Random Thoughts: Common Wisdom - Defense

If you read all the post season wrapup stories about Northwestern, and look at the comments from fans on the message boards, you come up with a few items of "common wisdom." Coach Roy takes a look at the list and wonders about the "wisdom" in some of these items...

OK here is my take on a few "Common Wisdom" things swirling around the Wildcats' this off season....

NU Needs a couple of Linebackers for next year....
Well maybe not.

Last season we saw both Mike Dinard and Malcolm Arrington step up - Dinard moved outside after Nick Roach's season ending injury, backing up Eddie Simpson. Arrington then jumped into the middle as the backup. Both saw a lot of playing time as they adjusted to Randy Bate's style of linebacker play.

Missing in the equation were Chris Jeske and Rejaie Johnson, both who were expected to contribute to the Cats linebacker depth last year, with Arrington suffering a  season ending injury. Jeske is still a questionmark, but he says he's on the road to playing next year.

Watch the linebacker competition in the Spring.
NU Needs to improve on this year's class of commits...
Barring a wholesale raid on the commit list by others, NU already has one of the best classes in many years.

Early commits from LB Bryce McNaul [4.53 40 time], S/RB Michael Bolden [4.5] and DL/OL Niko Mafuli 295 4.9] were just the beginning, as the Cats later picked up commits from two potential cornerbacks - Jordan Mabin and David Arnold - both of whom could play both ways, both who post 4.4 40 times and both of whom talk about wanting to play defense. McNaul was just named a Prep Player of the Week .

If nothing else, this is one of the fastest defensive groups in years.

On offense, the numbers are not quite as impressive, but another very fast kid - WR Charles Brown is considered a stud, and RB Scott Concannon may be a real sleeper as a  fullback.

The Cats have also added a couple more offensive linemen, but can probably use 2 or 3 more.
The NU Defense needs to go to a 3-4 to be successful
I'll let Pulmocat talk about this one:
I don't think they should for the next 2 years at least.

We have a solid DL coming back with expected gains from every single one of them. Gill, Hahn, Mims, Wooten, Koehn, Bryant, Thomas, Kennedy should all be better next year and all have PT behind them.

If the first 4 of them are all healthy we have a really solid Big Ten DL. I think they will be better than our LBs right for the next couple years
. -- Purple Boards
With Mafuli coming, Pulmo is probably right.
NU needs to fire a couple of defensive coaches
The rumor swirled a few weeks ago that DC Greg Colby had offered to resign right back in July, right after Coach Fitz was named.

That's not uncommon when someone who used to work for you is promoted over you - happened in WWII with Chester Nimitz and Dwight Eisenhower - but the powers that be went with the guys they thought would win in the long haul and the new guys stuck with the team.

Fitz apparently chose not to make any changes because of the turmoil the team had been through already.

Now, I'm not sure that making wholesale changes to the staff this Winter helps the program win next year, because I think we've already seen next year's defense - the one that did a good job shutting down Illinois and Iowa and slowing down Michigan.

For all we know, Fitz has already made his decision, and is quietly interviewing potential replacements, but I think the changes, if any, would have been announced already. Besides all the "Okruch has left Illinois" talk has disappeared and his picture is still on the Illini Official Site
Not sure if I have any random thoughts about the offense...
I'm really enjoying NU Men's and Women's Basketball right now. Whatever happens with the football team happens, but it sure seems that Fitz expects a winner next year.

Just like the rest of us....
-- da Coach

Agree or disagree?
You can send your direct comments to Coach Roy. Or post them on the Purple Boards.
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