Well, how about that. Bird knocked out the whole offense in one day. I'm not that productive, so here is a preview of a part of our defense.
Jacket fans that have been around a while remember the feast or famine style play of Tenuta's blitz-or-die schemes. When facing an offense with a weak line or quarterback, we literally could swallow teams whole. However, we all remember certain games, specifically some night games against BC and VPI, where a poised QB with decent receivers made our secondary look like an intramural team.
While we still blitz a good bit, we manage to play a little more tempered on defense. Under new DC Dave Wommack, we saw the defense a normal 4-3 last year (switching into the nickel a fair amount) with our secondary looked decent. Standout Morgan Burnett recorded 93 tackles (62 of which were solo tackles) and had 7 interceptions. While senior Jahi Word-Daniels fought injuries all season, other players like Rashaad Reid, Cooper Taylor, and Mario Butler stepped up and although the season wasn't exactly the prettiest on defense, it's definitely arguable that our competency level was just as high as any year under Tenuta.
The defense this year will see the introduction of a dedicated 5 man secondary, introducing the Wolf position, which is essentially a safety dedicated to supporting the outside and inside linebackers. It will be an interesting transition - we've typically relied heavily on strong linebacker corps, and with the loss of three NFL caliber linemen, I'm interested to see how the wolf position will shake out as far as run defense. The good news is that at one cornerback we have Rashaad Reid/Mario Butler, and at the other we have Gerrard Tarrant. Reid and Butler have good experience in the secondary for us and anyone who saw Tarrant (who was sidelined last season for dubious legal issues) in practice knows that he will be a solid addition to the secondary. At free safety we have Cooper Taylor (who was actually playing wolf in the spring), who clocked the the best scores on the team for both the 40 and the vertical and managed to pull of the biggest WTF play of last season.
Finally Morgan Burnett, who I want to hug every time I see him, will anchor the secondary at rover. All eyes will be on Burnett, who is easily one of the best 3 safeties in the nation, as last year he jumped to lead the nation with 2 picks in the first game against JSU. Can he keep the lead for the whole season this time? Can he do that while tackling basically anyone who dares to step more than 10 yards past our line? Look for him to save our butts one or two games this season.
This was just a quick look, by the way. Let us know what you think about our secondary. Specifically, what do you think about our depth?