Friday, September 3, 2010

Defensive Backs

They call themselves "The Wolfpack" and they are the last line of defense between the opposing offense and pay dirt for the enemy. Obviously, I am referring to the four defensive backs that comprise the Holy Cross defensive backfield. So many times in football, a stud cornerback or safety can drastically change the outcome of a game. Being able to lock down the opposition's best receiver throws an offense entirely out of sync. One has to look no further than the Darelle Revis contract negotiations with the New York Jets which highlights just how much of an impact a cornerback can be. He is arguably the best CB in the league and realizes he is the staple to the Jets defense. The Jets know this, too. I highlight this situation because it exemplifies the importance of strong cornerback play and how it is such a significant part to the defense. Now, back to college football and Holy Cross.

Unlike the defensive line and linebackers, HC will not have nearly as much depth in the defensive backfield due to graduation that claimed both starting cornerbacks in Mike Wright and John Myrick, but the Crusaders will feel very comfortable with the center of the defensive unit. Two of the league's better safeties, Anthony DiMichele and Alex Johnson, who have both seen playing time since their freshman year, will anchor the defensive backfield. On the corners will be the ultra athletic Chandler Fenner (pictured right) and Cav Koch.

Although the cornerback position will be relatively thin in terms of depth, having 5th year seniors Pat Haidon and Dakota Allosso is a huge boost for the defensive backfield, especially the younger guys. Learning from tri-captain Anthony DiMichele, as well as Johnson, Haidon, and Allosso will pay dividends in the coming years. Allosso, along with serving as a back up at safety, will also resume his role as personal protector on the punt team for the second consecutive season. On the outside, Fenner is an experienced cornerback, even though this is his first year as a starter. Last year, he was the primary back up for both Wright and Myrick, and he also played when the Crusaders went into their "nickel" package on defense (the nickel defense is when there are 5 defensive backs on the field instead of four. Usually a linebacker will be taken out in favor of another DB).

The stars of the defensive backfield are clearly DiMichele and Johnson. After starting since their sophomore years and earning play time since their freshman year, the duo are poised for big seasons. I would not be surprised to see the two corral a handful of interceptions between them, but their number of tackles may be decreased. This is not a knock on their aggressiveness or ability to make tackles, but with the defensive line and linebackers looking exceptionally strong this season, not many running backs should be escaping out into the secondary. When looking at defensive statistics for teams, if a DB is a team's leading tackler, that is a telltale sign that the front 7 of that team is weak. This is not the case for the 2010 Crusader football team.

Kevin Doyle '11

1 comment:

  1. Great game today all the way around for the Cross. QB Taggart seemed to make a nice transition and clicked nicely especially in the second half.

    LOTS of weapons!! There's that depth that KD has been highlighting.

    Bring on UMass!