Toledo Football: Rockets return more on defense than you think

Toledo relies on returning snaps, not starters

6/17/13 in NCAAF   |   Tyler_Waddell   |   426 respect

Matt Campbell is entering his second season as the head coach of Toledo, coming off a 9-4 (6-2 MAC West) record in which the Rockets played in their third straight bowl game.Blog Photo - Toledo Football: Rockets return more on defense than you think

Toledo is known for its creative offensive spread and scoring a ton of points on a MACtion-filled Wednesday night. However, its defense—which returns a total of four starters—ranked No. 109 overall in yards allowed (473.2 per game) and No. 67 in points allowed (28.4).

Campbell isn't worried about how the lack of returning starters will affect the development of his and Tom Matukewicz's system, but is excited about the amount of players that took snaps for the Rockets in 2012.

"One of the things we've prided ourselves on on both sides of the football is playing a lot of guys," Campbell told SiriusXM College Sports Nation. "When you look at it defensively this year, the amount of snaps we have back, not just talking starters, but the amount of guys that played for us were put in critical roles for us defensively to be successful. These guys now just need to carry a little bit more.

"It's almost like we're in a place with our program now where we can build this where guys that have playing experience are ready to take over that starting spot. ... The one thing about defense is, if you love to be able to hit people, I think there's the ability to react quicker and play quicker and make an impact easier."

The first thing most people look for when studying a college football team during the preseason is the number of returning starters. Usually the higher the number, the better chances the team has to improve from the year before.

In Toledo's case, it seems to be the opposite. Over 37 different players saw action on defense last season, and the Rockets only lose seven to graduation. So they may only bring back four starters, but they're still retaining at least 80 percent of its unit to the field for this fall.

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