We do not have the best defense in the nation. Ok, we've got that out of the way.
Despite the giant dump that many sportscasters, opponents and fans have taken on our defense this year, there are a lot of positives there. I'm not arguing that Dave Wommack should not be feeling some heat, but in all honesty things could be worse and when it comes down to it, our defense has gotten the job done the entire year, and yes, has put us in the position to win a few times. Don't believe me? Ok, here we go.
(Heads up, these are in no particular order, have no structure, and are littered with some hyperbole. I've said enough bad things about our D this year to give them the Kool-Aid, gold glasses treatment at least once. Yep.)
Positive #1: Mario Butler has done his damnedest to be the man this year. Tied for 6th for solo tackles (24 on the season), he matches Jerrard Tarrant's and trails Morgan Burnett's numbers by only six. He has 2 of the 8 interceptions for this season, and has been pretty damn solid the entire year. Maybe I just didn't expect enough out of him, but I've been very surprised at how much he has contributed this season. I think it's safe to say that he is not playing in Morgan's shadow anymore.
Positive #2: Morgan Burnett's tackle on Riley Skinner on 3rd down in overtime. Ok, I'm not going to lie, I got pretty pissed when I saw him overrun what should have been a pretty easy tackle at Vandy. And I think we were all on the Morgan Burnett interception watch at the beginning of the season. Watching Morgan simply ignore a blocker and take down Skinner on that down was pretty inspiring. The block wasn't the best, but the Wake player was definitely in the right place to make the play. Burnett still strafed the field, slowing down and taking Skinner out a few yards before the first down. That play gave our offense the chance to make us all Paul Johnson worshipers once again. If you dont know what I'm talking about, click here and watch at 5:45.
Positive #3: DERRICK MORGAN WILL EAT YOU AND YOUR CHILDREN. In the meantime, he will lead the ACC in sacks, with 11.5 total going for 75 yards lost for other teams. It's getting that time where we start talking about the draft, and if there is one player that clearly looks like he is a pro still playing on the college field, it's Derrick.
Positive #4: Jason Peters's interception during the VPI game. More on that in a second. I just want to point out that Jason carries himself with a statesman-like quality. Seriously, if you've ever been around him, you think "Wow, this guy is not only smarter than me, he could beat the snot out of me with little to no effort." He's like the Kingpin or something. Anyway, that catch during the turkey carving may not have led to a score, but it kept our offense on the field. We needed all the touches we could get that night in order to allow the offense to get in it's groove. We are sitting at a +6 (20-14) turnover margin right now, and you really can't say enough about how important it is to get a hold of the ball. That kind of play will win us games, period. Oh yeah, did I mention Jason plays DT, and should really never have a chance for an interception? I was sure I did.
Positive #5: We actually adjust. Since the Miami game, we have given up 169 points. 106 of those have been in the first half, while the other 63 have been in the second. Only the Hokies scored more points on us in the second half than in the first. Also, only VPI and Mississippi State have scored more than 7 points on us in the 2nd half. I'd much rather be a second half team than a first half team, especially since only complete morons believe that this offense can't come back from a big deficit. (Ok, ok, I know - our offense is our best defense in the second half. We dominate TOP, especially in the 3rd and 4th quarters but damnit, somebody other than us gets the ball whenever we score. POSITIVITY PEOPLE, POSITIVITY.)
Got anything nice to say about Wommack or our defense?