Having watched these scrimmages for several years now, the staff of VandalVenue.com is actually intrigued by the performance so far of the Vandal defense. Granted, the offense is making some serious adjustments with coach Erickson's new offensive schemes, so the unit as a whole is at a comparative disadvantage.
But against an offensive line that returns four starters, the defensive line is making a push. Linebackers are stepping up and stuffing running lanes against backs like Jayson Bird and Rolly Lumbala. The ends are putting good pressure on a veteran quarterback, and the defensive backs are getting in the grills of a group of veteran receivers.
More to the point, this defense is absolutely flying to the ball this spring. They're being aggressive up front, smart in the backfield, and rugged throughout the linebacking unit. In general, this side of the ball has seen the most true-freshman play the last two years, and the maturity is starting to show.
Up front, despite the loss of junior iron-man Siua Musika at defensive tackle this spring, some depth has definitely emerged within the ranks, along with steady performances by players like Ryan Davis, Josh Shaw, Ben Alexander, and Charles Campbell, all of whom will be counted on to play leading roles this fall.
In the backfield, some noteworthy performances have been on full display this spring by the cornerbacks; namely Reggie Jones, Stanley Franks, and Jason Martin. This trio is turning out to be a rock-solid group, which is important given the youth that will be backing them up this fall.
The linebacking unit is as deep and athletic as advertised. David Vobora, Josh Bousman, and Jaron Williams have seen the most time with the #1s, but the play of Jason Brown, Brandon Ogletree, and Robert Davis makes this a strong, athletic group. Replacing an All-WAC first teamer like Cole Snyder, plus team-leader Mike Anderson, will be challenging, but this group is showing some grit.
Offensively the team has shown some explosiveness (for those that haven't seen a 6-5, 255-pound TE rumble 60+ yards on a TD pass, you might want to check out the next scrimmage), but is still working on consistency. This is to be expected, and the group overall is making progress daily.
More on that later...
For now, we tip our hats to the defense on an impressive effort so far this spring.