Last year, UC football made a habit of causing turnovers and making plays when the big "MO" seemed to be with the bad guys. Turnovers can change the momentum of a game and give you that extra inch to beat out your opponent.
A great defense usually starts with a strong defensive line that can stop the run and also get after the quarterback. Senior defensive tackle Mitch Meador is looking to create that identity for Cincinnati this season and he is doing it with three fellow seniors.
"We have four seniors. Me, Stepp, Marquis, and Dempsey and we call ourselves the "Four-Horseman" like the wrestlers," Meador explains with a straight face. "You know, we have to come out every day show the young guys how to practice hard."
The leader of the "Four-Horseman" had only 16 tackles last year but is looking to step up in his senior season. Coach Tuberville is looking to rotate several guys in and out on the defensive line which will keep the team fresh and stay active for an entire game.
"I feel like were very deep at defensive tackle," said Meador. "We have six to eight guys who can actually play."
This depth can be crucial during a long season and guys will get plenty of experience in Coach Tuberville's first season.
When the offensive-line starts to wear down over the course of a game the depth of the defensive-line should be a major asset for the Bearcats. For Meador, controlling the line of scrimmage and stopping the run is his main goal. Teams that run the football normally control time of possession and knock the wind right out of its opponents sails. When you stop the run you start to force a quarterback to make plays and UC's defensive backs will be licking their chops when that happens.
With only four days left until the season opener, Meador can hardly contain his excitement for kickoff on Saturday.
"I cannot wait," said the impatient d-tackle. "The most excited I've been in a while. They've already sold out Nippert and hitting our guys is getting old. I'm ready to hit someone else."
That is exactly what you want from a senior d-tackle looking to leave his mark before graduation day.
Mitch Meador, the three other "Horseman" and the entire UC defense will get its chance to make some plays on Saturday in front of a packed house at Nippert. The defense will be key for the Bearcat's success this season and the defensive-line looks to be an active and relentless group on game day.