Ok, so Ragnow notwithstanding... the article you linked about our DL was focused on the lack of inexperience. Isn't that concerning?
Also, no comment or thought on the injuries we've already began to stack up?
Other than our added depth at DB (a lot of which are still unproven?)... what should make me or anyone think we'll see a "vast improvement in the Defense this year"? ? ?
Agim, Capps, and Jackson all have significant experience though not amazing amounts of significance. We also do not appear to be relying on any true freshmen for the DL. Yeah, experience isn't a shining beacon for our defensive line upcoming season, but all things considered, it isn't a major liability either. Overall it's pretty neutral.
I have a comment/thought. Good job. We have a very low number of injuries that we are concerned about. Much lower than we have been in several previous years and probably on the lower third or so of the SEC. Who all is injured? AJB is out 4 months, backup LB who will be back by game time. Kraus is out with something if I remember, who is not in the top 3 of TE's to begin with. Greenlaw is healing from surgery dating back to the injury from last year so nothing new there.
We don't have any other injuries. Tutt is back from injury, KR3 is back from injury. RW3 tweaked his ankle but didn't injure it in any way. Cornelius has a hamstring that is giving him some troubles, but he's still practicing, just didn't scrimmage.
As of the moment, knock on wood, we don't have anybody who has an injury that would make them miss a single regular season snap next season. Now, that will likely change. Football is a sport with a 100% injury rate. You play the sport and you will get hurt. However, all things considered, we are doing great in the injury department.
Vast? That would indeed be wishful thinking. However, our team had 8 new starters/significant contributors on offense with 2 of them being in their first year playing that position on the college level. On defense, last year we had 6 first year starters/significant contributors with 3 of them being true freshmen. On average, individual players improve each year they are part of the team. There are two important milestones that mark the two biggest jumps in a player's career. From their first year on campus to their second as they build their bodies and get used to college speed compared to HS and from their first year as a significant player to the second as they get used to playing against the big boys.
Now, if we were playing under the exact same Robb Smith defense as it was called last year against the same schedule/opponents players etc..., I'd project that from the returning roster alone, our defense would jump from 70 something up ~10 spots to 60 something. Now, Rhoad's averaged around a 30th ranked defense during his time as a DC. Due to him being the first year as our DC, I expect to fall short of that average. Due to being the first year of us installing a 3-4 defense, I expect us to fall a little bit shorter still. Combining all of that together, I'd venture that we'd have somewhere around a 45-55th ranked defense next year. Vast improvement? Depends on how loosely you use the word vast. Significant improvement though, definitely.