The Five I'm Watching: Part II
- Age: 46
- College: Georgia Tech '85
- Previous role: Defensive coordinator, Minnesota (1998)
- Theme song: ``Down in It," Nine Inch Nails
- Relevant lyric: "All the world's weight is on my back and I don't even know why."
THE GOOD: Ted Roof has the experience and knowledge you'd expect from someone whose career is rooted in coaching college defenses. Fellow coaches were impressed by the things Roof did during his season at Minnesota. He took a terrible defense and made it average during a period of six months. He did it with a series of odd formations, blitzes, schemes. So you know he's competent. Roof doesn't struggle with confidence, which means the memories of Auburn's terrible 2009 season -- the team set a record for points allowed -- likely won't affect his approach in a negative way this fall. He'll have more talent and more bodies at his disposal this time around; Roof was limited last season by a defense that featured few reliable reserves. Two FBS assistant coaches have told me they'll be surprised if the Tigers' defense isn't significantly better in 2010. They believe in Roof.
THE BAD: The numbers. Auburn's defense wasn't very good last season. What happened? We know Roof was compromised by a lack of depth on defense, which forced him to consider conserving his linebackers after halftime. He said that wasn't a thought, that Josh Bynes and Craig Stevens were fit enough to handle 90 snaps, but I don't believe him. The Tigers were more base than they should have been during the season's second half. Talk all you want about Jessel Curry, but he's a freshman. Eltoro Freeman remains an unknown. The same goes for Jonathan Evans. Is the linebacker corps going to be that much better? I sense that coach Gene Chizik will feel pressure to make a change at coordinator if the team doesn't make significant defensive progress this season. I still project the team's defense to be below average, though it's impossible to assess any of Roof's strategic adjustments at this stage. Maybe he's developed something innovative during the past six months.
THE REALITY: Auburn will be better on defense. That's the key to the team's overall success because we know (with some degree of certainty) that the Tigers will average at least 23 points per game. That creates a reasonable margin for error. Still, I expect defense to be a weakness.
What do you think? Speak your mind!