuff and if they do it serves as motivation. I just ask that we be positive and not so demoralizing to them.
exactly who said we were injury prone....once a person has sustained a concussion, it's a proven fact they are more likely to get one again.
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Old 06-03-2014, 08:39 PM   #56
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Default Re: Our Linebackers and Defense this year.

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exactly who said we were injury prone....once a person has sustained a concussion, it's a proven fact they are more likely to get one again.
That is true and in that case every kid is injury prone as I can assure you ever player has sustained some sort of head injury-which in medical terms is a concussion (whether very mild or severe) so we cant label 1 kid injury prone and not all. That's all I am saying. Again its just ashame they have to be labeled but if they are making tackles, sacks, catching touchdowns, getting interceptions and winning, it doesnt really matter I guess. When they aren't, then they get the label...sad.
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Old 06-03-2014, 09:27 PM   #57
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Default Re: Our Linebackers and Defense this year.

Bama has run a lot of defenses since Saban got there. When they won in 2011 their base D was a 3-4 and sometimes they'd go 4-2-5. Last year they were base 4-2-5.
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Old 06-03-2014, 11:05 PM   #58
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Default Re: Our Linebackers and Defense this year.

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That is true and in that case every kid is injury prone as I can assure you ever player has sustained some sort of head injury-which in medical terms is a concussion (whether very mild or severe) so we cant label 1 kid injury prone and not all. That's all I am saying. Again its just ashame they have to be labeled but if they are making tackles, sacks, catching touchdowns, getting interceptions and winning, it doesnt really matter I guess. When they aren't, then they get the label...sad.
my reading of those posts didn't seem written in a negative way regarding being injury prone. Devin Washington went through a lot last year.....many of us thought he might be out of football for good. I have seen nothing but a tremendous amount of support for him this year. I know you haven't had a chance to read those older threads or posts, but I think you'll find most of the folks on here support the players, with or without injuries.
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Old 06-04-2014, 12:57 AM   #59
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Default Re: Our Linebackers and Defense this year.

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One thing that impressed me about our young LBs last season was Moore, Lewis, and Holloman combined for NINE (9) INTs! We've had secondaries that have had fewer season totals than that in the past...
Throw in 12.5 TFL and 2.5 sacks, I think our Dline will do just like our LB's did last year and prove to be pretty good. I think we have a few stars in the making in Surratt and English, throw in the Dixon brothers, Griffith, Lamin and Dukes and that is a ton of talent and size. I hope Cooper and Harris, who appear to have worked hard in the offseason have breakout years big linebackers. I think you could pick 3 of the following to play DL(all over 295lbs) Griffith, Surratt, Johnson, Lamin, Green, and Dukes with Cooper, Harris, Washington, Turner, Dixon or Turner and we are a huge DL. I think it is the Clowney effect that makes it impossible for anyone to believe we will not take a step back at DL, understandably. I see 12 letters on the 2 deep at DL, we should have depth and experience, if all the FR DL get on campus it should make the DL practices very competitive IMO but only time will tell.
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Old 06-04-2014, 01:13 AM   #60
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Default Re: Our Linebackers and Defense this year.

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Quit labeling players as "injury prone." I hate when i hear that. This is football and you think people want to get hurt? A person has a concussion and was very cautious on the healing of it so now they are injury prone? I bet almost every player on any football team has had concussions or an injury of some sort and probably just played through it. My understanding this is what D. Washington did and probably to please people like you, he kept playing and made it worse. So please, please don't label anyone that. So what if you get several injuries in your football career? It is a brutal sport. There are a lot of players who cant play football again today because they were seriously hurt, paralyzed or crippled- were they injury prone too? That is so unfair to these kids. And how can you judge a kid as not being physical enough for the SEC when he never even played in a game? Man- I dont know what to say. I just hope these kids don't read this stuff and if they do it serves as motivation. I just ask that we be positive and not so demoralizing to them.
Injury prone tends to mean a player has a constitution, or just bad luck for continually getting injured. It's not an insult, it just happens.
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