One thing M fans of every stripe agree on is that talent and experience on defense is lacking. Very lacking. Another is that our expectations for our defense this year were low going in. Where opinions begin to diverge however, is what that should mean for our defensive performance. Many are in the "OMGFIREGERGUNACCEPTABLE" camp, many more are in the camp of "this is what we have to expect with so many young players, so much misfortune with departures/transfers/injuries in the secondary, and the lack of talent available at LB. Things will improve next year."
I would like this post to start a non-emotional discussion of our current defense. To do that perhaps impossible task, I would like to confine the discussion to having both camps answer a question. A question based upon what I think we all agree is a truth, which is that much of our defensive breakdowns (defined here as those things that cause our defense to, instead of being mediocre, be really awful) are due to fundamental failures. Poor angles, missed tackles, missed assignments. Poor tackling has been identified by RR as a prime culprit all year. Assignment and gap responsibility failure was identified by Ryan Van Bergen yesterday as the cause of the big plays State had. I think we can agree that these things are defensive fundamentals.
Here is my question, the answer to which I think will determine what camp, if you are undecided on this, you fall into:
Can marginally talented, very inexperienced football players be taught to play sound fundamental football, to be sound at tackling and disciplined at their assignments?
If your answer is "yes,"--then why haven't we done this? If your answer is "yes but there is more to it than that"--what more to it is there? If the answer is "no/only to a degree" - so talent is the only answer?
Where do we go from here?