July 15, 2011

Preseason position breakdown; safeties

Louisiana Tech's safety position was its Achilles heel last season. Once teams realized they were Tech's weakness they were exploited regularly with teams who were a decent passing team.

Typically most pass coverage in a defensive scheme for safeties goes to the free safety while the strong safety is mostly for support, whether that is run or tackling support.

Last season when much of the issues for Tech occurred at free safety, Javontay Crowe was playing free safety. This does not mean Crowe is not a good player, he is. He just is not a free safety. He's a strong safety or the nickelback position in Tommy Spangler's defense. That nickel position is more of a linebacker position since that player plays in "the box". Tank Calais played that position last year for the Bulldogs until he got hurt and Crowe filled in for him. Once that happened, Jamel Johnson began playing free safety.

Johnson was a junior college transfer last season for Tech from Cincinnati, Ohio. Johnson is the purest free safety Tech has aside from Conner Nichols who suffered an injury during the spring. Nichols was really progressing before his injury and should become a good free safety once he is fully recovered. Quinn Giles is shown to backup Johnson on the depth chart.

Giles has struggled to find his place at the collegiate level. He's played receiver, corner, and safety. Giles athleticism is through the roof but just can't find his place on the team.

Strong safety for Tech is one of its strengths however. Chad Boyd displays extreme skill at "head hunting" which really is the job of a strong safety. His weakness is that he seems to sellout on "head hunting" and forgets about helping out on a deep route by a receiver. Given he is entering his junior season, expect Boyd to make strides in 2011.

Michael Schrang and Kendall Hayes are slated as the backups to Boyd at strong safety. Hayes very well could end up playing free safety; he has good ball skills and is extremely quick.

Schrang is the future for Tech at strong safety and Nichols at free safety.

Coming next on BleedTechBlue.com is a breakdown of what positions we expect Tech to sign in its 2012 class.

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