2012 record: 7-7
2012 conference record: 5-3, Coastal
Returning starters: Offense: 7; defense: 8; kicker/punter: 2
2012 statistical leaders (*returners)
Rushing: Zach Laskey* (697 yards, 1 TD)
Passing: Washington (75-of-133 for 1,222 yards, 8 TDs, 4 INTs)
Receiving: Smith (288 yards, 1 TD)
Tackles: Isaiah Johnson* (87)
Sacks: Attaochu* (10)
Interceptions: Jemea Thomas* (4)
1. Attaochu at end. The Jackets had linebacker Jeremiah Attaochu play defensive end toward the end of last season. He was so effective, they moved him to the spot permanently to take advantage of his ability to rush off the end in the new 4-3 scheme Ted Roof brought with him. Attaochu had 10 sacks last year. He has a chance to be even more productive this season.
2. Quarterbacks coming along. Johnson wanted to spend the spring getting both Lee and Justin Thomas an adequate amount of reps, and he did that, saying he feels comfortable with either player behind center. Lee has the edge to start, but do not count out Thomas. “They both athletically are as good as we’ve had here,” Johnson said.
3. Defense adjusts. One of the biggest spring storylines focused on how the defense would adjust with Roof in charge and a scheme change. By all accounts, players have embraced the changes and are buying into the system. The front seven has an opportunity to be really good this year, given some of the talent returning.
1. Backs rotation. The Jackets seem to have a plethora of players to play the A-back and B-back positions. But who will emerge to become a playmaker at A-back to replace Smith? Who will emerge to provide consistency and playmaking ability at both spots?
2. Receiver. This is one area where the Jackets are thin, and it didn’t help matters that several players got hurt during the spring. Darren Waller is a player Johnson believes can be a difference maker. But Johnson also is going to need young guys like Anthony Autry, Micheal Summers and Travin Henry to step up.
3. Getting healthy. This team was banged up during the spring, missing several starters on the offensive line, at receiver and at linebacker as well. They should all be back in time for fall practice, but all the guys who missed time are going to have to get up to speed quickly to begin preparations for the season.