With a new coaching staff comes a new defensive philosophy. Last season UC made the transition from a 4-3 defense to a 3-4. This season, co-defensive coordinator Tim Banks says the Bearcats will do a little of everything.
"We'll be able to alternate pretty smoothly between a four-man and a three-man front," Banks said.
Banks said he prefers to attack the other team based off of what the opposing offense shows them rather than sticking to one formation and one front.
"I don't get caught up in asking ‘what are we defensively?' I don't know that we're necessarily a 4-3, we're a multiple defense," Banks said. "You show me a team we're playing and a situation and I'll show you a front we're going to utilize."
Mixing things up based off who UC is playing is not just limited to defensive fronts, it also extends to the whether the Bearcats will blitz, play zone or zone blitz.
"We have an array of pressures from man pressures to zone pressures," Banks said. "I think it also depends on what our guys are good at. Right now we're mixing both, we're playing man (in the backfield) and we're playing zone. A lot of it will depend on what we feel our strengths are."
Banks said that a lot of what the defense does coverage wise will be determined in how they perform in the rest of spring practices and the Bearcat Bowl.
Having watched some of the teams in the Big East play, Banks said that the Bearcats will likely use for four-man fronts just because the teams in the conference tend to run a little more, but will certainly use a three-man front in likely passing situations.
One of the reasons UC will be able to utilize multiple looks is the versatility of Walter Stewart who will be lining up as a tradition defensive end but also give an outside linebacker look standing up on the end.
"We think he has the ability to, in passing situations, put his hand on the ground and rush the passer," Banks said. "He's also a good enough athlete where if it's a running down we can line him up over a tight end and he can hold the point and control his run gap."
Last season the Bearcats had what former coach Brian Kelly called the "coast-to-coast offense" combining elements of many offenses. This season it looks as though the defense will be looking to run a "coast-to-coast defense."