The Cincinnati Bearcats must still have a bad taste in their mouth over the 34 points they yielded to the Duke Blue Devils in the Belk Bowl this December. In 2013, the Bearcats decided to sign five defensive backs to the program and ramp up a lacking pass defense.
Tommy Tuberville hit the secondary harder than any other position and rightfully so as the team needs to be able to control big play offenses within the Big East.
Darren Dotson and Zach Edwards are two DB’s that the Bearcats will rely heavily on in 2013 as they maintain the speed that Tuberville is always looking for. Bearcat recruiting is usually about speed as Tuberville said earlier this week that he “[doesn't] look at size as much as much speed and quickness of the players.”
Cincinnati signed four defensive linemen and three more athletes to shake up on the defensive front will be evident in the coming NCAAF seasons.
Last season the Bearcats averaged just 14.5 points allowed per contest, but in big games the secondary seemed to disappear. Versus then No. 16 Louisville Cardinals Cincy was throttled in the pass game as they lost an overtime thriller 34-31 in October.
The Louisville game and the Belk Bowl were the only two instances where the team gave up more than 30 points in 2012. If they’re to compete again for a Big East title the defense must show up in big games.
In my mind, Tuberville is making the right decision going secondary-heavy, but it will be up to the players on the field to make a difference moving forward.