What kind of offense and defense can we expect in 2008?

Hi Als fans. I have been pondering a few things lately. Things like: what kind of defense will we see next year. The Als have a new defensive coordinator, and a new LB (Reggie Hunt). Will the Als have a 3-4 or a 4-3 defense? Will it be an attacking defense, or a more reactive defense?

What can we expect from the offense? We have a new OC that has no CFL experience as an OC. Will Milanovich build on Bellefeuille's awful "4 yard out, straight run up the middle" system? Or will he be creative?

I am curious to see what kind of systems the Als will run. More important, I want to know what kind of identity Trestman will imprint on the team.

I really don't know. I wish we all could be enlightened. Until that happens, I'd love to hear what you guys think.

Dominant Defense, Crappy Offense, Good Special teams... That's what I see.

Really? I think our O will be better than last year, just by virtue of Bellefeuille being gone and us having a real head coach instead of a figurehead. And Trestman is an offensive guru to boot.

My feeling is that we won't be particularly dominant in any area. It's a rebuilding year, in which the team will slowly develop its on-field identity. If we go 9-9 on the season, I'll be quite happy.

Maybe it will be slightly better with a different gameplan. But last year with the Dropped balls, Slow start on the snap by the O-Line, Penalties, Bad throws...those aren't due to Strategy.

No, you're right, but when your OC sucks and your HC is a posturing egomaniac who doesn't know the first thing about coaching a football team, you aren't exactly motivated to go out and give your best. A lot of the guys on our offense had success for many years before last year. They didn't just become bad players overnight.

I for one am willing to wipe the slate clean and give them a chance to show that last year was an aberration, not a downward trend.

Dropped balls and bad throws I agree are not due to strategy (or, in the Als' case last year, the LACK OF a strategy).

However, slow starts on the snap, as well as penalties, while having nothing to do with strategy, certainly do have a lot to do with coaching. Those two problems are related directly to team discipline, and that is a coaching responsibility.

Now, we've signed this new LB, Karibi Dede; anyone know anything about him? We're pretty well set at the two OLB spots, with Hill, Ferri, Taylor, and Reggie Hunt to choose our starters from; I'm far more concerned about MLB, so does anyone know if this new guy has ever played there before?

You're right, discipline is the coaching responsibility. False starts or lack of explosion happened several time during every game last season. Those are the basics of the position, and playing at a professional level and it shouldn't happen as often as it did last season.

Just the way I feel.

MadJack, isn't Taylor a MLB? Or maybe my memory is playing tricks on me. In any case, I heartily agree that the need for a legit, run-stopping MLB is great. At OLB, we have a wealth of options, including possibly moving Ferri to the secondary to let Hill and Hunt be every-down players.

I do believe that Taylor has played some at MLB, but usually it seems to me on certain passing downs. Otherwise he was usually played in Butler's old spot.

At 215 lbs. I don't think he has the bulk to be a run stopping MLB.

It is awfully crowded in the defensive backfield (not that I'm complaining). I think one of the possibilities is the Als going to a 3-4 defense.

As far as Karibi Dede...you can check out the man here:

[url=http://www.mediafly.com/Podcasts/Feeds/SEC_Football_Video_Podcast_presented_by_Regions_Bank]http://www.mediafly.com/Podcasts/Feeds/ ... gions_Bank[/url]

And click on the Karibi Dede Video podcast link (Fri November 17th.)

Scouting report: Karibi Dede

A reader recently asked about Karibi Dede, who will play middle linebacker for Auburn this season. The thrust of the question was about Dede's ability to handle the position. Can he play middle linebacker? It's an interesting idea.

So I came up with this: I'll do some biographical retrospectives on significant AU players. We'll go through their career progression, see how they improved or regressed, and I'll offer my scouting report on the player. I'll do a few of these per week, which will last into the summer.

I don't like letter grades. Reminds me of school. So I'll use the 20-80 scale that baseball scouts use.

20 is the lowest rank.
80 means exceptional skill.
50 is average for a Division I-A scholarship player.

