The distribution of awards rolls along. Yesterday we tackled the offensive MVP. This time we focus on the defensive side of the football. Unlike the offensive MVP, there is slightly more variation in our answers as Silverberry Mouhon, Greg Blair, Nick Temple, and Jordan Stepp all came up. But at the end of the day we were pretty well split between three of them.
Again, our choices up front followed by a poll and the comments section to throw in your two cents.
Tommy Perry: Silverberry Mouhon. He didn’t finish the year off as strong as he started it, but the his first act was pretty tough to follow. He finished the year with 41 total tackles, 12.5 tackles for a loss, and 9.5 sacks. Greg Blair was a tackling machine as usual, but Mouhon and Zach Edwards were the big pleasant surprises on defense this year. Mouhon is only a Junior, so look for him to come back and continue to wreak havoc next year as a Senior.
Ben Levin (@LevinMachine): Greg Blair. Bar-none, the heart and soul of this defense, and this team. Led the team in tackles by 26. Somebody will have big shoes to fill next year at MLB.
Spencer Tuckerman (@spncrtckrmn): Nick Temple: You could certainly make an argument for Greg Blair, but I thought Nick Temple had a huge year. Coming off a solid 2012 season, expectations were pretty high for Temple, and I think he met those expectations. He finished second on the team in total tackles (79), first in tackles for loss (13.5), and third in sacks (5.5). In addition, he made an absolutely incredible interception early in the Purdue game which really set the tone for an opening day blowout over the Boilermakers. Greg Blair was pretty much tabbed as the leader of the defense this season, but he needed a sidekick. Temple gave him that. Look for him to step up into the “quarterback of the defense” role next season.
Mike Jorgensen (@Bearnati): Hard to say. If I had to pick just one guy I think it has to be Greg Blair but I think Nick Temple, Jordan Stepp and Silverberry Mouhon are all worth consideration. The defense this year had great statistics but didn’t seem as tough when we played real opponents. Personally, I was a huge fan of Brian Kelly’s decision to go to a 3-4 scheme a few years ago but Butch undid that and Tubby left it at a 4-3. The defense this year was… malleable? They usually came through when they needed to put didn’t really face any offensive juggernauts. Still, there were some great performances from our seniors and lots of encouraging plays from our underclassmen. If we stay on the path we’re on we should have a solid defense for years to come.
Chris Bains: Like you guys, I’m waffling between Blair, Mouhon, and Temple. Each one of those players are more than deserving of this award. However, when I take a step back and look at his overall contributions to the team, I have to pick Nick Temple. Despite being an “undersized” linebacker, he was extremely disruptive. Temple led the team in tackles for loss and the linebacking corps in sacks. This from a 5’10” linebacker. I can’t wait to see what he can do as a senior next season.