to give their pre-game opinions.
Additionally, I will be featuring fan opinions from otherBig 10 teams and teams from the Big 12 & Pac-12.
Am looking for more Guest Commentators...are you a fan or know a fan of a team not represented?
Check at the end of this post for information on how to guest commentate..
Defense, Defense, Defense
We have several new fan commentators joining us in our weekly get-together. Welcome Buffalo Up from the Pac-10 Colorado Buffaloes and Hawkinator from the Iowa Hawkeyes! Also a big Welcome to Bo Big Red of the Nebraska Cornhuskers and Hullabaloo checking in from the Texas A&M Aggies! And we have Boone's Boy and his perspectives on the Oklahoma State Cowboys. Glad to have ya!
Monday Morning Update! Shout out to "Red 5 Standing By", providing commentary on the Pac 12 Utah Utes!
Last week we talked a bit about offense.
This week's questions center around the defense:
1. How do you feel about this year's defense?
ie the D-line, Linebackers, Pass Defense.
2. Regarding Offense and Defense,
which group do you feel has the most experience?
Angie's Note: Team commentary will be added as it comes in throughout the weekend......
Black and Gold Girl:1) We lost three of our main guys on the D-line so I think that the coaches will have their work cut out for them on the line - but that doesn't mean it's impossible. Adrian C.up front and Tyler Sash's back field contributions will be missed, but Adrian was so tightly covered in his senior year that I don't know we'll really see a noticeable difference on a game by game basis. It'll be tougher without him, but do-able. I think the key player who needs to stay healthy is Norm Parker, our defense very clearly misses him when he's gone so we wish him good health not just for the games but in general. If Tyler Nielsen stays healthy and Micah Hyde has a smooth transition, then the overall defensive outlook: cautiously optimistic.
2) I think our offense is more experienced than the defense, quarterback excluded. Riley Reiff, Marvin McNutt and James Ferentz have been around the block a few times. I feel like there's a little more predictability on the offensive side than on defense in terms of performance, but that doesn't mean the defense won't be exciting. You never know what kind of a cocktail you'll have when you replace a few key starters, and with the quarterback change up this year, I think the first few games will be extremely interesting to watch on both sides of the ball.
Hawkinator: 1. Unfortunately Iowa has a lot of holes to fill in defense because we lost a lot of guys to the NFL, but we do have a strapping group of young, hungry new guys that are ready to step in and do the "Iowa" thing (for those of you who don't know what the "Iowa" thing is, it's kickin' butt and takin' names - especially Ohio State).
2. Besides breaking in a new quarterback, Iowa's offense has more experience than the "young" defense, and definitely shows serious potential to do some of that "Iowa" thing I referred to before.
Hawk Guy: 1.) This year could be difficult for the defense. Historically, the Hawks play the run well, but our d-linemen are largely untested. The secondary is probably even more suspect than the front seven. The coaching staff still has not named starters in the secondary as late as the middle of this week! With a bend but don't break defensive mentality we could definitely see higher scores put on the scoreboard by the opposition. The spread offense is always the biggest weakness of the Hawk defense as a whole. I look for the defensive line to carry much of the burden with hopes that the strength coach Chris O'Doyle will have them strong enough to overcome some of the weak points of the defense.
2.) I look for the offense to be more impressive initially than the defense. Neither side of the ball has much experience, but it is more difficult for the defense to gel with so many unanswered questions as of this point. I look for the defense to come together after the second or third game. However, the offense should be relatively sound as they don't format the offense to specific talents of players on that side of the ball as much as they do on the defensive side, ie. defensive schemes such as nickel and dime are more geared to players with different situational talents. The riddle of whom will be at these skilled positions is largely unsolved as of this moment.
Silver Fox: I talked some about the defense last week. What I will say about the offense is that I'm glad Marcus Coker is the starting running back. He's better than Robinson, Wegher, and Hampton-who all would have been ahead of him this year and last were it not that they all are at other schools now. I do wish them well there, but hopefully we have people now of better character and more reliable. That's more important than winning.
Turnkey Tim: I feel optimistic about this year's defense. We have a revamped defensive line. New linebackers. Some new faces for pass defense. Guess what, this is a very fast defense. Norm Parker has stated as much. This is a year where we have more experience at defensive back than we have in the front seven. Not to be too concerned. many of the players had ample playing time along the way last year. Nielson at outside linebacker, a starter before he got hurt, is in the mold of Edds, a former productive outside linebacker now in the NFL. If he had not got hurt last year, we would have won at least two more games. James Morris, if he stays healthy, possibly one of the best linebackers ever to wear the black and gold. This kid is smart, fast, and reacts even faster in the game situations. Defensive line, some questions as to how good we; we just may be surprised. On pass defense, S. Prater, along with Micah Hyde have two spots locked down with ample experience at the other two spots. Colin Sleeper from Solon may be one to keep an eye on. He has earned praise from Kirk Ferentz.
