April 24, 2008

New attitude on defense

It's been quite some time since Texas A&M has owned a defense worthy of the name Wrecking Crew, which was bestowed upon the Aggies defense annually throughout the 1980s and 90s. After the departure of R.C. Slocum, the architect of the Wrecking Crew from his days as defensive coordinator, as head coach in College Station, the defense just hasn't been the same.

The current decade has seen a nosedive in defensive efficiency in Aggieland that has led to a change in defensive coordinators from Carl Torbush to Gary Darnell during Dennis Franchione's five-year tenure in College Station. The change didn't provide positive results as the Aggies finished no. 83 in the nation in total defense last season by allowing 415.77 yards per game. They were no. 65 in rushing defense and no. 92 in passing defense.

Even though it's unlikely that the Aggies will make a jump into the top 10 in defensive categories in 2008 like the old Wrecking Crews used to do on an annual basis, or even into the top 50 nationally, there is a definite change in attitude coming out of the spring. That attitude starts with the high energy of new defensive coordinator Joe Kines.

Every day on the practice fields you could hear the 63-year old Kines hollering from all ends of the field, running 30-yard sprints to get the ear of his players or every now and then an official who made a call Kines didn't agree with. Every time he broke a huddle with his defenders, two words were uttered - "Wrecking Crew." If they didn't say it loud enough, Kines jumped their case yelling that the Wrecking Crew has more emotion than that and they would do it again.

"He's a fun guy to listen to. He's full of energy and full of life," said A&M defensive end Cyril Obiozor. "We got a sneak peak of (his game day coaching) right here in the spring game. We came in at halftime and he told us exactly what we were doing wrong and he told us exactly how to fix it, and it worked."

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