Saturday, October 24, 2009

Moral Victory! mid-season review: Defense

Now it's time to preview the Commodore defense, which was supposed to be way better than the offense, and is.

Preseason rating — Music City Bowl; Potential — Cotton Bowl
Midseason rating — Independence Bowl
Vandy's got tough, undersized tackles with good motors, and the coaches do a good job of moving them around and putting them in the position to make plays. But they don't do what Boston College's tackles did against us in last year's bowl or what four sets of SEC defensive tackles have done against us so far this year, which is win the battle of the line of scrimmage. These guys are playing well, but we'd rated them too high at the start of the season.

Preseason rating — Music City Bowl; Potential: Cotton Bowl
Midseason rating — Broderick Stewart still scares opposing teams with his speed, and Tim Fugger has filled in nicely. Also, redshirt frosh Johnell Thomas has been a very nice surprise. And Steven Stone hasn't even played a snap yet, but is expected to return in a week or so.

Preseason rating — Cotton Bowl; Potential: BCS Bowl
Midseason rating — Cotton Bowl
Our linebackers are rock solid. Marve is a beast and is poised to be an All-American candidate next season, and Benoist and Trice are all over the field making plays. And redshirt frosh Archibald Barnes has been a nice surprise. The only downside: Our backers are on the small side, which is noticeable when your defensive line doesn't dominate the line of scrimmage and your backers are making lots of open tackles on guys like Anthony Dixon.

Preseason rating: Independence Bowl; Potential: Cotton Bowl
Midseason rating: Music City Bowl
The secondary has improved, which is remarkable considering that Ryan Hamilton's gone for the season and Jamie Graham has moved back to offense. Casey Hayward and Sean Richardson have been outstanding, Myron Lewis has been his usual self, and Joel Caldwell has stepped up his game since replacing Hamilton. But the key: true freshmen Eddie Foster, Eric Samuels and Trey Wilson were ready for SEC play.

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