Thursday, July 12, 2007

2007 Position Previews: Defensive Backs

This is the fifth part of my position by position breakdown of the 2007 roster.

DEFENSIVE BACKS

The biggest complaint most BC fans have leveled against Defensive Coordinator Frank Spaziani is that he gives the opposing team too much cushion in pass coverage. With our talent at the cornerback position this year, some are hoping that Spaziani gets more aggressive. I am not expecting a change. On the contrary, I actually think we’ll see the same heavy zone-based pass coverage used under Spaz and TOB.

Overview

The biggest hole in the secondary will be the departure of Ryan Glasper. I am not too worried. The pass defense has been definition of consistent. Take a look at the past few years and defensive stats courtesy of Phil Steele’s preview.

YearAvg D PTSDefensive
Yards Per Catch
Defensive
Passing Yds
Pass %
200615.73.520360
200515.92.622161
200416.93.520458.3


The Players
S -- Paul Anderson, JR, 6’1, 210lbs
S -- Wes Davis, SO, 6’1, 205lbs
CB -- Chris Fox, FR, 5’11, 186lbs
CB -- Taji Morris, SR, 5’9, 181lbs
S -- Jamie Silva, SR, 5’11, 208lbs
CB -- Roderick Rollins, SO, 6’0, 170lbs
CB -- Razzie Smith, SO, 5’10, 178lbs
CB -- DeJaun Tribble, SR, 5’9, 190lbs

Tribble is the game changer. Undersized, he still does a good job with the top players in the conference. He’s become a much better tackler and run supporter over the years. When he picks off the ball, he’s liable to take it to the endzone. The only area where he still struggles is with bigger, physical players in endzone. But he’s still the best we've got and has a very good chance to be first team ACC. Paul Anderson is listed as the likely starter at Strong Safety, but I think he’ll split time with many of the younger players. Anderson has never shown great coverage skills and doesn’t provide the run support that Silva does. FS Jamie Silva is a very good player and one of the best discoveries of the TOB recruiting efforts. He’s got great understanding and is probably one of the hardest hitters in the conference. Silva’s one problem is freelancing and straying from his zone. Young Wes Davis showed great promise last year. He has good size and decent speed. I think he’ll be starting by November. The other corner spot opposite Tribble is a little less certain. Rollins developed well over the last season and posses good speed, but he is still very untested. The backups (who will see time) include Razzie Smith and Taji Morris. Neither are particularly fast nor good tacklers. Hopefully one of the will improve this season. Chris Fox is the most promising young player. The local kid redshirted last year. He’s small, but has good speed and comes from a football family.

Outlook
As I’ve said, I am excited about the whole defense. The secondary is young, but still very talented. Tribble and Silva both have a chance to be first-team ACC. And while some fans will still be frustrated by our coverage cushion, give Spaz and his players the benefit of the doubt. While the scheme lacks aggression, it’s been very productive for us the past five years.

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3 Comments:

At 6:46 AM, Blogger TLair said...

I doubt Chris Fox will be playing too much at least in the beginning of the season. He had one of the worst breaks that I've ever seen on his ankle in the Spring game.

 
At 9:07 AM, Blogger ATL_eagle said...

Good point Tlair. But having used his redshirt already I think they will try to get Fox on the field this year.

 
At 6:01 PM, Blogger Bravesbill said...

I think the departure of Glasper will hurt BC significantly more than you think. Remember, the BC pass defensive was atrocious (remember the NCST game) the 4 weeks before Glasper came back. Once Glasper returned, he anchored and helped significantly improve the pass defense. If Glasper had not come back, the pass defense would have been in a world of hurt and would have done much worse than last season's number suggest.

 

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