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Let's Talk Defense


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We could talk all day long on our offense for next year. The talent is stacked in every aspect of the game, offensive line, quarterback, running back, receiver and tight end. The new offensive coordinator could take us to a level we have not seen in decades, but it seems we know much less about our defense and its capabilities next year. I'm just throwing out my thoughts and asking for yours.

 

Last year we were stoked after the beat down and shut out of Michigan and our new hire Van Gorder. Then, things started falling apart. We had a lot of injuries and we played 11 freshmen. Obviously, we will be better next year because we return so many starters and all these freshmen are no longer freshmen. But how good will this defense be?? We don't have the 5 star defensive linemen that we had in 2012, but can we be as good or better??

 

Can we stop the run??

 

We have an amazing 19 players for the 4 defensive line positions. That is an amazing 5 guys (almost) per position. That is unheard of. Kelly really goes after a position with numbers that seems to be a weakness. He did this a couple years ago with safeties. He's loading up now at running back and a couple years ago he brought in 5 offensive linemen, but we have really hit defensive line hard with numbers including 5 guys this year with Tillery moving to D. tackle.

 

We all know about Sheldon Day and Jarron Jones. That's a great way to start things out, but Jarron is hurt and this will allow a lot of reps for somebody else in spring ball. I'm thinking it just might be Tillery, but we have other interesting options. I'm hearing that Jonathan Bonner is now up to 280 and is keeping his speed. This kid was supposed to be a linebacker but he just keeps getting bigger. Is said to have a very good vertical leap.

 

Let's not forget Isaac Rochell. He should be pushing 295 come fall and is an absolute beast when it comes to strength. He's only going to be better because he was so young last year.

 

How about Trumbetti. I see him getting to 265 for next year. He was so close to making some plays last year as a true freshman and now he has a year under his belt.

 

Jay Hayes took off the red shirt last year and now he is a sophomore with a big upside. He was a 4 star recruit. Should be around 265 this year.

 

Somebody you haven't seen is Jhonny Williams. This sleeper could be the knock out of this class because he can flat out run. He has great length and athleticism. He will play at about 260 and come off the edge. So many tools.

 

Last year Jacob Matuska caught my eye. He played late in the year and when he would come in he was getting some pressure. He looked pretty quick and he has good size. Should play at about 295 this year. He's better than you think!!!

 

So basically I look for a huge improvement on the line. So many bodies and so much competition. So many different types of athletes. I think we are going to be much harder to run on and we will get pressure from our front 4. Not sure how much improvement but it could be substantial. I bet Van Gorder is chomping at the bit to atone for the collapse in 2014.

 

I will address line backing later and then defensive back, but I will say both areas are in for an upgrade.

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Defense has issues Oklahoma.

 

We should be solid on the DLINE but still....

 

BVG seemed totally unable to prepare his team for up tempo play---we can certainly expect that any teams we play capable of that will give us as fast a tempo as they can....the BVG scheme had a big dose of tenuta blitzes that came up short leaving big openings at 10 & 15 yards.

 

Of course MLB play after Schmidt went down was mostly HORRIBLE---Niles Morgan looks like he should be good but its really unclear if next year will be his year or if we have to wait another year, he had a long, long way to go. Joe S again we have to wait to see what comes out of his injury. And we can't expect anything from grace.

 

Its great we will get Kievarae back and of course Jaylon is there ,,,, but safety was a mess last year and all the potential of redfield and shumate is still nothing but potential....Butler was pretty weak as the relief corner.

 

The scheme of BVG is still a BIG QUESTION MARK---looking good for a awhile but against tempo and with some injuries it was about AS BAD AS IT GETS!

 

We certainly can't make the mistake of expecting FRESHMAN to be much help, we went down that road last season---so its up to the guys that played to play much much better.

 

I think its SAFE to expect us to be better then last year, but can we be good enough to underpin double digit wins is just TOTALLY UNCLEAR!

 

Spring won't tell us much about the defense other then its health---we are going to have to wait till fall and see what actually happens ---on paper we can have some optimism, but after the fiasco of the 2014 defense they are going to have to prove things on the field.

 

My expectations are that we will be slightly above average on defense but not really a strong defensive team.

 

aloha's

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Defense has issues Oklahoma.

 

We should be solid on the DLINE but still....

