October 23, 2012

Davis confident in '12 D

You don't have to be a defensive guru like Tommy Tuberville to teach kids a valuable lesson in Football 101.

Rule No. 1 on defense; never leave your feet. It's actually a hard fundamental to put into practice because youth players see tacklers wind up on the ground, taken down by the momentum and collapse of the ball carrier in the open field.

But perfect tackles -- where you square up, bend your knees and keep your arms straight before wrapping up and then using the explosion in your knees to take the ball carrier off of his feet -- only happen in practice at half speed where the offensive scout team expects to get hit and run right toward the defender in a drill.

There's a fine line not to cross and Tech's free safety Cody Davis walks that line like it's a tightrope for the No. 15 Red Raiders -- that team picked to finish ninth in the Big 12 Conference a defensive unit fans prayed could manage a top 75 defense.

Davis has played some of the best football in his college career the past two weeks against some of the Big 12 Conference's best teams and his most memorable plays have come when he has laid himself out there in a last ditch effort to prevent extra yardage.

"I've really focused on wrapping up and running through tacklers," Davis said. "When people lunge or leave their feet before they even get to the guy, that's when you miss tackles. It doesn't always have to look pretty to get the guy down. I've slung plenty of players down in these last couple of games by getting them with one hand. I've been trying to run my feet there instead of just jumping way out."

But textbook tackles and textbook play calls can only be found in textbooks and Davis' defensive coordinator Art Kaufman seems to understand this.

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