Photo by Lance Winter
Bobcats expect to make plays with explosive defense
When asked what he’d like fans to see out of his defense, Chris Woods was reminded of a U2 song.
The first-year Texas State defensive coordinator highlighted these lyrics from U2’s Walk On: “A place that has to be believed to be seen.”
Woods wants his defense to help make Bobcat Stadium a “horror show” for opponents. He wants to put 11 guys on the field that the Texas State faithful can be proud of.
“I want them to see guys that they want to watch,” Woods said. “They don’t want to watch a bunch of guys stumble and bumble around. I get that part. So, we just need to play hard. We need to play physical. Aside from that they’re going to see a defense that’s really aggressive.”
It’s no secret Texas State wants to be more aggressive this season. Woods and head coach Everett Withers have admitted it multiple times during the preseason. But how would Woods define the aggressive style? The simplest answer he gave is the Bobcats are going to pressure opposing offenses often.
“Calling more blitzes and more pressures,” Woods said. “There are a lot of ways to do that. It’s easy to say. But it’s harder to execute. You have to be careful about exposing younger (defensive backs) to too much stress. So we have to be careful about how we’re constructing it. I also think a hidden part of it is just how you’re coaching even just your basic techniques when you’re not blitzing.”
On that youthful secondary, Woods thought the unit was a big concern after the spring. Woods, however, has key guys like junior safety JaShon Waddy and sophomore cornerback Kordell Rodgers in the fold. But youthful talent has also emerged during training camp.
“We’re just trying to see who can separate and be (secondary) guys that are in the mix now,” Woods said. “There’s going to be that time. I tell our guys all the time, ‘You don’t have forever. Camp, at some point, camp does end and we have to start getting ready to go win football games,’ which means you have to get your core group of guys and coach the heck out of them. So, we’re still kind of looking for these young guys to separate and who’s going to work their way into that group. There’s a lot more talent there than we had in the spring.”
But surrounding the secondary, Texas State has seasoned players. Woods has continually been impressed with junior linebackers Bryan London, and Nik Daniels and senior linebacker Frankie Griffin. On the defensive line, defensive end Ish Davis and junior nose tackle Dean Taylor have caught his attention.
Heading into the 2018 season, Taylor expects to make plays in Woods’ aggressive defense.
“Turnovers, big sacks and all of that kind of stuff,” Taylor said. “In this defense, we have a bunch of different things going in that we didn’t have before and I feel like it’s really going to change up how we play now. I think we’re going to play a lot faster. Just more explosive and stuff like that.”