|The Frogs return four safeties who saw significant playing time last season, three of which are starters. That bodes well for a defense that ranked #1 in the Big 12 last season.|
|Returning Statistical Leaders|
|Tackles: Olabode; 71|
|INT: Carter and Olabode; 4|
|PBU: Carter; 14|
|TFL: Carter; 6.5|
UNIT RANKING: B+
STRENGTHS: Experience, size, speed
WEAKNESS: Depth, Depth, Depth
With three great players returning, depth is a concern with the departure of several players. Gone from last year's team are Jamie Byrd, Quincy Aldridge, Antonio Graves and James Bailey (who left before the 2012 season). It's rumored that Jonathan Anderson has moved to linebacker and we already know Jordan Moore has moved to runningback .
What to watch: Who adds depth at each position?With only six scholarship players on the roster and one walk-on, developing depth is key for now until help from the 2013 class hits campus this summer. While we know Olabode, Hackett and Carter are likely starters, what we don't know is who backs those guys up, or let's go a step further and define them as guys who challenge the starters. At free safety Olabode looks to have a stronghold at the position and the backup behind him is the biggest question. Will Zach Jackson line up at free safety or will he play weak? Trenton Thomas seems to be the forgotten man at the position but the fifth-year senior certainly knows the position. Like Jackson, Thomas could also play some weak. At strong safety Carter is the starter but Kindred could give him a run for that spot. Kindred obviously showed last season that he could compete and at times during fall practices he even worked with the first team defense. Geoff Hooker saw playing time last season late in the game and looks to be yet another walk-on player who could make a contribution to the Horned Frogs. Of course, if Jonathan Anderson hasn't moved positions and is still a safety he adds good depth and was once a starter.
Breakout player: Derrick Kindred
Keep an eye on: Zach JacksonSurprisingly, Jackson spent 2012 as a redshirt, but it was close on whether or not he'd play. He was on the travel squad for a couple of games. During the fall, Patterson spoke highly of Jackson some days and others he "had growing up to do", which basically means he needed to pick up the scheme more than anything. Jackson spent time at free safety and weak safety last season and could be a natural fit at either one of those spots. Jackson has good size and speed which makes him the perfect safety prototype in Patterson's system.
- Kindred receives the most praise
- Zack Jackson gets the nod as backup weak safety
- Jonathan Anderson still gets reps at safey