Pass!!! USF Bulls 2015 Preview: Secondary

By on August 28, 2015
Senior Jamie Byrd (USF Athletics photo)

Senior Jamie Byrd (USF Athletics photo)

  In our continuing look at the upcoming 2015 USF Football season we preview The Secondary.

After watching his defense drop from 21st in the nation in 2013 to 69th in 2014, Willie Taggart not only fired Defensive Coordinator Chuck Bresnahan but also parted ways with Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Backs coach Ron Cooper.  Replacing Bresnahan and Cooper are Tom Allen and Alonzo Hampton.  Allen has replaced the 4-3 defense used the last two years with a 4-2-5 defensive scheme with hope of stopping the spread offenses of the AAC.  Hampton is tasked with improving a much maligned secondary that ranked 106th in the nation last year in Pass Defense Efficiency.

The secondary is the most experienced group on the defensive side of the ball.  12 players return from last years’ squad, led by Senior Jamie Byrd who led the team with 83 tackles including 2 interceptions.  The rest of the squad will look to Byrd for guidance as he is the lone player on the Bulls roster with experience playing in a 4-2-5 scheme having played one season at TCU.  Allen’s 4-2-5 defense will have Byrd playing a “hybrid” position allowing him to use his speed and experience to play closer to the line, enabling him to provide run support, blitz or drop back into coverage.

Joining Byrd in the secondary is Sophomore Strong Safety Nate Godwin who was 3rd on the team last year with 72 tackles.  Junior Johnny Ward returns as well looking to improve on an impressive 2014 season which saw him finish with 36 tackles, 2 INT’s, 3 pass break ups and 1 forced fumble.  Also returning are Deatrick Nichols, Lamar Robbins and Tajee Fullwood.

Coach Alonzo Hampton has a difficult challenge in front of him but he seems up for the challenge as does the secondary.  They are for all intense purposes “all in”…challenging themselves every day to prove that they are the backbone of the defense and a force to be reckoned with.  They want the nation to know as well that 2014 was an aberration and 2015 will be the dawn of a new era.

 

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