Spring practice is only a week away…that fact really hit home with me yesterday as I was on the way home from work and got to hear yet another great interview with Coach Grantham on 790.
I love everything that I have heard from Coach Grantham about the aggressive intensity and mental toughness that he plans on being the trademark of his defense. Seriously, he must have said the words “aggressive, physical, relentless” about a dozen times. Plus, he continues to reiterate his goal that every team who plays us will be glad when the game is over so they don’t have to deal with us anymore. I LOVE that. For too long, I feel like we have been in such a "reactionary" position, and it's about time that WE become the ones dictating the pace and style of the game rather than always being on our heels.
Between that interview, this BEASTLY post, and then this and this from the great David Hale….I am getting seriously fired up about what the Dawgs defense is going to be in 2010 and beyond.
I feel like our personnel is actually much better suited to an aggressive, attacking 3-4 than what we have run in the past. Houston and Washington are natural OLB’s in a 3-4. Our linebackers are MUCH better at read/react and fly to the football then they are in a “softer” coverage-based defense. The one position where I was worried about depth next year, defensive tackle, all of a sudden looks much more sturdy when you only have to fill one position instead of two.
One other guy to look out for at OLB that doesn’t really get talked up in those posts is incoming freshman TJ Stripling. This seems to be a guy who was created specifically to either play the OLB position in a 3-4 scheme or hunt down commandos in the jungles of Central America, and I can't wait to see him get on the field.
I expect that the combination of the agressive style and the early unfamiliarity with assignments may lead to some blown coverages and big plays early on, but I think if Dawg Nation is patient and understands that going in, then the longterm rewards will be measured in championships!