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August 1, 2018 at 1:45 am #34591
All the focus has been on the Florida offense. It’s simple. To have a good year, the Gator defense has to play well. They didn’t last season.
Coach Mullen brought DC Todd Grantham with him from MSU to fix the problem, with a three-year deal worth $4.47 million. Grantham is the highest-paid assistant in school history. It could be a good investment based on Grantham’s results last year, moving the MSU defense from 110th to 10th in a single season.
Grantham prefers an aggressive 3-4 base defense. It’s a system that could better utilize the talent pool at Florida. There are still dime and 4-3 packages.
I look forward to seeing how Coach Grantham will take our players and fashion an effective defense. For the first time, in a long time, we are changing the defense significantly.
August 3, 2018 at 6:40 pm #34665
I agree that there are reasons for optimism. Linebackers remains the biggest area of uncertainty because we still do not know how those who will be filling last year’s holes will perform in games. What I read about them makes me think they’ll do well, however.
August 18, 2018 at 1:53 am #34877
It’s a rag tag bunch coming back this year, from a defense that was one of the worse of the modern era. They definitely have something to prove.
We still have depth issues at corner and linebacker. Can we fill all the roles and positions for Grantham’s new defense? I think so, but there’s going to be a learning curve.
August 19, 2018 at 3:57 pm #34886
I’m not sure that I would describe the defensive players as a “rag tag bunch.” There do seem to be some depth issues, especially at safety, but my sense is that this is a bunch of very good defensive players. The question of how quickly they will take to the system that Grantham has installed is, of course, still to be determined.
August 19, 2018 at 6:37 pm #34887
Great topic to discuss. If you ever read any of Bill Connelly’s stuff on SB Nation, he does a great job breaking down teams offensively and defensively. Looking at Miss State from last year, they were great in most phases of defense and here is how he concludes the article:
“Having a dominant defensive front can allow you to generate pressure without blitzing and can mitigate overall risk. But former defensive coordinator Todd Grantham, who followed Mullen to Gainesville, couldn’t help himself. His secondary was crazy-aggressive, which resulted in both extreme efficiency (fourth in passing success rate) and some really big big plays (128th in passing IsoPPP, which measures the magnitude of the successful plays).
This was a very all-or-nothing defense as a result.”
Now think about what we did well last year. Generally, okay defending the pass but giving up huge chunk plays when we didnt. We struggled to stop the run on early downs, a direct result of poor linebacker play and no depth combined with safeties that had to stay back to protect the young corners. I dont think those issues go away this year completely. There are really not enough LBs to fully run the Grantham defense and not sure how much better the safety position will be either.
I think its realistic to expect some improvement, several more sack, but also still a lot of big plays allowed. Here’s a guess: At the end of the year we will be a Top 5 SEC defense (Top 25 nationally), allowing about 310 ypg and 21 ppg.
August 20, 2018 at 1:04 am #34894
Well stated amayzng. Those are realistic expectations for the defense. Considering all the changes, those would be excellent results.
The biggest difference I expect to see is the offense leading the team again. The defense may not have to score for us to win games.
August 20, 2018 at 6:10 pm #34910
There are reasons to believe that the Gators may have enough linebackers for Grantham’s scheme. The linebacker corps was so thin last year that a walk-on, Christian Garcia, was playing significant minutes. But this year, with the return of Ventrell Miller and James Houston from suspension, the situation looks quite different. Reports indicate that they are both playing at a high level, as are David Reese, Jeremiah Moon, and Vosean Joseph. You can add Kylan Johnson and Andrew Chatfield (a 4* recruit), and the depth looks pretty decent. Of course, injuries can change the outlook, as they can for any of the positions on the field, but I would not identify this as a current area of concern.
Safety seems to be a much larger concern, with the need to use Iverson Clement in that role during some practices/scrimmages. He remains a running back, but I can’t help but wonder whether he will be called on to fill this role during the season. If the starters can stay healthy, they should do a good job. Otherwise, this could become the weak spot in the Gators’ defense.
I’m pretty optimistic that that can be a very good defense, assuming that they learn the system without too much difficulty. I would not be surprised to see them finish in the top 25 nationally.
August 21, 2018 at 3:58 am #34912
We may finish well. It’s the early games with UT and UK that will challenge how quickly we can learn a defense.
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