There are five skills I believe are more important. They are:
Speed
Technique
Stamina/durability
Football aptitude
Attitude

So here we go:
KARIBI DEDE, LB (No. 21)
6-0, 216, Senior
The basics: An intense kid with accelerated academic ability. Dede isn't vocal, but players respect his willingness to work hard even when he wasn't in the spotlight. When he makes statements in meeting or on the field, teammates listen carefully. Began his career at safety for John Lovett. Speed was a problem there. Dede was moved to linebacker before the 2004 season. Settled in behind Kevin Sears on the strong side. Moved to middle linebacker during spring 2006 after Travis Williams graduated.
2006 outlook: Starting MLB. His understanding of the defense is superior to everyone on the field. DC Will Muschamp leans on Dede to help organize before the snap. Coaches never complain about Dede because he never slacks off, and makes mistakes at full speed. He'll be the primary defensive leader.
Summary: Important leader. His future probably isn't in football, Dede is an exceptional student and hopes to get into special education. He reminds me of former defensive back Adlai Trone, who filled a similar role on the 2000 team. Neither is immensely talented, but they play hard, play smart and genuinely care about doing a good job. It's not fair to expect Williams-type play from Dede. He's a different player with different strengths. Williams was a missle. Dede can hit, but he's more of an organizer. OLBs Will Herring and Tray Blackmon will be the designated missles on this defense.
Tool box:
Speed: 55
Technique: 60
Stamina/durability: 65
Football aptitude 70
Attitude:65

6 ft, 216 pounds, sounds like another Taylor.

With running backs in this league like Joe Smith, Joffrey Reynolds, and Jesse Lumsden, I am less than confident that someone that size can handle the MLB spot.

At 215, yes, Taylor is undersized for the MLB position, especially in today's CFL with the bigger RBs.

The Als need more speed in the backfield and a greater defensive rush-blitz ability. On offense the team has to cut down on the 4 yard up the middle run and 4 yard outside pass. These were too predictable last year. Also neded is more speed in the backfield. Kerry watkins could be more active re the end around run. He has the required speed to be effective here. In addition, backs like Hamilton, Imoh or new recruits could incresae backfield speed while decreasing the tendency of opposing defenders to key on Payton. In addition, the Als should find a way to utilize Carter who was effective in the last part of 07.

On defense, the team needs to upgrade the rush-blitz aspect of their game. A new rush end is needed outside of Alan Kashma, the team was inadequate in 07.. The team, with the loss of Boulay, must look for a new import at that position. Since the loss of Baron Miles we have not seen the safty blitz option.

At QB, the Als might rotate Brady in that position. He demonstrated QB ability in 07 giving the Als a run-pass option. I believe the CFL requires more ability of the QB's to run and scramble. The NFL pocket passer does not work in the CFL.

Brian Clark was released by the Stamps. If I'm Jim Popp, I move on Clark hard right now. He'd be a perfect fit at MLB, especially if we do wind up adopting a 3-4 D.

No argument there, I do believe that there is still some serious gas in that particular tank. Can't hurt to bring him in for a look-see in training camp anyway. Even in a standard 4/3 I think he'd look pretty good in the middle.

Then we would have a logjam at the OLB spots with Hill, Ferri, Taylor, and Hunt; maybe send one of them along with someone else to Hamilton for their #1 pick in the entry draft, and we can take Barker who just might be our answer at safety if Proulx falters or gets injured.

Just a thought..........

The Als are in a rebuilding phase. I don't think it would be useful to bring in a 33 year old linebacker. Popp tried to sign Clark 3,4 years ago and he opted to go to Calgary.

Ticats let Armour one of the best OLB in the game walk so they could use Mariucz at the position so forget about trading them our "least apreciated" players.

I'm sure the als will find a solution at MLB. I think Dede might be the guy they are looking at.

But even in a rebuilding phase, you need veterans to show the younger players the way. The Ti-Cats made that mistake last year and paid a serious price. Clark would not only be useful in this capacity, but he’d also be a good fit at MLB under a defensive coordinator who was involved in running Calgary’s 3-4 D.

I’m not saying Clark is our long-term answer at MLB. But he can be a nice bridge to our future at that position.

And at 6 feet, 216 pounds, I am not convinced that Dede is the MLB we want. Not big enough. Clark, on the other hand, is 6'2'' and 224. Not a massive difference, mind you, but he sure has the CFL experience to play that position.

Not sure about 3/4 or 4/3...........in Calgary, it was Creehan who ran the 3/4 defence; when he got fired and Burke took over, the first thing Burke did was switch the Stamps defence back to a 4/3.

Personally I don't care which, really, I'd just make the determination based on the talent we have.

Brian Clark is not even close to an answer in the middle. A guy going on his 10th year that has lost a serious step? Not a chance. He’s an OK athlete, dont get me wrong, but he cannot run with young talent anymore. If the Als wanted to bring in an import middle guy, they are better off signing someone that has made his run in the NFL for a couple years, and is still hungry to play. Someone with some legs.

And Dylan Barker is not ready to step in and play safety right now.