Here is a look at the defense after seven games witten by Rick again…
Now that we have the offensive grades behind us, let’s look at the Defense so far. There is no doubt we have seen improvement these last two weeks (stuck that line in for Dirty Rich). Injuries have been few, with the exception of Quintin Wirginis. I personally wish this young man well and hope his surgically repaired knee heals in time for him to get a chance to play at the next level. Here are my mid-season grades for the defense –
Dline = C
This seniors are good at stopping the run but below average for the pass rush. Underclassman DE Weaver is having an above average season; with three fumble recoveries, one forced fumble and 3.5 sacks.
Back-ups = B
DE Jones, DT Twyman, DT Watts and DT Wheeler are stepping in and making plays on a regular basis.
LB’s = C –
Tackling has been weak most of the season, with the exception of Wirginis and the back-up efforts vs. ND.
Back-ups = B
Brightwell, Cam Bright, Reynolds (now starting) and Chase Pine are playing well.
CB’s = C –
This is an average group that is starting to play better. They need the scheme to be the 4-2-5 (Nickel set) going forward with the next 5 or 6 ACC games, to continue to improve.
Back-ups = C –
Need to see more of Coleman and Paris Ford – they are too stealth IMO.
Safety’s = C
The two starters are night and day. Hamlin seems to be rising to his 4* recruiting ranking and Briggs is a good Captain, but is below average in pass coverage.
Back-ups = C +
Stocker, Garner and Phil Campbell seem to be slight upgrades when they are in the game.
DC = C –
Other than the Albany and ND games, the defense has given up a lot of points and looks similar to years past under HC Narduzzi. Randy Bates has made some changes starting with the Syracuse game that have me believing he has his troops moving in the right direction. The Duke game will help solidify my beliefs or squelch them.
Editor’s note: these grades look to be about right. We are well on the way to a 6 win season at best and it shows it what the defense has done. As I said in a comment in the Offensive Grade article… He defense shines brighter only when compared to our offense.
Here are the official stats and ranking for the 2018 season to date: