The Good, The Bad, The Question: Defense

The Cats defense has a lot of good things going for it, but there are a few negatives as well. Like any young team, there are also a lot of questions.

The Good: The Cats have more depth and talent inside than at any time since 1998. Yaniv Barnett, Paul Philip, Lionel Dotson and Ricky Parker were all solid last season and the addition of Gabe Long, Donald Horton and Mana Mikaele should bolster the group.
The Bad: Long has not yet enrolled and, despite living in Tucson, can be re-recruited. Garrett Fields and Lawrence Ball have left the program. Philip and Horton are nursing shoulder injuries.
The Question: Will long be eligible by fall?

The Good: There is a lot of depth and talent. Johnathan Turner, Marcus Smith, Michael Shelton and Jason Parker all return. The Cats are also expected to add Braylon Broughton and Louis Holmes.
The Bad: Holmes has not yet enrolled. Smith is coming off an injury and could spend time inside. The Cats will miss sack leader Copeland Bryan.
The Question: Can Holmes live up to the hype?

The Good: This spot is loaded. No fewer than seven players with extensive experience return, including six who have made starts. Add Xavier Kelley to the mix and you have one of the strongest units on the defense.
The Bad: Spencer Larsen, Dane Krogstad, Ronnie Palmer, James Alford and Akin Akinniyi have all missed time due to injury. The Cats added no linebacking recruits in the 2006 class.
The Question: Can McCovy or Kelly beat out an older player for a starting job?

The Good: The Cats return two junior starters in Wilrey Fontenot and Antoine Cason. Devin Ross, Michael Turner and Cam Nelson have Mike Stoops and the staff singing their praises.
The Bad: All of the Wildcats' reserve cornerbacks transferred this off-season. Dramayne McElroy, Mike Beach and Quinton Freeman all left the program.
The Question: Can one of the freshmen step up if a starter gets injured?

The Good: The Cats return starter Michael Johnson as well as contributors Marcus Hollingsworth, Dominic Patrick and Brandon Tatum. The Cats will also add junior college safety Nate Ness.
The Bad: The Cats lose starter Darrell Brooks and sometime starter Lamon Means. Hollingsworth is more of a nickel back/linebacker type and he is the most experienced safety other than Johnson.
The Question: Who will replace Brooks the leader and Brooks the player?

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