Spring Game Recap - Defense

The defense dominated much of the spring, especially the defensive line. In Saturday's scrimmage, they came through with five sacks but the offense did manage to produce some big plays at times. It was also another solid performance by the special teams.

Defensive Line

The defensive line had another solid performance today putting pressure on the quarterbacks and disrupting the running game. The defensive tackles did a good job of plugging the role on the running game. The ends were flying off of the ball and caused the offensive tackles problems.

SR Santonio Thomas – 3 tackles, 1 sack
SO Baraka Atkins – 3 tackles, 1 sack
FR Teraz McCray – 2 tackles, 1 tackle for loss
SO Kareem Brown – 2 tackles, 1 sack
FR Vegas Franklin – 2 tackles, 1 sack
SR Alton Wright – 1 tackle, 1 sack
JR Orien Harris – 1 tackle
SO Bryan Pata – 1 tackle
FR Dave Howell – 1 tackle

Most Impressive – Thomas. He did a good job of fighting off of his block and making a play. Thomas has been battling through injury in the spring, but has showed a lot of toughness by playing through it. He is not known as a pass rusher, but did a good job getting to the quarterback on his sack.

Linebackers

This group had a couple of setbacks today. First Leon Williams was not with the first unit for the majority of the game because of internal issues. Jon Beason filled in his spot and needs to keep improving because the staff has not been happy with Williams's progress this spring. Glenn Cook was performing well on the second unit before suffering a high ankle sprain.

JR Roger McIntosh – 4 tackles
JR Leon Williams – 4 tackles
FR Glenn Cook – 3 tackles, 1 for loss
SO Tavares Gooden – 3 tackles
FR Jon Beason – 3 tackles

Most Impressive – McIntosh. He had a great day showing off his speed and athleticism on the outside. Right now McIntosh is the team's best linebacker and will be a heavy contributor to the team in 2004. McIntosh was on the rise of stardom during his freshman season as a starter before being replaced by Darrell McClover last season.

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.

FR Willie Cooper - 8 tackles
JR Greg Threat - 3 tackles
SO Brandon Meriweather – 3 tackles
SR Antrel Rolle – 1 tackle
JR Kelly Jennings - 0 tackles
JR Marcus Maxey - 1 tackle
JR Tanard Davis – 1 tackle, 1 interception

Most Impressive – Rolle. He doesn't give up an inch. He is as great of a cornerback as you will see in the country in 2004. Today he jammed guys at the line, stayed with them in their routes, and made quarterbacks look the other way when he was guarding guys.

Specialists

Brian Monroe had another solid day punting the ball with the wind at his back. He punted inside in the 10-yardline and showed good hang time on his punts. Jon Peattie was used as a punter as well, but went against the wind on his punts and it showed. However he was able to nail a 30-yard field goal. The team has not practiced kickoffs this spring, but expect Peattie to take over that position this year replacing Mark Gent.

SO Brian Monroe - 3 punts, 43.0 average
SO Jon Peattie – 1-1 FG, 30 yards

Most Impressive – Monroe. Another good performance by Monroe and he had improved his drop immensely from a year ago. He still would like to get the ball to turn over more, but overall he has improved.

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

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