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BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: Getting to Know your New Defensive Starters

Yesterday, I showed you a little more about the new faces on the starting unit on the offensive side of the ball, many of whom have recorded serious playing in previous seasons.  I am very confident the offense will be just fine this season, so long as the QB play is decent.  Today, we take a look at the 6 new defensive starters coming out of Spring ball.  I’ll give you my thoughts after you read through some previous experience for these guys:

TACKLE
Mark Crawford (6’1”, 293 lbs, Junior)
Hometown: Indianapolis, Indiana
2009: Played in 13 games, 16 tackles

DEFENSIVE END
Collins Ukwu (6’5”, 249 lbs, Sophomore)
Hometown: La Vergne, Tennessee
2008: Redshirted
2009: Played in 13 games, 3 STARTS, 14 tackles, 1 sack

LINEBACKER
Jacob Dufrene (6’1”, 211 lbs, Senior)
Hometown: Cut Off, Louisiana
2007: Played in 10 games, 3 tackles
2008: Played in 13 games, 1 tackle
2009: Played in 13 games, 1 START, 9 tackles

LINEBACKER
Ronnie Snead (6’2”, 231 lbs, Junior)
Hometown: Tallahassee, Florida
2007: Redshirted
2008: Played in 1 game, 1 tackle
2009: Played in 11 games, 14 tackles

CORNERBACK
Martavious Neloms (6’1”, 184 lbs, Sophomore)
Hometown: Memphis, Tennessee
2009: Played in 10 games, 1 START, 14 tackles

SAFETY
Taeido Smith (6’0”, 188 lbs, Sophomore)
Hometown: Dunnellon, Florida
2007: Redshirted
2008: Played in 7 games, 1 START, 4 tackles

2 on the line, 2 in the middle, and 2 in the defensive backfield.  That’s how the 6 new starters shake out, and that worries me because that means that all 3 units are relatively new.  Whereas in the past, a strong, experienced linebacking core could pick up the slack of a less than stellar defensive line, that doesn’t exist coming into this season.  No longer can Trevard Lindley play his man one on one with no help.  As a whole, for this defensive unit to be successful, there is going to have to be a great TEAM effort.  Poor tackling will be a disaster for this group, as would blown assignments.  What is the strength of this defense?  I can’t say because all of these new guys (sans Ukwu) have very little experience.  How will they react against Louisville, or SEC offenses.  I fully think this season hinges on the defense and its ability to prevent the big play.  These 6 new guys have to blend in quickly for this to be a successful season.

Article written by Bryan the Intern