This is the seventh part of my position by position breakdown of the 2008 roster.
Everyone feels great about our front seven and has a million worries about our secondary. Losing a playmaker and leader like Silva is tough, but there is some recent history and incoming talent that should be reassuring to all BC fans.
A recurring criticism of Spaz’s defense is the heavy use of zone coverage. The bend but don’t break philosophy may frustrate but its relative simplicity enables talented, good tackling DBs to play right away. Just look at what some recent contributors did as freshmen.
2007 – Gause: 13 games played, 39 tackles, 1 INT
2006 – Davis: 11 games played, 30 tackles
2004 – Silva: 12 games played, 43 tackles, 1 INT, 3 fumble recoveries
2003 – Glasper: 13 games played, 52 tackles, 1 INT, 1 fumble recovery
The talented group of incoming DBs and the lack of depth in the backfield should create an environment where this sort of contribution happens again.
S – Paul Anderson, SR, 6’1, 211lbs
S – Stephen Atkinson, FR, 6’1, 175lbs
S – Marty Bowman, JR, 6’2, 217lbs
S – Wes Davis, SO, 6’1, 215lbs
S – Donte Elliott, FR, 6’0, 178lbs
CB – Donnie Fletcher, FR, 6’1, 186lbs
S – Chris Fox, SO, 5’11, 201lbs
CB – DeLeon Gause, SO, 5’11, 174lbs
CB – Chris Hayden-Martin, FR, 6’1, 190lbs
CB – Isaac Johnson, FR, 6’0, 179lbs
S – Dominick LeGrande, FR, 6’2, 200lbs
CB - Okechukwu Okoroha, FR, 6’1, 192lbs
CB - Ugo Okpara, FR, 6’1, 163lbs
CB – Roderick Rollins, JR, 6’0, 188lbs
CB – Razzie Smith, JR, 5’10, 177lbs
Anderson’s experience works both ways for BC fans. He’s the most familiar name at the safety position, but we’ve all seen him struggle in the passing game. He’s an okay tackler and is in position often, but doesn’t have great speed and can be burned deep. Bowman has more skill, but less consistency. Wes Davis is a hard hitter and played very well as a freshmen. His season ended prematurely last year due to a head/neck injury. If he can build on the glimpses he showed as a freshmen, he could be in the mix on some all conference teams. Rollins didn't progress as much as I had hoped last year. He should see significant snaps this year. Hopefully he can be consistent. Razzie Smith will probably be a reserve again. Fox also worked his way back into the lineup after injury. Hopefully he can stay healthy this year. As for the new guys...where to start? I think at a minimum four true freshmen DBs will play. More could depending on their talent. I just don't know which ones will play and start. For what it is worth, Okoroha was the highest rated recruit. Fletcher enrolled early and played in the spring game. He is highly likely to play too. Isaac Johnson was also well regarded. Jags doesn't have the predilection for redshirts like the previous regime, so all could play. I hope to sideline one or two for depth reasons down the road. For us to get back to the ACC Championship Game, we need more than one to make an immediate impact.
Gause, Anderson, Rollins, Davis and Bowman would be a serviceable group by themselves. Add in a very promising group of freshmen and BC could have a defensive back that surprises the pundits and keeps our pass defense tough.