|ESPN.com: College Football||[Print without images]|
Paul Jasienski/Getty Images
Coach Mike Gundy and Oklahoma State would like to build a lead -- and keep it -- in Austin on Saturday.
AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki
Dezmon Briscoe and Kansas look to hand Texas Tech its first loss of the season.
Tim Larson/Icon SMI
Linemen, such as LSU's Tyson Jackson, are the strength of an SEC defense.
1. Why do you think the SEC is known for its defense?Bob Davie: It seems as if more quality guys play in the SEC on defense. Recruiting has something to do with it, and in my opinion, it's sexy to play defense in the SEC. As a coach in that league, you take a recruit -- who could be a great player on offense or defense -- you're going to put him on defense. The coaches around the league will tell you that you have to play great defense to win, so I think they really emphasize that side of the ball. 2. Do you believe SEC defenses are that much better than defenses from other conferences? Davie: Defenses in other leagues can match up with the ones from the SEC. But I think a couple of factors are at work here. When I call an SEC game, I walk away from it saying that the defensive linemen -- as a group -- are bigger and faster. It starts on that defensive line and the athletes on that line. The second thing is the quality -- and quantity -- of the defensive backs in the SEC. There's no question, when you're talking about the number of quality athletes on defense, that the SEC has a leg up on others. But I don't think you have the quarterbacks in the SEC that you have in the Big 12, so they obviously benefit from that. 3. What factors have led Big 12 offenses to explode this season? Davie: It's the QBs. Because the Big 12 defenses don't make you pay as much, they throw the heck out of the ball, and it's contagious. There's less risk when you throw in that league. Everyone watched what Missouri did, and now these teams are spreading it out because truthfully, those defenses haven't been able to catch up. But in the SEC, with the exception of Florida, the offenses are more cautious. Their theory is, "Let's not turn it over and let the defense win the game." Also, when you look at it from an objective standpoint, SEC defenses look better and have more athletes than the Big 12 defense. I don't think there's a truly great defense in the Big 12. 4. Hypothetically speaking, how would you see a matchup of a top SEC defense versus a highly rated Big 12 offense playing out? Davie: The Big 12 offense and the SEC defense are way ahead when compared with those of other conferences. It would be a great interconference weekend if these two conferences were to play each other, because I would love to see an SEC defense matched up against a Big 12 offense. Several top defenses exist in the SEC. Alabama and Florida are really good, and South Carolina, although it might be under the radar nationally, has a very good defense. And in the Big 12, you can say the same thing about a number of teams on offense.
By ESPN Research