 

BVG seemed totally unable to prepare his team for up tempo play---we can certainly expect that any teams we play capable of that will give us as fast a tempo as they can....the BVG scheme had a big dose of tenuta blitzes that came up short leaving big openings at 10 & 15 yards.

 

Of course MLB play after Schmidt went down was mostly HORRIBLE---Niles Morgan looks like he should be good but its really unclear if next year will be his year or if we have to wait another year, he had a long, long way to go. Joe S again we have to wait to see what comes out of his injury. And we can't expect anything from grace.

 

Its great we will get Kievarae back and of course Jaylon is there ,,,, but safety was a mess last year and all the potential of redfield and shumate is still nothing but potential....Butler was pretty weak as the relief corner.

 

The scheme of BVG is still a BIG QUESTION MARK---looking good for a awhile but against tempo and with some injuries it was about AS BAD AS IT GETS!

 

We certainly can't make the mistake of expecting FRESHMAN to be much help, we went down that road last season---so its up to the guys that played to play much much better.

 

I think its SAFE to expect us to be better then last year, but can we be good enough to underpin double digit wins is just TOTALLY UNCLEAR!

 

Spring won't tell us much about the defense other then its health---we are going to have to wait till fall and see what actually happens ---on paper we can have some optimism, but after the fiasco of the 2014 defense they are going to have to prove things on the field.

 

My expectations are that we will be slightly above average on defense but not really a strong defensive team.

 

aloha's

Getting Keivarae Russell, Ishaq Williams, along with Joe Schmidt returning and another year for Jaylon in the system along with the entire defense is going to do wonders for the defense. Sprinkle in healthy Jarron Jones and Sheldon Day's beautiful decision to return to South Bend is enormous for the defense. Also, we have a stud d-tackle coming in Tillery, 3 superb linebackers, and a great corner in Crawford we should be fine at defense. This defense won't be the 1985 Bears, but I think they will do quite well. BVG will make adjustments and deal with tempo. Having Schmidt back will help a ton. The defense went downhill badly when he went out. Nyles Morgan was nowhere close to being ready last year. I expect a nice jump from him this season also.
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Getting Keivarae Russell, Ishaq Williams, along with Joe Schmidt returning and another year for Jaylon in the system along with the entire defense is going to do wonders for the defense. Sprinkle in healthy Jarron Jones and Sheldon Day's beautiful decision to return to South Bend is enormous for the defense. Also, we have a stud d-tackle coming in Tillery, 3 superb linebackers, and a great corner in Crawford we should be fine at defense. This defense won't be the 1985 Bears, but I think they will do quite well. BVG will make adjustments and deal with tempo. Having Schmidt back will help a ton. The defense went downhill badly when he went out. Nyles Morgan was nowhere close to being ready last year. I expect a nice jump from him this season also.

 

I don`t think anyone could have expected the 2nd and 3rd string players to play up tempo as well as the starters. Opposing coaches knew that.

Losing Schmidt was bid and losing true freshman, Tranquill, at Safety was another big loss.

Getting 5 of the injured back for the LSU game was the reason that we won. Give credit to the run game if you like but without the 5 injured players back, we would have lost.

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I don`t think anyone could have expected the 2nd and 3rd string players to play up tempo as well as the starters. Opposing coaches knew that.

Losing Schmidt was bid and losing true freshman, Tranquill, at Safety was another big loss.

Getting 5 of the injured back for the LSU game was the reason that we won. Give credit to the run game if you like but without the 5 injured players back, we would have lost.

They played better then they had been the several games before, however they still gave up nearly 300 yards rushing and got very lucky at the end of the 1st half not to allow any points. Again, getting Schmidt back and healthy along with Russell, Tranquill, Day, etc. for next year along with another year in the system will help out a lot. I think the defense will surprise teams. Also, I attribute a lot of the Music City bowl game to committing to the run, not turning the ball over, and time of possession. Mike Sanford is committed to the run. I have a feeling he's going to like Malik Zaire a lot along with Tarean Folston.
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Let's not forget, I was ready to give BVG a lifetime contract after Michigan.

 

The defense was really good for 4-5 games. I think we've let injuries cloud our judgement.

 

ND has an All-American type along the DL. An All-American at LB. An All-Amercial type at DB.

 

Then they have a number of big bodies to develop along the line.

 

Their captain comes back at LB, who will be pushed by a younger guy with more talent.

 

The DBs all have amazing physical tools, hopefully reps and experience brings the rest along.

 

Essentially, ND has an elite defense just waiting to emerge.

