Spring Scrimmage Recap - Defense

The defense recorded 10 sacks in just over 70 plays - a great ratio to say the least. Freshman Glenn Cook led the defense with eight tackles, four of them for a loss and a sack. One other hightlight was the punting of Brian Monroe who was excellent the entire scrimmage.

Defensive Line

Sick. Crazy. Good. Wicked. Nasty. Pick your favorite adjective to describe a great performance because these guys were unstoppable. First unit guys Baraka Atkins, Javon Nanton, Orien Harris, and Santonio Thomas all recorded sacks on the first four series. It didn't stop there. Eric Moncur and Vegas Franklin even got in on the fun. The defensive line has been great all spring and it was no surprise they were the standout unit of the scrimmage recording 10 sacks.

JR Javon Nanton…5 tackles…2 sacks
SO Baraka Atkins…4 tackles…1 sack
FR Vegas Franklin…4 tackles…1 sack
SR Alton Wright…3 tackles…1 sack
SO Kareem Brown…3 tackles
JR Orien Harris…3 tackles…2 sacks
FR Eric Moncur…2 tackles…1 sack
SR Santonio Thomas…1 tackle…1 sack
FR Teraz McCray…1 tackle

Most Impressive – Atkins. Take your pick really, but Atkins was constantly making plays. He finished the night with three tackles for loss and he could have recorded more if he didn't let up a bit when he was in the backfield.

Linebackers

These guys are starting to come together especially middle linebacker Leon Williams. His main drawback has been his inability to read offenses and anticipate the plays. During the scrimmage he looked under control and in the right spots. The defensive line eases a lot of pressure on the linebackers and it gives them time to grow. As a unit they did not do a great job covering the tight ends, but pass coverage is generally the toughest assignment for linebackers.

FR Glenn Cook…8 tackles…4 for loss…1 sack
SO Tavares Gooden…4 tackles…2 for loss
JR Roger McIntosh…3 tackles…1 for loss
JR Leon Williams…2 tackles…1 for loss
FR Jon Beason…2 tackles…1 for loss

Most Impressive – Cook. He led the linebackers in all three categories, tackles, tackles for loss, and sacks. Cook looks to have found a home at strongside linebacker and with his knowledge of the game he will continue to improve. It was encouraging to see him in on a lot of plays leading the team in tackles.

Defensive Backs

When one unit struggles that generally means another unit succeeds. Case in point, the wide receivers struggled to get open, however the defensive backs did a good job covering them. The intensity and attitude of the defensive backs was very encouraging. All four starters seem to be in place, but it will be a battle for playing time in nickel and dime situations.

JR Greg Threat…7 tackles
FR Willie Cooper…5 tackles…4 for loss
SO Brandon Meriweather…4 tackles
SR Antrel Rolle…1 tackle
JR Kelly Jennings…1 tackle
FR Terrell Walden…1 tackle
JR Marcus Maxey…0 tackles
JR Tanard Davis…0 tackles

Most Impressive – Threat. He continued to play hard this spring and showed a lot of hustle. Threat led the secondary in tackles, which is his biggest strength. If he continues to play hard he will continue to improve and feel even more comfortable. He will be fun to watch in 2004.

Specialists

It was good to see Brian Monroe have a great performance. It was probably the best he has punted in a long time. His punts had a lot of hang time and none were returned. He averaged over 46 yards per punt when field position was not an issue. The one time he had a short punt it was from the 35-yardline and pooched it perfectly down to the 10-yardline. It went down as only a 25-yard punt, which dropped his average to 43.0 per punt.

Peattie hit the kicks he was supposed to, 35 yards and 23 yards, and his 52-yard attempt fell about 5 yards short. Gent struggled as he missed field goals from 37 and 42 yards.

SO Brian Monroe…6 punts…43.0 avg…50 long
SO Jon Peattie…2-3 FG…35 long
JR Mark Gent…0-2 FG

Most Impressive – Monroe. This is exactly what he needed, a solid performance in a game type situation. The best part about his performance is that there is still room for improvement. Monroe's punting motion looked very effortless even on his 50-yard punt. His next test will be to maintain his success in practices leading up to the spring game followed by another solid performance in another game-type situation.

Next Practice: Monday, April 5, 3:30 PM, Greentree Practice Fields.

Christopher Stock is a Staff Columnist for CanesTime and can be contacted by emailing him at stock@grassy.com.

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