Thursday, July 16, 2009

Found a nit to pick

David Hale does his usual fine job today, this time getting quotes from some of our defensive players on what they are focusing on for next year.

One, in particular, jumped out at me:

Reshad Jones on the most important change the D
can make...

"I would say just turnovers period. As far as fumbles,
knocking the ball out, interceptions, the overall turnovers. Turnovers help win
ball games, give the offense better field position, stuff like that. I think we
just need to focus on getting more turnovers."

This quote, to me, says that Reshad still doesn't really get it...

Yes, more turnovers are needed...but I don't think that was the big problem with our defense last year. The biggest issue I had (outside of the lack of consistent pass rush) was the breakdown in fundamentals, both in blown assignments and poor tackling, especially in the secondary.

What I do NOT want to see next season is Reshad, or any of our players, worrying more about getting turnovers than just wrapping a guy up and tackling him to the ground, or making sure their assignment is covered. Focusing more on turnovers would have the exact OPPOSITE effect of what I am hoping for...I don't want to see guys trying to strip the ball out while a ball carrier carries them ten yards downfield, I don't want to see guys trying to ball hawk an interception and blow their coverage. If a play is there to be made, yes...make it. But our initial focus, I hope, is on getting back to the basics of what team defense is supposed to be.

To be fair, most of the quotes from other players were along those lines...make sure tackles, get better at the fundamentals, etc. I know I'm hard on Reshad, as I think a lot of Dawg fans are, but believe me when I say that it's just tough love. He is immensely talented physically, but I think he is going to have to change his mindset if he is ever going to reach his massive potential.


Bernie said...

Very fair assessment Scott. If I see RJ attempt an arm tackle in Stillwater I might just toss my milk and cookies.

Darren said...

From the outside lookin in, IMHO, dicipline was the Dawgs undoing last in in stupid, untimely penalties.

Alabama and Georgia are going to be very similar this year, and both are going to have to play the same game to suceed:

Sound defence, solid running game to eat the clock, QB doesn't have to win it for you, just don't lose it. +/- turnover ratio has to be in your favor, and no undiciplined foolishness.

If Richt can clean up the sloppiness in the mental game, the Dawgs can be very solid. They're just isn't much room for error....