10 Things I Learned Against ECU

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterEmail to someoneGoogle+share on TumblrShare on Reddit

What does the loss to ECU mean? That is a question I was asked right after the final whistle. I was not sure how to answer it then, and I am not sure how to answer it now. So let’s break it down. Here are 10 Things I Learned Against East Carolina.

1. Where did the defense go? Coming into the ECU game, the one unit that gave Hoo fans a warm and fuzzy feeling was the defense, particularly coming off the Duke shut out. So what happened?

The Virginia defense struggles against teams with speed.

Speed happened. So far, Virginia has faced three relatively athletic offenses, and the Hoos have given up at least 24 points to each of those teams, letting two crack the 30-point barrier. Simply put, UVa does not have a fast defense. In fact, it is one of the slowest – if not the slowest – defense in the ACC.

An infusion of speed is in process on the defensive line. Nate Collins and Jeffrey Fitzgerald , for example, offer more speed and athleticism than we have seen at their respective slots in past years. And the secondary is not one of the fastest in the league, but the speed in that unit is adequate. The unit that really needs to get faster is the linebackers.

When you run a 3-4 defense, the LBs are the key. As I wrote in my preseason article about the 3-4 defense, I simply do not believe that you successfully can play the 3-4 defense in college if you are going to use other school’s DEs as your LBs. Clint Sintim and Antonio Appleby both would be ends in many college systems, and Jermaine Dias might be, too. Jon Copper plays smart and hard, but he is no speed demon.

Speed is king in college football, covering up the mistakes that defenses make, particularly young defenses. In my opinion, if you do not have enough speed on the field at linebacker, then you are playing with