I’ve read some of the comments and looked at the stats, and yes it is never good for the secondary to lead the team in tackles. I am understanding to the fact that teams have had a higher tendency to throw the ball. Yet, even with teams spreading the ball like jiff to their receivers our leading tacklers should come from the interior of the defense.
The one shinning star that I don’t have a problem with is Andrew Rich. I fully encourage him to continue making plays at, near, around, behind and in-front of the line of scrimmage. The strong safety position in this style of defense can be very disruptive. Your put in great situations in the run game and you play versatile zones against the pass. Both scenarios provide you with ample time around the ball. As long as he keeps making tackles, and jamming the seam, I’m good!
Getting back to the problem. Our interior linebackers are atypical bend but don’t break type guys. Better put they are bleed, but not to death kind of guys. It really is a two fold problem starting with our defensive line and ending with the tackle by a member of the secondary. Being an affective defensive football team takes all eleven guys. When the ball is run, linemen need to stay in their gaps, keep good leverage -keeping the ball inside, everyone needs to funnel the ball to interior guys who should be knocking helmets off with big hits. Defending the pass starts with an affective rush and ends with tight coverage and hopefully a knocked down pass. It also means that linebacker, safeties, and corners work together in order to “close window’s”. Closing windows combines positional awareness by linebackers to move into zones and cover lanes, but only for a short time period. When the linebacker has closed a window for a period of time it is then a corner or safeties job to recover, and close the next window before the ball can arrive.
BYU’s run defense isn’t bad. They’ve done an adequate job of limiting opponents leading rushers and forcing their opponents OC’s to look for other options. That other option is where we are struggling a bit. Last week, the Cougars had a lot of guys down with sickness. But hey, I played the Arizona game my senior year with a crazy fever and a previous night at the hospital. Playing through “stuff” happens and it’s a test to how well you have prepared your mind and body for the game. That being said, I hope everyone gets health and returns with a new lease on life -after a scare in Juan Diego.
With regards to who needs to make more tackles and plays, my thought go straight to the leaders of the defense. Bauman, Jorgenson, Rich and Johnson. The load will then trickle to Pendalton, Clawson, and Hooks. Our linebackers need to be more “in tune” to what is going on, and they need to play with more violence -down hill. All this vertical scrapping and catching guys as they go by is killing me. I want to see a couple of guys get blown up -and not by Rich.
Against the pass I want to see fewer receivers running free and easy through zones. Knocking guys around as they run around is key to good pass defense. I also want to see crossing routes and passes in the middle of the field more heavily contested. BYU can’t develop the problem of giving up the middle of the field. Our defense has to own the middle, and if that means 15 yards and a headache, get it done!
Thank you for reading and hopefully you have a few of the same feeling.