USF Bulls 2015 Preview: Defensive Line and LB’s

By on September 1, 2015

 

            In our continuing look at the upcoming 2015 USF Football season we preview the Defensive Line and Linebackers.

Bulls linebacker Nigel Harris (57) tackles Louisville Cardinals running back Dominique Brown (10) during the first half at Raymond James Stadium. (photo USA TODAY Sports / Kim Klement)

Bulls linebacker Nigel Harris (57) tackles Louisville Cardinals running back Dominique Brown (10) during the first half at Raymond James Stadium. (photo USA TODAY Sports / Kim Klement)

Two men remain as stalwarts on an ever changing Defensive coaching staff.  Raymond Woodie and Eric Mathies are 2 of 3 coaches left from Willie Taggert’s initial coaching staff.  Mathies and Woodie will be tasked with helping implement the 4-2-5 defensive scheme of new Defensive Coordinator Tom Allen.  Allen has replaced the 3-4 defense used the last two years with a 4-2-5 defensive scheme.  Switching to a 4-2-5 scheme will cause the Bulls to sacrifice size for speed in hopes of stopping the spread offenses which have become prevalent in college football.

One of the few bright spots for the defense last year was the play of the defensive line.  While the secondary had the second worst Passing Success Rate in the nation, the front three held their own against offenses limiting their opponents big play ability by allowing a total of 8 rushes of 30 plus yards.  The trio of Junior Derrick Calloway, Sophomores Deadrin Senat and James Hamilton return to plug up the middle for the Bulls.  All three defensive tackles weigh over 285 pounds and will look to impose their will on opposing offenses.  Joining Calloway, Senat and Hamilton on the line will be Senior Defensive End Eric Lee and Senior Defensive Tackle Demetrius Hill who combined for 43 tackles in 2014.

            The Defensive Line is not the only group looking to make a difference in 2015.  With three returning starters from last years’ 2014 team, the linebacking core are looking to make a name for themselves as well.  Returning for Coach Raymond Woodie are Junior Nigel Harris, Senior Tashon Whitehurst and Sophomore Auggie Sanchez.  The linebackers are an impressive group, led by Harris who last year led the nation in forced fumbles and finished the season with 63 tackles.  Playing next to Harris will be Tashon Whitehurst who had 5 sacks to go along with 41 tackles last year and turned heads in the spring game recording 19 tackles.   The unquestioned leader for the linebacking core is Sophomore Auggie Sanchez.  Sanchez, in his 1st year as a starter, finished the 2014 season with 49.5 tackles as well as 2 sacks.  Sanchez will be playing the “Mike” Linebacker role, calling out the audibles and defensive alignments.

            Enthusiasm abounds for the Bulls Defensive Line and Linebackers.  The 4-2-5 scheme will allow the defensive unit to utilize their speed and athletic ability to not only react to plays but make big plays as well.  That could go a long way establishing confidence on a unit that while young is still relatively inexperienced.

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