As one would expect, the defense is clearly ahead of the offense at this time. The secondary is indeed going to be good. Very good. In Saturday's scrimmage, Demetrice Morley had one interception, another that was negated by an early whistle, and he got his hands on a couple of others in only 20 plays. The best part? When asked about it, he credited chemistry in the secondary:
It's a trust thing in the secondary. You've got to trust each other and when you do that you have a chance to make some big plays. Your teammate has to know that you're going to have his back if he makes a mistake. Me and Eric are the safeties and it's important that we make the guys in front of us comfortable. We communicate really well together right now but we can get even better at it.The offense pretty much had zero big plays, and with both Morley and Eric Berry roaming around back there, expect more of the same for the rest of the fall. And see if this doesn't get your heart racing for football:
The biggest benefit of having so many capable defensive backs though is going to be seen in the Mustang package where Eric Berry in particular looks like he's going to be turned loose to do some different things.
Berry worked over the slot today in the nickel some and it's easy to see him being a dangerous blitzer from that position.
- Now for the bad news, in easily digestible pieces: Regardless of how good our secondary might be, Jonathan Crompton has to eliminate the interceptions. . . . Instead of pushing Montario Hardesty for the second-string RB spot, Lennon Creer is being pushed by Tauren Poole for the third. . . . Donald Langley needs to secure the fourth defensive tackle spot. . . . The o-line was disappointing, not pushing anyone around like you'd expect from a bunch of veterans excited about the possibility of returning to the power running game. . . . Brent Vinson needs to fix . . . something. A starter at corner for most of last year, he played on the third team in Saturday's scrimmage and wasn't in the first team mustang. Anybody know the story there?
More boredom from the kicking game, please. Punter Chad Cunningham started with a couple of line drives with low hang time (woo!), but finished well. Daniel Lincoln started by hitting a 41-yard field goal and missing two of three from 42. He then missed two of three from 32. He finished by hitting two from 32 and one each from 52, 41, and 48. It's exciting, if nothing else.
Yeah, but . . . Crompton did make a play by tucking and running late in the scrimmage, though, so look forward to some salvaging of dead plays.
- It's secret. Arian Foster, Jonathan Crompton, Rico McCoy, and Robert Ayers are on The Papa's list.
- Ellix Wilson: small. Wilson will be Tennessee's lightest middle LB since Dominique Stevenson, who played at 220 pounds from 1999 to 2001. He'll be the only LB under six feet in the past 15 years with the notable exception of Kevin Simon in 2005. On the other hand, he's similarly-shaped to Al Wilson.
- Sheesh. UCLA is still having problems with QBs. They lost two of them on a single series of plays in the spring and got Ben Olson back for fall practice, but Olson just broke his foot and will be out for at least two months. Bruins Nation is taking the whole thing in stride, viewing it as an opportunity for the backups.
- YMSWWC has the roundup of last week's Big Orange Roundtable.