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Baylor Football

Midweek Breakfast: Defense trending up for 2017 with DC Phil Snow

May 17, 2017
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Over the past few seasons, the Baylor defense and Big 12 defenses as a whole have lacked tremendously. The worst job in college football has widely been acclaimed by Big 12 defensive coordinators.

Proof behind this claim hides behind the fact that the Big 12 had zero teams within this past season’s top 50 rankings of total defense, and only one inside the top 72; Kansas State sits at 51. The Bears ranked 81st last season, giving up on average 5.43 yards per play and 430.8 yards per game.

New defensive coordinator for the Bears, Phil Snow, hopes to turn around the image of Big 12 defensive coordinators as well as the less than stellar Baylor defense.

Snow, a 40-year coaching veteran, spent the last four years in Philadelphia under Matt Rhule. He has spent time as a defensive coordinator at Boise State, Arizona State, UCLA, Washington, and in the NFL with the Detroit Lions.

While at Temple, Snow had the Owls within the nation’s top defenses the past two seasons and within the top 50 each season he was there.

In 2014, Temple was the No. 7 ranked scoring defense, No. 13 in 2015, and No. 11 in 2016. In combination with a highly-ranked scoring defense, their total defense was much of the same. Improving each year, Temple’s total defense rank went from No. 36 in 2014 to No. 16 in 2015, and to No. 4 in 2016.

Snow’s scheme is a base 3-4; however, he has said it will be multiple in style. In the Green and Gold game, we saw this in action as we saw several different fronts and coverages. There were a lot of positives taken from the spring game.

The defensive line was getting a push and collapsing the pocket. Brian Nance returned and the emergence of Michael Johnson is of comfort. Both recorded a sack and ended with a couple tackles. Transfer James Lockhart also previewed his potential, recording three QB hurries and two tackles for loss.

Linebackers were filling the correct gaps and making big time tackles for loss. In combination with their efforts in the run game, they broke up several plays.

Eric Ogor and Lenoy Jones Jr. were the standout backers, making seven and six tackles respectively. Jordan Williams also recorded six tackles and a forced fumble.

The secondary made play after play. While they may have gotten away with a few pass interferences, it was great to see defensive backs being physical. Beyond the physicality, the pure quickness displayed by the backs will be extremely helpful in coverage.

Overall, the defense looked sharp; however, this needs to be taken with a grain of salt (as is the case with any team's spring game) as this was only a small portion of what can be expected. With big time playmakers such as Taylor Young returning and new additions in DeMarco Artis, Harrison Hand and others, the defense looks to be a force.

Beyond Snow, the staff he brings with him is loaded with talented position coaches and recruiters. Three coaches followed him and all have been of huge impact.

Francis Brown (defensive backs), Mike Siravo (linebackers), and Elijah Robinson (defensive line) are the three new Bears. It's important to note that Siravo also serves as the recruiting coordinator and has been instrumental in stringing together the 2017 class which had one commit back in January.

"Defense wins championships” has become cliché but it continues to ring true. While it may not happen this next year, Snow’s tenure at Baylor, should it mimic that of his time at Temple, could very well lead the Bears into the Big 12 title race once again and perhaps even the College Football Playoff *knocks on wood*.


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Midweek Breakfast: Defense trending up for 2017 with DC Phil Snow

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