Bud Foster is candid. He doesn't mince words with coachspeak, or vagueness. When he talks, I'm all ears. Andy Bitter posted an interview with Bud (links are here for parts 1 and 2) and it goes a long way to figuring out what next year's defense will look like. It's very informative, so read both parts.
The most intriguing part of the conversation is about the secondary. The front-seven is experienced and everyone kind of knows what that group is going to look like. Although, Foster does divulge Chase Williams might move back to Mike to backup Jack Tyler while BRUUUUUUUUCE is out. Plus, Dadi Nicolas, Justin Taylor and Kris Harley look to be factors along the d-line. But, those guys will most likely be second or third string players. The defensive backfield needs to replace starters Jayron Hosley and Eddie Whitley while figuring out what the hell to do with Kyle Fuller. (It goes without saying, the latter is a good problem to have.)
Foster doesn't know where Kyle Fuller —"the MVP of our defense last year"— will play in 2012. However, we do know the other corners and safeties will make the decision for him. If Jarrett, Manning or Tookes don't seize the opportunity to play opposite of Detrick Bonner, then expect Fuller to remain at corner. If any one of the safeties (Vandyke, Aromire, Hopper, Cole) don't step up, then it's possible Fuller moves there. As of right now, I'd pencil him at safety for two reasons: 1) I think the corners are more ready-to-play 2) for our scheme, safety is a thinking man's position. That's not to say the other guys are dumb, it's just that because of his experience Foster trusts Fuller making all the right calls on the backend.
Bud also mentioned the possibility of Kyshoen Jarrett moving over to safety. That's an interesting idea. Jarrett is talented enough, but like I said above, for it to be possible he'd have to demonstrate an understanding of the mental game. What would be really fun to see happen is if Jarrett (or anyone not named Kyle Fuller for that matter) can win the safety job, and one of the freshman, Manning or Tookes, win the other corner job. Then the defense has the luxury of moving Fuller all over the field (hint: Whip).
It seems like figuring out a way to stop Clemson and be better agains the spread is on Bud's mind. As it should be.
Missouri runs a spread offense. Is that something specifically you want to look at in terms of defending?
"Obviously we're going to be playing Clemson again. I think at times we played the spread pretty well. We did in the bowl game, with the exception of a couple plays, but it's getting different people's thoughts. It looks like the ACC is kind of going that way with Larry Fedora coming in and instead of North Carolina being a two-back offense, it looks like they'll be an up-tempo offense. That's what Missouri is. So I'm curious to talk to them, how they defend their people too. Because their offense is all no-huddle, empty a guy out, motion a guy back in and different things that make you change your calls, even in mid-stream, or the kids have a lot of check-with-me calls. So I'm just curious to see how they game manage and things of that nature.
For what it's worth , this is the first time I've heard about the relationship our staff has with Pinkel's at Mizzou. In recent offseasons Beamer Co worked with Georgia and Ohio State.
My favorite quote of the interview, which might be your's too, was: "I want whoever we play, it's going to be a struggle for them to play well against us. And that's what I want." We all do coach.
What does everyone else think?