Rankings of SEC teams: Pass Defense

Today, we take a look at teams’ ability to stop the pass.

1) Alabama Crimson Tide

Although Alabama was hit hard by NFL Draft losses, the only big one on defense was Marcel Dareus. And it is a big one. But remember who’s coaching this team. Kirby Smart will never let one or even five losses affect the team, and he will be replaced either. Nick Saban will lick his chops whenever opponents throw because even if Alabama cannot get a great blitz, the secondary is incredible. Mark Barron, Dre Kirkpatrick, Robert Lester and Mark Barron form what may be the best secondary in college football. Throw one up there and one of these guys will grab it. Throwing deep will be an absolute last resort against Alabama.

2) LSU Tigers

One upon a time, there was a defensive back named Craig Loston. He has incredible versatility, speed and ups. Better that you guys know now then after he explodes onto the college football scene. He was lost behind Patrick Peterson and Jai Eugene, but with them gone, watch for Loston and Morris Claiborne to step up and snag any errant football. LSU always has nasty defenses, so this isn’t anything new. And watch out for LSU’s front 7 to help out by putting a truculent blitz on unsuspecting QB’s.

3) Arkansas Razorbacks

Nobody knows a single name in the Hogs’ secondary? That’s cool with Rudell Crim, Elton Ford, Tramain Thomas, and the rest of the defensive backfield. This team only surrendered 23 points a game in 2010, and most of those guys return. Crim in particular can appear from nowhere and grab a ball out of a receiver’s hands. He’ll play back, back, back, and then the second the ball is thrown, he’ll jump the route and pick it off. The front 7 will play a big part as well, disrupting the QB’s timing with heavy blitzes.

4) Mississippi State Bulldogs

MSU doesn’t do anything fantastic, they just do everything good. And they have a good pass defense, featuring junior cornerback Johnthan Banks, who had a pair of pick 6’s against Tim Tebow in 2009 and picked off another pass in last year’s game. Fellow junior Corey Broomfield should lock down the other side of the field, meaning MSU has two solid cornerbacks to match up against the top two receivers. We’ll find out how much the defensive line helps out with blitzes, however.

5) Kentucky Wildcats

Huh? Kentucky in the top half of the SEC in anything? Finally, an SEC East team, and one of the worst, gets on the board. Why the Wildcats, though? They have the most underrated defensive player in the country- Winston Guy. He draws a lot of comparisons to Major Wright, for bringing the heavy hitting and great instincts to a defense. Anthony Mosley, Mychal Bailey and Randall Burden should step up and make some big plays too. And then there’s Danny Trevathan, who can blitz as a linebacker and can play decent coverage as well. This will be a decent pass rush, mainly because nobody expects it to be.

6) Florida Gators

There’s only one reason Florida is this high. It’s because their front 7 promises to be deadly. It will pick up the pass defense, which loses Ahmad Black and Janoris Jenkins. What was the Gators’ rock is now its Achilles heel. Jeremy Brown is the lone returning starter from one of the best secondaries in the nation, and he’s a pretty dependable one. He’ll need help, though, and between Cody Riggs, incoming freshmen Marcus Roberson and Chris Johnson, he should get some. The pass defense will rely on big blitzes from a particularly evil front 7 to carry it.

7) Auburn Tigers

Neiko Thorpe and Demond Washington are two pretty decent corners having been through a championship run. They’ll know what to do when it comes to locking down on the big time receivers, which will be a necessity come big games. The pass defense may actually be a strength of the Tigers in 2011, compared to 2010 when it was a liability. A big question mark: what does the pass rush do to pitch in?

8) Tennessee Volunteers

Humongous question: Does Janzen Jackson play? Every day, something different: he’ll play, no he won’t, he’s back in school, he won’t play though, and on and on and on. Oh and what’s up with Brent Brewer? (thug) What’s going to happen with the pass rush? This team could shoot way up or drop even lower depending on who actually plays for them come September 3rd. The 8 slot is just a purgatory for Tennessee.

9) Mississippi Rebels

Damien Jackson and Marcus Temple are unheard of outside of Oxford, Mississippi. They don’t care. Temple was the one who stuffed Tim Tebow on the fourth and one in the Swamp, forty thousand years ago. But he’s done much more than that since then. So has Jackson, namely recording 44 solo tackles a year ago as a freshman in the secondary. Unfortunately, too many passes were caught to make that look impressive. We’ll see how much that changes in 2011.

10) Georgia Bulldogs

Brandon Boykin might be one of the best cornerbacks in college football. He drew some big time receivers a year ago, and held his own. And now, Alec Ogletree seems ready to step up and play well as a safety to complement him. Shawn and Nick Williams will likely be behind him, along with Bacarri Rambo. But now the question must be asked: what will happen with Todd Grantham’s new defensive scheme? The answer will determine Georgia’s success.

11) South Carolina Gamecocks

It’s weird to see a team picked by many to win its division so low in the rankings for anything. But the truth is, Carolina was bad defending the pass last year as well. It’s just too bad that Florida didn’t take advantage of that. Devonte Holloman and Stephon Gilmore aren’t bad, but both have tendencies to jump too quickly and get beaten. That cannot happen if Carolina wants to repeat as East Champions. It happened too much last year, too bad Florida never threw or it would have been the Gators in ATL instead. But they can’t hide it this year. Florida and maybe even Georgia will punish them if they jump too quickly.

12) Vanderbilt Commodores

And here lies the Vanderbilt Commodore pass defense, in it’s rightful position of dead last. If you allowed a Steve Addazio offense to burn you, you lost your respect. And UF hung 55 on the Dores last year. That same defense returns, including defensive back Jay Fullam and linebacker Chris Marve. Neither is bad, but the whole defense is. Watch for the worst offenses to have a field day with this inept defense- much like Florida did last year.

One thought on “Rankings of SEC teams: Pass Defense

  1. Great article man, this time I can’t disagree with anything. Hopefully our D-line is so good that our DBs aren’t forced to be great

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