Aggressive, Attacking Defense Coming?

Defense wins championships is the old adage. This season, Coach Prince and Co. want to see a more aggessive and attacking style of defensive play from his Cats and the off-season saw changes. This year, the Cats will play out of a 3-4 defense. What is the end result of these changes? What can fans expect from the new defense? What will the style of play be? Read On...

Simply put, Kansas State second-year coach Ron Prince says, "If you don't play good defense you're going to lose games. All we have to do is look back to last year to learn that."

Prince then detailed, "Good defensive teams tackle terrifically, and we did not do that consistently a year ago. And, we've got to get turnovers. We did from a fumble standpoint (17 recovered), but not from an interception standpoint (10)."

The Wildcats will line up in a 3-4 design in 2007 in hopes of getting as many play makers on the field at the same time as possible. Secondary coach Greg Burns has never been involved with the 3-4 concept before, but says he likes the "multiplicity" of the scheme.

"As an offense, you never know who's rushing and who's dropping which causes conflict in regards to protections and blocking schemes," Burns said.

"It's a distract and disturb defense. Disrupt the quarterback on every play, and disturb the offensive line that's blocking for him."

K-State's defensive line will include Steve Cline at tackle, flanked by ends Rob Jackson and Michael Abana.

A transfer a year ago from Fort Scott Community College, Jackson, a 6-foot-4, 254-pound native of West Haven, Conn., admitted that he wasn't overly enthused with the Wildcats switching from the 4-3 defense, but after a spring of work, he said, "I like it. I wasn't enthused at all in the beginning, but I think we can be successful in it."

"The way I look at it," Jackson said, "there's more support behind me. If the ball does pass the line of scrimmage, there's one more guy back there to make a play."

The four linebackers behind him are Ian Campbell and Eric Childs outside, and Reggie Walker and Justin Roland inside.

Anchoring the secondary will be safeties Marcus Watts and Gary Chandler, plus a collection of cornerbacks starting with Justin McKinney, Byron Garvin and Ray Cheatham.

"We're as prepared as we can be," said Watts, KSU's all-Big 12 candidate. "We have wrinkles here and there, but we're going to be fine. We just have to minimize our mistakes this week."

Orchestrating the defense is first-year coordinator Tim Tibesar, who replaces the energetic Raheem Morris.

In comparing the two coaching styles, outside linebacker Ian Campbell chuckled as he said, "Raheem was all over the place ... crazy, but coach Tibs has his moments, too. All coaches do. They see a player finally do something they've been drilling into you all year and they get all hyped up and act crazy. All of them do."

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