"The effort just wasn't there," he said Monday night following practice. "When you lower you intensity level a little bit, that's what will happen."
Defensive coordinator Vic Koenning was more specific in describing the problem.
"Conservatively, we had 73 loafs," he said. "We can't do that. … They were just trying to get it over with and we're not going to allow that.
"There are certain things you can control and you can't control. You can't control how talented they are, but we can control (the level of effort)."
Most pointed to the play of the defensive line as being substandard, which new defensive line coach Chris Rumph who heartedly agreed.
"I'm glad I signed my contract before they scrimmaged," he said. "I might have been in trouble. …
"They have to grow up real fast. Right now, there's no leadership among those guys. When the going gets rough, somebody's got to step up and say, ‘Hey, guys, let's go.' But right now, we don't have it."
However, as quick as he was to critique, he doesn't believe all is lost. He knows like everybody else that there's a lot of talent up front and that it's just young.
"I think as we go along, those guys will get in a comfort zone," he said. "Last year, they were used to being the sparkplug off the bench. Now, they've got to be the battery, the starter and the engine that gets it going."
Bowden said he, too, has absolutely no concern that Koenning will have them ready to play come September. He cited that his second-year defensive coordinator produced the 11th-best scoring defense in Division I last season.
For his part, Koenning, who was disappointed with most of the defense, including C.J. Gaddis, who was burned on a "wheel route," said he believes he was able to grab their attention and get his point across today in practice.
"That's unfortunate because you don't want to have to coach off the fear of drilling them," he said. "But that's what happens when you don't do well. … We ran every pursuit drill that we have today. We did nothing but run for 20 minutes today. Wednesday will probably be the same.
"You have to have to coach like that."
Other than the defense doing a lot of running, practice was very uneventful Monday. Backup center Barry Humphries (ankle), starting wide receiver Aaron Kelly (knee) and back up receiver Jacoby Ford (foot) were each held out.
Humphries is likely the only one of the three to play in Saturday's Orange-White Spring Game, Bowden said.
Bowden said Ford already had one MRI done on his foot and had a second one performed on it Monday afternoon. He said he planned on speaking to the doctors about the results sometime Monday night.
Bowden Confident in Defense
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