March 19, 2007

Spring Preview: Defense

Texas A&M is hoping to improve its defense even more in 2007 after an impressive improvement in 2006 from the dismal 2005 season in which the Aggies finished No. 109 in the nation in total defense and dead last in passing defense.

The hiring of defensive coordinator Gary Darnell brought the 4-2-5 alignment to Aggieland, and for the most part it worked. The Aggies jumped up 75 spots in pass defense as they finished No. 44 by giving up an average of 190.54 yards through the air.

A&M finished in the middle of the pack in rush defense as it ended as the 55th best rush defense in the nation, but as the Aggies improved in their new defense over the season so did the rushing defense.

The Aggies return seven starters from the defense last season, losing safety Melvin Bullitt, defensive tackle Marquis Thornton and linebacker Justin Warren to graduation. Defensive end Jason Jack entered the NFL Draft.

On the defensive line this spring the Aggies will be looking for some players to step up at defensive tackle. Kellen Heard and Henry Smith have experience while Lucas Patterson is new to the position after playing on the offensive line last season during his redshirt season. Red Bryant has been a mainstay on the line for the past three seasons, but he won't participate this spring since he will be going through rehab for his injury from last season.

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