Position Analysis: Defensive Backs
Like last year, this offseason I will roll out a series of position reports to give you my analysis, expectations and hopefully point out something you did not know. This installment covers the Defensive Backs. (Read Part I: WRs and TEs here, and Part II: Running Backs here, Part III: Defensive Line here, Part IV: Special Teams here, Part V: Linebackers here, Part VI: Quarterbacks here, Part VII: Offensive Line here).
CB -- Dejaun Tribble, JR, 5’9, 189 lbs
FS -- Jamie Silva, JR, 5’11, 205 lbs
SS -- Ryan Glasper, SR, 6’0, 207 lbs
CB -- Larry Anam, SR, 6’0, 192 lbs
Other guys who should see time
CB -- Taji Morris, JR, 5’10, 180 lbs
CB -- Razzie Smith, FR, 5’9, 174 lbs
CB -- Brad Mueller, JR, 5’11, 175 lbs
S -- Paul Anderson, SO, 6’1, 207 lbs
S -- Marty Bowman, FR, 6’2, 208 lbs
The BC Secondary is often the victim of design. Let me explain. Last season we ranked 9th in the ACC in passing. You would figure that this meant our guys couldn’t hang in the new conference. Not exactly. The ranking is driven by yards allowed in the air, for which BC allowed 217 a game (in conference). However, the guys only allowed 2.9 yards per catch -- tied for 3rd in the conference. This speaks to the bend but don’t break philosophy. Spaz asks the guys to play soft coverage but swarm the ball as soon as it is caught. Teams will dink and dunk on us up and down the field (the high pass yardage allowed), yet we play the odds that the drives will stall out and we will avoid the big play and score. It works well, for the most part. Hence when ranking the units Athlon and The Sporting News both picked our defensive backs as 3rd overall in the ACC.
The unit loses only one key contributor from last year (one of my favorites Jazzmen Williams). Into his corner spot steps Larry Anam. Anam is a converted safety who has had a few moments in the starting lineup. I often felt he looked lost out there and was a poor tackler. The move to corner should help since his assignments will be simpler (and in Larry’s defense he did improve his tackling last season).
The heart of the secondary is our two outstanding safeties: Jamie Silva and Ryan Glasper. Silva is nearly a fourth linebacker as he is quick to support the run and led the team in tackles. Glasper doesn’t get much pub but is very solid. These two play very well together and have good instincts. In fact the only game last year where they seemed out of sync was the bowl in Boise.
The other corner spot goes to Dejuan Tribble. Tribble is one of the most talented guys on the team. He had a bit of a sophomore slump and some have wondered if he is too restricted by our system (which puts in the corners in a lot of soft zones). I expect a big year (and no move to WR in his senior season).
The second team guys are a little more of a question mark. The secondary did not substitute nearly as often as the D-line and LBs did last season. Mueller and Anderson have looked adequate in their limited time. I’ve heard great things about Razzie Smith although he has never played a down. Taji Morris showed improvement through the season. Still, none of these guys are known commodities. Hopefully they will get worked in and prove themselves.
There is probably more speed in the secondary than we’ve had in years. Tribble can run with anyone in the ACC and Anam provides good size for a corner (now if he can just put it all together).
The secondary lost two of its biggest friends in Kiwi and Ray Henderson. Kiwi sparked the rush on passing downs and Henderson was practically a third safety on passing downs. Those voides will hurt almost as much as Williams. However, the group is experienced and talented and should really come into its own this season.