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Bulls rebuilding defense with youth


Mama_Bull

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Bulls rebuilding defense with youth

March, 26, 2010 1:47PM ET

By Brian Bennett

TAMPA, Fla. -- No Big East team lost more talent on defense from last year's team than South Florida.

Don't believe it? Just ask the NFL. Five Bulls defenders were invited to the NFL combine, more than any other league team by far. Throw in another departed solid senior in linebacker Chris Robinson, and South Florida must replace not only its top playmakers but also more than half its starters.

That's the bad news. The good news is, while the defense may be extremely young this season, new coordinator Mark Snyder does not lack building blocks.

"There's talent there," Snyder said. "It's young talent. But you know what? Those other guys were young at some point in their career, too."

The most obvious holes to fill are at defensive end, where George Selvie starred three years and where Jason Pierre-Paul became a sensation in just one season. They were, in many ways, the faces of the defense.

Get ready for some new names.

Claude Davis hopes to take the same route as Pierre-Paul, from junior college to immediate superstar. Unlike Pierre-Paul, the 6-foot-4, 247-pound Davis enrolled early and is going through spring practice.

"He's athletic," Snyder said. "We've just got to teach him what to do. He's of the Selvie mode. He's running around crazy right now, but he does run around."

Ryne Giddins, the highest-rated recruit to sign with a Big East school in 2009, could emerge as the starter at the other end spot. Giddins played in three games last year before an ankle injury ended his season. Redshirt freshman Julius Forte and senior Craig Marshall are also in the mix, and South Florida has good experience and ability in the middle.

Snyder says the defensive line is "SEC-like" in its depth, and he's doing many of the same things that the previous coaching staff did up front. One difference is that the line will have a strong and weak side this year, so the ends will flip depending on how the offense lines up.

"That's a little bit of an adjustment, but other than that, it's the same," Marshall said. "[selvie and Pierre-Paul] are a big loss, but I think we have people that can fill the void. We've got some playmakers at defensive end."

Snyder also likes the depth at linebacker, though the position is mostly young, too. He called senior Jacquain Williams -- a juco import who played in every game last year -- an "unbelievably pleasant surprise." Williams could start at the SAM, or strong side, linebacker. Sophomore Sam Barrington looks ticketed for the middle after an impressive freshman campaign.

The secondary, especially at cornerback, is a concern. Snyder says the Bulls are "young and thin" there, and that a newcomer -- with highly-touted freshman Terrence Mitchell being an obvious candidate -- likely will have to come in and contribute right away.

The defense lacks experience at most spots, but it still has South Florida's trademark: speed.

"It's hard to move and get after people when you don't have speed," Snyder said. "And we do have speed. We're going to have to get after people a little bit."

Experience is terrific, but nothing beats ability. Perhaps in a year or two, this defense will send a bunch of players to the NFL combine, too.

"As long as everybody is on the same page and gives good effort, there's no reason why we can't be a good defense," senior linebacker Sabbath Joseph said.

Bulls rebuilding defense with youth

http://espn.go.com/blog/bigeast/post/_/id/8699/bulls-rebuilding-defense-with-youth

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I'm excited about the LB's this year with Joseph, Barrington, and Williams out there they could be better than last year at every position. Hopefully Barrington despite being a soph can keep par with Kion, dude was a beast.

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i hope usf rebuilds with talent

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i hope usf rebuilds with talent

Did you read the article?

Snyder says the defensive line is "SEC-like" in its depth, and he's doing many of the same things that the previous coaching staff did up front.

There is PLENTY of talent already here.

Let's see if he can do a better job with it. 

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I'm excited about the LB's this year with Joseph, Barrington, and Williams out there they could be better than last year at every position. Hopefully Barrington despite being a soph can keep par with Kion, dude was a beast.

New video interview of J Williams. He says that D Spires is the guy he's battling with for the starting spot. I'm happy to see Spires back on the team and competing so well.

http://www.gousfbulls.com/newMediaPlayer/sl/console.htm?id=699324&type=vod&oemid=7700   

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Whatever happened to George Baker? I had high hopes for that kid, and thought he might eventually start. If he can't start in the secondary this year, I was clearly mistaken.

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Rebuilding the D-line should not be a problem. We're loaded.

Losing and replacing 2007-George Selvie would've been tough. Losing and replacing 2009-George Selvie...not so much.

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I'm excited about our FRONT SEVEN !

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Whatever happened to George Baker? I had high hopes for that kid, and thought he might eventually start. If he can't start in the secondary this year, I was clearly mistaken.

He seemed to be lost last year when he played.  Not within 10 yards of receivers at times.  He needs to improve a lot to see an increase in playing time.

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Chris Robinson was the worst linebacker to start for us last year. But because he was a senior, he was out there.

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