Tuesday, August 7, 2012
Nation's top two secondaries are in Big 12
By David Ubben
Colleague KC Joyner took to ranking the nation's top two secondaries , but there's a pair of surprising teams at the top.
The SEC is the league with the defensive reputation, but the nation's top two teams, Alabama and LSU, both finished below Texas and Oklahoma State, who Joyner says are the nation's No. 1 and No. 2 secondaries.
Both of them are outstanding, but even I was surprised to see those two atop the list.
For both teams, it starts with eye-popping duos at cornerback.
For Texas, it's Carrington Byndom and Quandre Diggs. At Oklahoma State, Justin Gilbert and Brodrick Brown are the guys stopping receivers on the outside.
All four may make a case by season's end as the Big 12's best cornerback, but according to Joyner, they're the backbones of the nation's top two secondaries.
Joyner is also a believer in Texas safety Kenny Vaccaro, who racked up 82 tackles and keeping opposing receivers from gaining more than four yards per pass attempt.
Meanwhile, Oklahoma State's Gilbert stuck out to Joyner as the best cornerback in college football last season. His five picks and 5.2 yards per attempt suggest that's the case. He also broke up or intercepted 20 passes, second-most in college football.
Those aren't the only two Big 12 teams on Joyner's list.
What about Oklahoma? The Sooners check in at No. 8, with a nice trio of their own in Tony Jefferson, Aaron Colvin and Demontre Hurst.
Joyner reminds that even though the secondary faltered in high-profile losses to Baylor and Texas Tech, the same unit allowed a passer rating of under 106 in eight games.
Now, new coordinator Mike Stoops is in town to give the Sooners a boost in the secondary. The Sooners lost cornerback Jamell Fleming, but Fleming's 9.2 yards per attempt give Joyner reason to believe the loss will result in addition by subtraction.
I'm not so sure about that, but ultimately, the season will tell.
Are you a believer in the Cowboys and Longhorns as the nation's top two secondaries? What about the Sooners? Too high? Too low?