Safe and Sound
So you thought quarterbacks only played offense, huh? In the Bobcat’s 4-2-5 defense, the safeties take on added importance and responsibility, because they are charged with making the defensive calls = ensuring everyone else is aligned and assigned correctly. Made famous by the movie script of Cool Hand Luke, I hope we rarely hear the words, “What we’ve got here is a failure to communicate.”
Overall, the Bobcat defense is filled with youth, and the safety group is no different. Where have I typed that before? The safeties are young and relatively inexperienced, however, with that you also get the passion, enthusiasm, and naivete of youth. They might not always go to the right spot at the right time, but they do it 100% and with fire in their eyes. Akin to the team as a whole, the defense will improve as the season goes along…zero doubt.
Jason McLean, a junior safety from San Antonio, gave an overview of the responsibilities of the safeties in the 4-2-5, “We have to communicate with everyone. It’s a good position to be in and it’s been fun.”
Jason shared his thoughts on the process of going from talented backup to projected starter, “I had to work a lot over the years to be in this spot right now. I’m at a good position right now, the coaches we have are great, they will put us in good position to make plays.”
Our Defensive Coordinator/Safeties Coach, Craig Naivar, is a man who requires little introduction to anyone who has been around the program since after the 2003 season. All you have to know about Coach Naivar’s resume is that he was the mastermind behind our 2005 national semi-finalist defense. He hails from Central Texas, is well respected in the football community, and has the fire and requisite raspy voice of a defensive coordinator.
Initially, Coach Naivar focused his thoughts on the value of the safeties in the 4-2-5, “They have picked it up well and done a good job. We’re still trying to get better. A big part of this defense is communicating, have your eyes in the right place, make sure you’re assignment sound so we can play fast.”
“In this scheme, the safeties are the quarterbacks of our defense. They set coverages, blitzes, blitz checks, formational adjustments…they have to be good communicators, quick communicators,” is just some of the work expected of the safeties per Coach Naivar.
You Need Me on That Wall
I , like many of you, have seen every defensive scheme under the lights. The 4-2-5 has yielded significant success in the land of the Bobcats. You put speed on the field, your d-linemen have to be technicians but don’t have to be mammoth, in-game personnel changes aren’t a crisis, offenses in hurry up don’t create panic, you can bring people from an array of angles. I think CJ Carroll used to parachute in for one of his career record sacks (not sure what the call is on that blitz).
Coach Naivar discussed the Bobcat defense as a whole, “It’s going to be an ever-evolving process. Anytime in a first year system, you work your tail off to put guys in the right position and that will evolve, especially in the first three or four weeks.” There is a balance in preparing the team for the opener at Texas Tech, “We are working hard to make sure guys are in the right spot, doing the right things. We are working hard to make sure we aren‘t doing too much, that we’re fundamentally sound. We’re not where we want to be, but we are a lot better than where we were.”
Deep breath! Tomorrow, I wrap up the pre-2011 season blogs by covering the quarterbacks and the offense with Coach Mike Schultz.
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Eat 'Em Up!