Regarding experience of offense vs. defense, I'll go with the offense. Riley Reiff at left guard, Ferentz at center lead off a good group of offensive linemen. Coker at running back makes me happy, but we need to develop depth fast. Look for true freshman McCall to get a hard look. Other than Marvin McNutt at wide receiver, we need some new guys to step up. At QB, Vandenburg may be a new starter but he has quality game experience and Big 10 Network analysts say he could possibly be one of the better QB's in the league. Bottom line - we need to keep our players healthy - this is the biggest factor towards an overall record. Go Hawks!
Ace: New Gopher coach Jerry Kill brings something to Minnesota that they haven't seen in decades, a coaching staff that's been together for the better part of ten years. Look for them to improve greatly during the season. Not saying they are going to win a lot of games but with a little luck and lack of injuries the Rodents of Minny could surprise some people. Most likely the key to success is in the hands of Quarterback Marquis Gray, who again plays quarterback. Big, strong, and athletic if Gray can stay healthy he could put up some big numbers. On defense well they haven't stopped anybody in a decade or so and there is is only one way for them to go UP! Look for the Rodents to slowly crawl out of there hole and improve over the season. Look out Badgers, you know what a Gopher does to a Badger hole!!
Buck-I: 1. With 7 starters gone from last years defense and 2 big names gone from the front line (Cameron Heyward & Dexter Larimore) one of the questions has been - can they get pressure up front? Two guys are back from injuries that have been starters previously so that should help on the experience side. From the pracitices so far it doesn't appear like they have lost much as far as speed and getting to the backfield. I think the defensive line and the linebackers will be solid with the pass defense coming along.
2. There's not much doubt about it - the defense will have more experience than the offense - especially the 1st five games. Even after the suspensions are done the offense will still be lacking experience at quarterback so I think the defense is what will carry them throughout the season. Go Bucks!!
A'maize'n Blue: MIA this week, hopefully coming up this weekend :)
Bo Big Red: Blackshirts Deeper, More Physical and More Knowledgeable This year, this is our year to Dominate THE BIG TEN Nebrska is known for it's "SMASH MOUTH FOOTBALL" Defense is our biggest weapon, But the Offense and Special Teams have had a great training camp. I think is safe to say that NEBRASKA will Dominate The Big Ten this year!!!
Steve: Badgers first game is up against the Packers last exhibition game. Wish I had picture in picture. Predictions are slim this week as so far they are needing some devine intervention. My prediction is that they will come around. I do predict Wall and White will have 2400 yards rushing. Call it Steve's big prediction. Enjoy the football season everybody!!! Game is on...........
Bevo Jr.:Defense HAS to step up this year, the Longhorns allowed way too many points last season for as few as we scored. UT has a new Defensive Coordinator, Manny Diaz, who is getting the troops re-orientated with tons of new schemes. More experience this year with Keenan Robinson back and being a leader. A couple of ‘studs’ at linebacker will be huge, one being Jordan Hicks who was recruited out of the state of Ohio. Pass defense has been pretty good but could use more speed to the ball from DB’s; that is being worked on – we will see.
Defense probably has better experience, but both groups are getting a needed re-build (overhaul). A lotta new faces are making hits so far in practice, but it’s too early to name names because things will probably change as positions are contested. But there are many good, tough potentials being molded into Longhorns. We’ll know more about names in the next couple of weeks as the cream begins to rise to the top.
This is more of a “rebuilding year” rather than reloading, unusual for Texas football. 5 wins and 7 losses last year was NOT fun.
I don’t want to sound vague, but with almost a complete staff overhaul this year, and Mack Brown with his usual ‘close-the-vest’ tactics, a lot is going to be “new” about the Horns. But expect positive change.
Hullabaloo: I’m cautiously optimistic. This is a young defense that made huge strides last year under Tim DeReuyter in his first year as coordinator. There will be some new wrinkles this season and the defense will be more aggressive with a better understanding of DeReuyter’s 3-4 scheme. Because of this, I expect an overall improvement despite the loss of NFL stud Von Miller. The defensive line is losing end Lucas Patterson but should still be solid with returning players like Jonathan Mathis and Tony Jerod-Eddie. Humongous shoes to fill at linebacker with the leading tackler Michael Hodges leaving as well as Miller. Several candidates to step up here particularly Sean Porter who the coaches feel is ready to take his game to the next level. The veteran secondary should be the strength of the unit with senior coverage specialists Coryell Judie and Terrance Frederick returning at corner along with hard hitting senior strong safety Steven Campbell.
