Hop's Defensive Grades

Bradford has a right to be smiling in this picture, as he threw over and around A&M en route to a 66-28 victory. Aggie Websider's David Sandhop hands out the grades for the Texas A&M defense.

I'm trying to find a silver lining for this analysis, but where do you look for one when the opponent gained 653 yards and called off the dogs in the fourth quarter? Not only did the Sooners score a lot of points, but they scored quickly and almost at will. Oklahoma mounted scoring drives that lasted 1:29, :49, :33, 1:09, and :27 which took 4, 3, 3, 3, and 2 plays to score. Only two of their eight offensive touchdowns came on drives longer than six plays.

Demarco Murray rushed for 123 yards on only seven carries for a 17.6 yard/carry average. Chris Brown gained 117 yards on 13 attempts for a "paltry" 9.0 average. A&M's front four was easily manhandled by OU's offensive line, and the linebackers just aren't a factor. In fact, the OU backs had huge holes to run through and really didn't need to showcase any moves or cuts. It was the easiest 240 yards these guys have collected this season.

The secondary and the pass coverage was a little better in comparison, but still gave up 320 yards and four touchdowns. But let's get serious here. There's no question that this defense is void of talent at linebacker, the defensive line is average at best, and with Trent Hunter out the secondary is right at that average at best category. Put those units all together and the result shouldn't be a defense in the triple digits in ranking and giving up close to 700 yards even against an offensive juggernaut like OU.

There's something broken, and it's not strictly talent. I'm not smart enough to know the precise reasons for the unit's problems, but I do know that an A&M defense with seven upperclassman starting should not be as inept as this defense has become in 2008. It leaves you scratching your head and wondering how Coach Sherman will raise the bar, because he needs to raise the bar NEXT year or the window of opportunity from a recruiting standpoint will be closed.

Defensive Line F

328 yards rushing and 8.6 yards per carry. Oh, the starters averaged a whopping 12.0 yards per carry before they called off the dogs. The defensive line is the first line of defense.

Linebacker F

328 yards rushing and 325 yards passing. Linebackers are the second line of defense against the run, and the first line of defense against the pass. Well, they didn't do either and frankly this unit is a shambles right now.

Defensive Backs F

The cover guys can and do make some nice plays, but they also give up big plays, and in the secondary all you need is 1-2 bad plays to look bad. Losing Trent Hunter early really hurt this unit, although it did not matter to the outcome of the game that was over midway through the first quarter.

Defensive Coaching F

653 yards is 653 yards no matter how you slice it. A good coach finds a way to slow down the opponent with the tools at his disposal. I understand OU is a good offensive team and I expected the defense to surrender 400+ yards, but the Sooners barely put any effort into gaining 653 yards and it could have been 800 yards if they wanted. I just don't see the pieces coming together, and you expect that in week 10. The status quo will not get it done in 2009.


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