As much I see our running defense making major strides next year, I'm not sold on us being very good against the pass next year. There are a lot of positives going into next year but some negatives as well. I'll list the positives and negatives I see them going into fall.
1. We'll play more zone with more over the top coverage forcing teams to string together longer drives to score. Zone seems to be a better coverage in today's spread option attacks. It allows players to keep their eyes on the QB and come off their man once the ball is in the air to prevent big plays.
- Brandon Jenkins could be headed to breakout season in the fall. He's showing the early signs of being a dominant pass rusher. Having one guy on the line that requires a double team really helps a defense. Stoops will have a better idea of the protection scheme a team will run if Jenkins requires a double team therefore he'll a better chance of blitzing into a weak spot in the protection.
- The Linebackers and Strong Safety will not be asked to cover players man to man with no over the top help. As college football has changed so have slot receivers and TE, the college game is full of H-Back TE who most college LB have no chance of covering without deep help.
1. We don't have another true pass rusher on the line outside of Jenkins. White has not shown even in practices against the second team offensive line to be able to consistently produce a pass rush. He seems to be athletic enough but doesn't have the natural ability to get to a QB against D1 competition. Stevens could be that second guy but is too light to play every down and has too much weight to gain to be an every down player next year. Hicks appears physically to be enough but I don't expect him to show much more then White next year.
- We're losing our premier corner without a replacement. Halstead and Reed consistently were open against Reid and Jenije while Allen and Rhodes couldn't contain Orange, Smith and Fortson. The QBs were under consistent pressure with a make shift line and still were able to find open receivers. There is a lot of hype surrounding Reid and Rhodes but either appears ready to replace Robinson.
- Carr doesn't bring the same athleticism to the table that Watson had and may not be as much of asset in coverage as Watson was.
If a few things happen, we can be pretty good in pass defense next year but they are anything but sure things.
1. Eliot work with White cleans up his technique and he finds a pass rush.
- McAllister or Dawkins is able to be an every down three-tech guy giving us a pass rush from tackle position. McAllister seems to have the natural gift of shooting the gap and wreaking havoc on an offense. A DT pass rush is the toughest to defend due lack of help especially out of a three tech were the natural double team doesn't exist.
- The corners take a big jump heading into fall camp and work hard on their tech. The competition not just between four corners but also with Joyner and Harris should push the corners to work harder during offseason then they have in their lives. Jenije and Allen are on their last lives football wise while Reid and Rhodes don't want fall behind Joyner and Harris.