So what are his plans? Will he bring the newcomers along and give them less to digest mentally than he did the 2003 ends - Charlie Anderson and Josh Cooper?
The answer is a recounding "no."
"We can't hold the whole defense up waiting on my guys to come around," Hobby noted. "My top guys have played a lot of football and I felt good about them having to step in last year if anything had happened to Josh or Charlie. I'm excited about where they are and where they are headed."
From spring results and the early look of just one practice, it seems pretty definitive that junior Jayme Mitchell and senior Cory Robinson will be the starters at DE for the Rebels this year.
"Jayme and Cory have both had starts in their careers and have both played a lot of football. There is no doubt they will have to up their level of play because they are the guys this year, but they are ready to do that," Marion noted. "Jayme had an excellent spring and seems to have matured. Cory was injured some last year, but opens camp in the best shape of his career. I think he's ready to make the most of this opportunity and of his last collegiate yeare."
But surely Hobby is concerned about the lack of playing time for their backups - collectively RS frosh Brandon Jenkins, JUCO transfer Corvelli Haynes, RS frosh Viciente DeLoach and sophomore Dedrick Clark. Nope, he's not.
"We're not scared. We're ready. It's a challenge that we are all looking forward to," he continued. "Certainly, they all need some coaching up, so to speak, but if I don't mess them up, we are going to find a way to get the job done."
Hobby believes the style of the defensive ends will be different this year. While Anderson and Cooper were in the 240-pound range, Mitchell and Robinson and Jenkins and Clark are all in the 260-275 range.
"We'll be more physical and a little deeper at the DE slots this year. We're bigger and will be able to hold up physically better, I believe," he explained. "Charlie was a 4.5 40 guy, and there aren't many of those running around, but Cory is 20-pounds heavier. Same on the other side. Josh had excellent movement and experience, but he was a 240-pounder versus a 265-270-pounder in Jayme, and both are backed up by 270-pounders. I think we'll be more physical on the line of scrimmage."
The number one concern among fans, however, is will Mitchell, Robinson, et al, be able to duplicate or better the pass rush of the quicker Anderson and Cooper combo?
"I don't fear that," Hobby stated. "Our system plays into our hands of who we have playing the position. Our guys will play with good technique that will help them. We'll be fine in the pass rush from the edge and I think we'll hve the opportunity to be better against the run on the corners."
Hobby discusses 2004 defensive ends
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