 

Whether they do is up to BVG and the staff.

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IMO its wishful thinking expecting anything close to " elite" from our defense.

 

We don't have a monster pass rush or an elite pass rusher.....

 

Our ability to employ the BVG scheme to great effect has not shown.

 

Our secondary's best player will be coming off a year off...

 

Safety & LB especially have not shown up beyond Jaylon---

 

I like Joe but he needed ALL of his tools to play at the level he did.... his injury was serious and that has to leave big doubts about his return to form...

 

We have a few stars and a lot of bodies so that should help....

 

I could see us making it as a TOP 50 defense---but TOP 30 is a reach....& an elite TOP 15 defense...just seems like an unrealistic jump in performance.

 

Aloha's

Edited by hawaiiirish
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IMO its wishful thinking expecting anything close to " elite" from our defense.

 

We don't have a monster pass rush or an elite pass rusher.....

 

Our ability to employ the BVG scheme to great effect has not shown.

 

Our secondary's best player will be coming off a year off...

 

Safety & LB especially have not shown up beyond Jaylon---

 

I like Joe but he needed ALL of his tools to play at the level he did.... his injury was serious and that has to leave big doubts about his return to form...

 

We have a few stars and a lot of bodies so that should help....

 

I could see us making it as a TOP 50 defense---but TOP 30 is a reach....& an elite TOP 15 defense...just seems like an unrealistic jump in performance.

 

Aloha's

 

Who is this imposter calling himself Hawaii?

Lots of rain in this Hawaiian post.

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IMO its wishful thinking expecting anything close to " elite" from our defense.

 

We don't have a monster pass rush or an elite pass rusher.....

 

Our ability to employ the BVG scheme to great effect has not shown.

 

Our secondary's best player will be coming off a year off...

 

Safety & LB especially have not shown up beyond Jaylon---

 

I like Joe but he needed ALL of his tools to play at the level he did.... his injury was serious and that has to leave big doubts about his return to form...

 

We have a few stars and a lot of bodies so that should help....

 

I could see us making it as a TOP 50 defense---but TOP 30 is a reach....& an elite TOP 15 defense...just seems like an unrealistic jump in performance.

 

Aloha's

 

I can see where you are coming from.

 

I just think the parts are there to have a top tier defense. A great defense is solid up the middle, Jones and Day should be one of the better DT tandems in the nation.

 

A solid defense can play man-man on the outside to bring extra pressure. Russell and Luke should be able to hold up in that regard.

 

A solid defense has a guy or two that can go sideline to sideline and make up for mistakes. Jaylon Smith can do that.

 

So you have all the parts to have a really solid defense. Now, I'd agree many of those parts have some questions about them. However, I think if you got "about" what you'd expect from everyone, the defense will be really good.

 

It is basically the same D as last year, with more experience. That defense was really good for a while. Then injuries took their toll. The DB's couldn't play man, so BVG couldn't blitz as much. The DL couldn't stop the run, so teams weren't getting into 2nd and 3rd and long. Lack of depth hurt vs uptempo.

 

I think fixing those three issues, which seem to have been addressed, will go a long way to having the defense from the first 4-5 games show up.

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Rather blown away by Hawaii's post. How did you feel after the Michigan game Hawaii. We literally were playing freshmen and even losing some of them like Tranquill. How about the LSU game???? Did you not see vast improvement???

 

I failed to factor in Ishaq Williams. The reason was I got a negative vibe from Irish Illustrated that he might not be back. They said his situation is much more complicated then that of KieVarae. You just don't know about this X factor. He could come back at 290 pounds and make a huge push for the NFL. He could be that quarterback pressure from a 4 man front without having to blitz. We just don't know.

 

I trust, somewhat, in Van Gorder. I think we will be much more prepared for the up tempo offenses. I know this, I hope we have it together when we play Georgia Tech. They are getting scary good on offense.

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Yes, this certainly sounds like 'Bizarro Hawaii'.

 

I don't think anyone expected the freshman to be much help or play as much as many minutes as they had to.

 

I don't believe the problem was BVG's scheme per se. With all the injuries etc, he probably realized better than any of us how crippled the D was no matter what scheme he ran. Perhaps it was a conscious decision on the part of BVG/BK to continue to run their preferred D in order to get the freshmen, and the defense as a whole, experience in running BVG's D. I'm guessing they knew the defense was going to be bad last year after all the injuries no matter what they did.

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