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Previewing the UC Davis defense

How will the Aggies line up on defense?

NCAA Football: UC - Davis at Colorado State Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Sometimes I will admit defeat in my errors, this is one of those times. In my preview of UC Davis I mentioned that the Aggies line up in a base 3-4 defense. However, after taking a look at the depth chart and film from earlier in the 2015 season, it shows that UC Davis lines up in a 4-3. However, something to note is that at the end of last season (against a shotgun spread offense opponent) the Aggies lined up in a 3-4 a vast majority of the game against the Sacramento State Hornets.

Overall, the defense doesn’t do much flashy. Very little in the tapes I watched did I see them send any sort of a blitz. Nor did I see any games or stunts among the defensive line. However, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the defense throw a few more stunts this Saturday against the young Oregon line. The defense does have some speed, but overall it’s a pretty small defense with only one starter taller than 6’ 4”.

The leader:

Entering his third year as defensive coordinator, the Aggies are led by Bert Watts. Prior to joining the staff at UC Davis, Watts has spent time working for the Denver Broncos as well as the Colorado Buffaloes. In his time with the Aggies, he has had a handful of players make the second team all conference as well as honorable mention, but is yet to have a player make the all-conference first team. One notable player that Watts coached was safety, Charles Boyett, who if you’re guessing right now, yes he is the brother of former Duck John Boyett.


Last year the Aggies gave up an average of 34 points per game, with the worst performance coming against Northern Colorado when they gave up 56 points. The team also averaged giving up 448.8 yards per game, in a season that was titled “injury plagued”. Where they really got burned last year was on the ground where they gave up 237 yards per game, with the worst performance coming against Cal Poly who had 491 rushing yards. One thing of note is the poor performance the defense had last year in the second quarter of games. Last season they gave up 119 points in combined second quarters, which was nearly 30 more points allowed than the next closest quarter. If this trend stays true this year, there will be a great opportunity for the Ducks to pile it on before half time and hit the cruise to finish off the game.

Three players to watch:

Darryl Graham, #21, junior defensive back, 5’ 11”, 180 lbs.

On the defensive side of things their defensive back Darryl Graham leads the Aggies. In starting just eight games last season he was still the leading tackler with 76, while the next closest player had just 60. Also has two interceptions over his career.

Russell Reeder, #53, senior linebacker, 6’ 3” 225 lbs.

Started in nine games last season before missing the final two thanks to injury. Was one of the most consistent players on the defense, as even though he missed two games he still finished tied for third on the team for tackles. The Aggies are looking for the stability in the defense to lead them to a more consistent season.

Inoke Raikadroka, #75, senior defensive tackle, 6’0” 290 lbs.

In a group with lots of young players, the senior is the unquestioned leader for the team. Last year playing in all 11 games (starting in eight), he finished with 32 tackles and led the team with his 4 tackles for loss.

Depth chart takeaways:

· Starting six seniors, one junior, three sophomores, and one freshman

· Young depth chart, featuring only seven seniors on the two deep depth chart

· Bryce Rodgers, the lone freshman starting comes from the Palo Alto area. He features a good body frame at 6’3” 285 pounds.