Just like we did with the offense, we've already previewed each individual defensive position group (DL, LB, DB). Also like we did with the offense, today we'll give you a projected depth chart for the defense and then discuss the two deep.
While there may have been some understandable concerns when previewing the offense, I think the same can very much be said about this projected defense. But we'll get into all that after the jump.
Jaydan Bird or
We talked about the defensive line issues already, so we don't need to rehash necessarily but seeing it on the depth chart only reinforces the concerns. We'll obviously need both starters to have exceptional senior seasons, but even more so we'll need the backups listed as well as a guy or two not listed to step up as well.
DT still doesn't worry me like DE does. Oh and Phillips listed at 6-6 330 as a true freshman (he redshirted this past season), oh my! When he finally made it to campus last year after waiting on some academic issues, during his first practice, he did a standing back flip and needless to say it kind of impressed his teammates. If he can buy in and put in the work, he is going to be an absolute monster.
LB worries me as well because both Wort and Nelson are undersized. Wort has had fits his first two years shedding blocks and unless the DTs can step up in a big way in 2012 to keep blockers off him I don't see anything changing because he isn't getting any bigger. I'm also not a fan of Ibiloye as a starter at that Roy-back spot, but I'm not sure I see another legit option for that spot on this roster at the moment.
As described in the DB preview, I have little concerns with the secondary. Or at least in terms of the starters anyway. But I will say, looking at two starting safeties under 200 lbs (at least for now) is a little concerning. Colvin didn't seem to have any issues holding up this past seasosn, but two guys that undersized does worry me a little in terms of run support.
The one glaring concern for me as you look at that two deep is the depth, or lack there of as it were. It was a worry for the offense, it's a major issue for the defense based on what I'm seeing. Both DE spots, both OLB spots, both CB spots, and at one of the safeties, an injury or injuries could be a serious problem.
Let's just hope that we had to have suffered more than our fair share of injuries in 2011, right? So 2012 is gonna be a healthy year!