Secondary, from weakness to strength

Submitted by ATLalumni on September 22nd, 2010 at 2:45 PM

I dont know about you guys, but I'm pretty excited watching our young secondary develop.  Yes, there are some HUGE learning curves here, but by next year they will be a force to be reckoned with.  We'll have 3 linebacker-sized safeties (Gordon, Johnson, and MRob) starting with a 2 year starter backing them up (lets face it, Kovacs is on bought time).  JT Floyd will have another year under his belt, probably with CC on the other side.  This will be the strenght of our Defense come 2011!!


Edit:  this was no knock on Kovacs, who will still be very valuable.  Just more excitement/expectations for the others, in particular MRob.



September 22nd, 2010 at 7:30 PM ^

There is one major assumption everyone makes about Woolfolk, namely, that he will fully recover from his dislocated ankle.  I sure hope Troy is completely healed.  However, and this comes from my wife, a physician with considerable experience with this type of injury, and from  literature that I read shortly after the injury, this is a very nasty injury which often leaves the victim with somewhat compromised ankle function.  A severely dislocated ankle is a lot worse than your typical ACL or MCL tear.  Here is more than you wanted to know about dislocated ankles:

Let's keep our fingers crossed.


September 22nd, 2010 at 2:49 PM ^

There are a lot of great guys back there, guys that should be huge. The trouble is, we DEFINITELY need to win this year. We have been so far, so, good, I guess. But if that learning curve proves too steep for one year, we'll be in trouble.


September 22nd, 2010 at 2:49 PM ^

"lets face it, Kovacs is on bought time"

I don't think the guy who has been a starter for two years, has been forcing turnovers, is the best tackler on the D, and who RR and GERG describe as the smartest player out there who keeps everyone else where they need to be is on "borrowed time."

I'm not saying he is a lock to start next year, or the year after.  I'm saying you are being WAY too dismissive.


September 22nd, 2010 at 2:54 PM ^

Kovacs starts next year.  Hopefully not at deep safety... but I think he starts.  Obvious physical limitations aside, the dude excels in the box and I would be willing to bet that he fends off the competition when he no longer has to play deep. 

Gerald R. Ford

September 22nd, 2010 at 9:49 PM ^

But - regardless of all the crap that goes around here, Kovacs makes plays.  If he gets surpassed by others in the future, fine.  But this is one guy I will not speak about negatively.  I am not telling anyone what they should and should not think or write.  In my opinion, this is one guy on the current roster who will make a play when needed or die trying.  The stripped ball last week sealed the deal in my mind.  Kovacs is on my list of personal favorites.  Just one man's opinion. 


September 22nd, 2010 at 2:54 PM ^

I wouldn't be so optimistic. We still will have very little experienced depth, which will be needed with the injury and fatigue prone positions in the secondary. Plus, experience does not equal talent. Floyd has looked good so far, but he still doesn't have the talent to go up against top-flight receivers, Christian is unproven, and everyone Johnson and Gordon weren't really very highly rated out of high school.

Hopefully next year the secondary won't be the black hole it is right now, but I can't see it becoming a strength of the defense any time soon.


September 22nd, 2010 at 2:56 PM ^

will be a big area of concern next year. Although Obi and Jonas make tons of mistakes and are hard to count on, they have played a ton the past few years. Will Kenny Demens and JB Fitzgerald be able to fill the void? Hard to say as they have not played that much (though JB has played some). Also have to think about how to replace Van Bergen, he is steady and holds up relatively well at the point of attack.


September 22nd, 2010 at 2:58 PM ^

This thread was only about the secondary, which, given your concerns, probably WILL be the strength of our D in the next year or two.

Up front, I think we're all hoping Campbell puts it all together and has a killer two final years.


September 22nd, 2010 at 3:34 PM ^

First, Van Bergen is a junior and will be coming back next year. I don't think it will be that hard to replace Banks. Hopefully, Campbell will be ready to start or Black will take the spot. The bigger concern is if Martin has a huge year and decides to go pro.

