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Who is Playing? Defensive Line

We thought it would be useful to look at the participation charts for the defense and see whether we were wasting some guys and/or who is really getting on the field on defense. In our opinion, if you arent going to get a true freshman 150-200 snaps over a season, then you should've redshirted him (barring injury). If another guy doesn't pull in that number of snaps, then he's probably just filling a scholarship spot that should go to someone else, unless he's behind a star (like Branch). Players who don't get on the field never help you win, and our defense needs a lot of help to win.

Defensive Line
Name Snaps Tackles TFL Sacks Pos
Andre Branch 477 57 12.5 8.5 WDE
Brandon Thompson 479 52 4 2 NG
Rennie Moore 460 39 4 2,5 3T
Malliciah Goodman 475 40 3 1 SDE
Tyler Shatley 214 21 0 0 NG
Kourtnei Brown 145 14 2 1 SDE
Tavaris Barnes 37 4 0 0 3T
Grady Jarrett 34 2 0 0 NG
Corey Crawford 141 14 1 0 WDE
Vic Beasley 6 1 0 0 WDE
Josh Watson 9 0 0 0 3T
DeShawn Williams 56 8 0 0 NG/3T
Tra Thomas 8 1 0 0 NG

Keep in mind we are a 4-man front team even on passing downs. We rarely play a 3-4, and when we do it is the WDE (Bandit) that is usually stood up. Our defense has played 9 games with an average snap count of 67 per = 605 defensive snaps total.

Starters should rack up about ~650 snaps a year, and it looks like some of our guys are going to push close to 700 snaps. We want guys like Branch or Thompson on the field, but we also want to build some depth up front. I don't see where we're building that depth. I see several young guys who won't get over 100 snaps at all, and we're bringing in more DL this cycle who might pass a few of them on August 1.

At DE, we have a working two-deep, but that is all. Crawford has it, and I think he's going to be a really good player here. He won't push Branch too much obviously, but who will push him next year? Beasley has a long way to go as a football player after being shuffled back from TE, but if he has the speed to at least play as a standup pass rusher off the corner, blitz him on 3rd downs. It does not look to me that our staff will do that, and we're going to play a true freshman backup to Crawford in 2012.

On the strongside, I expect much more production than Goodman is giving us in the pass rush. He plays like a run stopper and stopping the run is not the forte of this defense by far, and he doesnt get into the backfield to get TFLs. 1 sack, 9 games into the season, is not enough for Bowers successor. I wouldn't expect more than 8 or 9 for an entire year, but just the one is not getting it done. Kourtnei is a speed end who deserved to have that good game against UNC for his work, but he's not a good football player. Brown has 2 TFL in less than half the number of snaps of Malliciah, and he only has 3. We don't have enough players here to do anything about this problem this year, but Goodman should be pushed hard by a youngster next season. Of course if his weight just goes up, he could be a DT.

Inside, we have BT and Shatley, but we're not using the others. It does look like Thomas has been passed by 2 true freshmen that both play harder than him. However, neither is on pace for even 100 snaps, and if you aren't getting on the field at all you should be redshirting. I think DeShawn Williams is the better long-term replacement for BT, and I'd play him and Jarrett more in the next 2 weeks. I think we've wasted a year where Jarrett could be changing his physical makeup and learning more, like Jerome Maybank. Williams should play more now. Don't look for Thomas to contribute this year.

At the 3-tech, we heard a lot about Barnes this August and he hasn't been on the field at all. We felt that he'd be a pass rushing 3 due to his lack of weight, but it seems like we want to roll with Moore and no one else. Sometimes Shatley gets on as the replacement 3, which isn't a good thing. Barnes needs to be playing more, so Brooks better get cracking. Kevin Dodd will step in here next year with Carlos Watkins, and both will play. Rod Byers will come off a RS but will get looks at SDE as well. Watson will likely not contribute.