Alright Bearcat Insider faithful.... I'm back with my thoughts after a tough loss to Ohio State. Like many of you, I can't get the performance from the defense out of my mind. As a former defensive player myself, here are a few of my thoughts about what has gone wrong.
Bearcats Must Improve Their Defense
The Cincinnati defense was one of the nation’s stingiest units last season and it was a major reason why the team won nine games. However, this year’s unit is going to have to improve drastically if the Cats want to continue to win.
Over the last 10 years, UC has consistently fielded a solid defense. Teams found it very difficult to run the ball so they turned to the pass in order to move the ball down the field. The Cats finished in the top 10 a season ago in tackles for loss and rushing defense. A lot of that reflects a very stout front that can push the line of scrimmage and force the running back to re-route and run into the rest of the defense. That also reflects a defensive line that can effectively get off of blocks and make sure tackles to prevent extra yardage.
After three games the Cats have not done this. Toledo, Miami (OH) and Ohio State all consistently ran the ball, broke tackles, and consistently converted on third downs to keep the chains moving. This has resulted in the Cats being currently ranked 108th in the nation giving up 36 points per game.
What has been the problem?
Coach Tommy Tuberville has stated that the Cats need to tackle better and that is an understatement. The defense as a unit doesn’t look physical at all and they do not have the nasty nature that very good defenses have.
Some of this in my mind can be traced back to the fact that the Cats have a new defensive scheme from last year and the players seem like they are thinking entirely too much. When the defensive package is too complicated, it tends to make a defense very passive and less aggressive. If that is the case then the package needs to be simplified and the Cats need to turn to a new aggressive attack approach.
Even though the Cats have the luxury of having a very good offense, defense wins championships and you are not going to be successful if you can’t keep your defense off the field to rest.
Hopefully the necessary changes will be made because with the likes of Miami (FL) and East Carolina looming on the schedule, the defense will have to come up with stops to help the Cats win.