Second, while Demens and Fitzgerald haven't been able to displace Ezeh or Mouton, I think they are decent replacements, former four stars who will be a senior and a redshirt junior. Then we  have Brandin Hawthorne, Mike Jones, Isaiah Bell, Jake Ryan and probably a few others who are in the mix to play linebacker next year. We will be fine.


September 22nd, 2010 at 6:10 PM ^

I really wonder about Campbell.  I was thinking it would be more likely that Van Bergen slides over to Banks' spot next season and Black takes over Van Bergen's spot, leaving Campbell as Martin's backup, if he's deemed ready enough to do even that.  At this point, I really wouldn't be surprised if Campbell never becomes more than a goal-line substitute, which would of course be disappointing. 


September 22nd, 2010 at 6:59 PM ^

Campbell is only a sophomore; still has plenty of time to develop.

RVB - didn't start until his RS sophomore year; he seems pretty solid now

Banks - had some spot duty last year but really didn't play much up until this year; he seems pretty serviceable so far

Woolfolk - didn't play much until he was a starter last year; pre-injury he was the savior for our secondary

Obviously you will have guys like Martin and Roh that somewhat hold their own as freshman and then became solid contributors as sophomores.  This should be more the exception than the rule if you are recruiting and developing your players.

Campbell is still young; I don't think it is too unreasonable to be patient with him as he improves his technique/conditioning/whatever it is that is keeping him off the field.


September 22nd, 2010 at 7:39 PM ^

I'm not giving up on Campbell, I just don't see him starting next season, unless he shows huge improvement and/or Martin leaves school early.  I don't think that's a big deal either, if Martin stays and Black continues his pace of progression that we've read about (might be a big if, I admit). 

Beyond that, we'll probably really need Campbell come his senior year (unless Richard Ash explodes onto the scene), so I hope he puts everything together. 


September 22nd, 2010 at 3:00 PM ^

I wouldn't bank on T Wolf being back next year. That is a brutal injury that will probably take a while to recover from just to be able to run normally.

Also with the defense I'm at the point where I need to see it to believe it. We do have athletes coming in at multiple positions which is exciting but who knows whether CC is ready as a true freshman or whether the Angry Michigan Safety hating God will ever let us progress from doom to anything above sub par at that position.

Gerald R. Ford

September 22nd, 2010 at 9:55 PM ^

Troy is a great athlete, and if he does not fully recover to the extent that he can play corner, he may still be valuable at another role position provided he can get some significant portion of his speed back. Even with 90% of his speed, he might play a key role on special teams in a worst case scenario. 


September 22nd, 2010 at 10:40 PM ^

from a first person perspective is the Penn State player who got hit by Daydrion Taylor.  By far the hardest hit I ever saw.  Unfortunately career ending for both parties.   Now that was one helluva good defense.



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NOLA Wolverine

September 22nd, 2010 at 6:25 PM ^

Well I suppose we can't really debate this, but he's the only player I see from the secondary who comes up and knocks runningbacks backwards, consistently goes head to head with players, and has a nasty streak (For example, see Mouton's interception, where he headbutts the notre dame receiver as he gets up for the hell of it.). I see it in him atleast.


September 22nd, 2010 at 4:01 PM ^

Cam Gordon took some heat after the ND game, but he has one interception and one pass breakup so far this year.  May not sound like much, but last year Woolfolk, Kovacs, and Williams combined for just one interception and two pass breakups for the whole season (no matter where they lined up).  Gordon's mistakes against the Irish saw him missing the opportunity to make a play, but at least he was in the TV screen (unlike more than a few plays last year).

Considering this guy is just a freshman playing the first games of his life at the free safety position, he's done a pretty good job shutting down the gaping hole we had at that spot last year.  Sadly, the one at linebacker still exists.


September 22nd, 2010 at 11:00 PM ^

There have been too many plays from our secondary where our secondary DOES NOT APPEAR. If Cam Gordon keys on the wrong reciever, well... at least he was covering somebody. Nothing kills me more than watching a corner or a safety standing in between two recievers about 10 yards apart, not knowing enough about his assignments to commit to either.

I don't care if you do it wrong, just do SOMETHING.