Regarding Offense and Defense, which group do you feel has the most experience? The offense for sure. I say this because all the offensive playmakers are returning while the defense lost its main playmaker. It all starts with quarterback Ryan Tannehill who saved the season last year after taking over for the ineffective Jerrod Johnson. Tannehill has been looking very sharp in practices and is the unquestioned leader of this team. This time last year he was participating in as many wide receiver drills as quarterback drills. At running back, Cyrus Gray emerged as a superstar, ripping off seven straight 100-yard games to close last season. Gray could be a Heisman hopeful if he can hold off backfield mate Christine Michael who’s returning from a broken leg and is very hungry to re-establish a two back attack. It was Michael’s injury that opened the door for Gray. Speaking of superstars, Aggieland is grateful that wide receiver Jeff Fuller came back for his senior season instead of testing the NFL waters. Fuller has already shattered several school records for his position and leads a talented group that includes Ryan Swope and Uzoma Nwachuku. -Farmers fight!
Boone's Boy: Always cautiously optimistic about OSU’s defense especially when they begin Big 12 play, but they did show signs of life of life last year and finished in the middle of the pack…points against. We’ll have to wait and see who steps up in week one before giving too much praise to anyone on the D.
Returning our QB, RB, WR that were a part of an offense that produced on average, 44 points per game which ranked 3rd in the country. The defense however was a little shaky and averaged 26 points against so, we’ll once again rely heavily on the offense to rack up as many points as possible.
Buffalo Up: In the newly expanded PAC-12 the Colorado Buffaloes are going to face an uphill battle when facing the pass heavy offenses that define the conference. The defensive secondary has been a position of strength over the past few years, however the departure of the 2 starting corners to the NFL (including first round draft pick Jimmy Smith) has left a gaping hole at cornerback. The safety position is strong with returning starter Ray Polk coming back at free safety and former starter Anthony Perkins coming back at strong safety after an injury. The defensive line will be a point of strength this year with 3 returning starters and the linebackers have great potential to have an impact in both the passing and rushing games.
Offense is the more experienced side of the ball for the Buffaloes this year as all skill players from last year are returning. Quarterback Tyler Hansen gets his shot to shed the shadow of a 4 year quarterback controversy involving the former head coach’s son Cody Hawkins. Hansen was the starter last year before rupturing his spleen midseason and performed well then and during the spring this year. The other skill positions are even stronger with Rodney Stewart entering his senior year and coming off of a giant season last year, he has found himself on numerous award watch lists and is expected to exceed expectations, which has been his M.O. since arriving on campus as a 2 star recruit. Receiver is equally strong with former Michigan starter Toney Clemons on one side and the rising Paul Richardson on the other. The offensive line will attempt to replace first round draft pick Nate Solder at left tackle but features some of the most experienced players on the team.
Red 5 Standing By: Our mothers always warned us to be careful what we wished for, and the 2011 Utah Utes would do well to heed mom’s advice. Utah begins play in the expanded Pac 12 conference in 2011, meaning that the Utes are trading in a schedule that featured the likes of New Mexico, UNLV and Wyoming for a schedule that features teams like USC, UCLA, Washington and Arizona. Nevertheless, Utah has had its fair share of success against BCS-conference opponents over the past 10 years (including BCS bowl wins in 2005 and 2009), and many experts pick Utah to win the newly-formed Pac 12 South Division. If that comes to pass, it will likely be because of Utah’s front seven on defense. The defensive line is particularly strong at end, where Derrick Shelby returns to anchor one side of the line and Dave Kruger – the younger (though not smaller) brother of Baltimore Raven Paul Kruger – will anchor the other. Reports from camp indicate that Brian Blechen’s move from strong safety to linebacker is paying big dividends by getting more speed on the field. Though talented, the secondary is inexperienced after losing standout cornerback Brandon Burton to the Minnesota Vikings. Don’t expect a lot of “coverage sacks” from the Utes this year – if the pass rush falters, Utah is vulnerable to the deep threat.
Utah’s defense appears to be head and shoulders above its offense, due in part to an injury-bug outbreak along Utah’s offensive line. Great things are expected from Jordan Wynn, Utah’s returning starter at quarterback, but there is very little depth on the offensive line left and virtually no experience at running back. Utah will run a more pro-style offense this year after snatching away Norm Chow from UCLA to be the new offensive coordinator, but Utah will rely heavily on its defense to create turnovers and put the offense in propitious situations. From a scheme standpoint, Utah’s defense will be the same it’s been since head coach Kyle Whittingham became defensive coordinator 16 seasons ago: play man-to-man in the secondary and bring a lot of pressure at the line of scrimmage. If Utah’s secondary can hold up its end of that bargain, expect good things in 2011 from the Utah Utes.
Still Needing Volunteer Fan Commentators From:
Have Texas and Oklahoma State...how about Oklahoma, Iowa State etc
Any fans out there? I have Colorado covered, how about other team fans?
Independent team fans?
Open to suggestions, Notre Dame? etc :)
Email me (Angie) at
or comment on this here post with your email and I'll touch base.
Once again, thanks to all the cool team commentators!!!
Next week's questions to center around recruiting, coaching and special teams.
Then the season begins with pre-game commentary!!!
See Ya Next Week Right Here
at Football Friday Discussion!