Today, we give you a reason to worry.
Many of you touched on it in your comments: the defense.
Specifically that it hasn’t shown much improvement from last season. A look:
|Points per game||26.2||24.8|
|Average per rush||4.6||4.9|
|Average per game||169.7||151.6|
|Rushing TDs allowed||24||17|
|Average per pass||7.3||7.3|
|Average per game||209||208.6|
|Passing TDs allowed||14||23|
|Average per play||5.8||6.1|
|Average per game||378.7||360.3|
|3rd down conv. %||40||41|
|Red zone-scores %||78||83|
|Red zone-TD %||61||53|
Factor in that three starters in the secondary will be gone, as well as two linebackers, and it will be interesting to see who next year’s starters will be and if there will be improvement.
The transition in the secondary may be smooth because true freshman Isaiah Johnson played a lot this season at safety, where Mario Edwards has used up his eligibility. Jemea Thomas will be back from his redshirt year, as well. At the corners, Rod Sweeting and Louis Young should be able to step in, and there are a slew of other veterans including Michael Peterson and the versatile Rashaad Reid.
Who will take Brad Jefferson’s place at inside linebacker? He leads the team in tackles and is the defense’s leader as well. Kyle Jackson started the season beside him, but was slotted to the bench early never to be seen again. True freshman Quayshawn Nealy could step in to tandem with Julian Burnett. So could Brandon Watts, who also started a few games. Frankly, I think Watts’ athleticism better suits him for an outside linebacker spot, but that’s just my opinion.
Defensive coordinator Al Groh said it would likely take two years for the players to reach a point where instincts would kick in.
What do you think? Will the defense be better next season?