I watched the replay of the ISU-Texas game last year, focusing on the defense. To my surprise, what jumped out at me was the play of CB Sam Richardson...who was little short of fantastic in run support. The kid came screaming up on a couple of screen type passes to the outside edge as well...and made great tackles. That is huge for any defense in this conference because the edge speed of most Big 12 offenses is just astounding at times...but Sam really shut that down on his side of the field using his quickness, and most of all, sure tackling. His size may be an issue at times, if isolated one on one with a big strong receiver, but his athleticism is going to give him some nice opportunities at making big plays as well. If Tribune is the shut down corner it looks like he's becoming, Richardson's task on the other side will involve less 1 on 1 with big stud WR's, and more run support and zone/area coverage...things he is VERY good at doing. Also of note, was the solid play of our DE's...Morrissey looked very good and Meyers made a few very nice plays as well. The DL was average, and the LB play was on the poor side...a lot of the LB's seemed to overrun plays and were generally out of position. They were far from good at dropping into coverage as well...though there were a few nice blitz packages where they put some nice pressure on the Texas QB. Coe was mostly non-existent that game and Irvin was decent but nothing special. Both seemed to maneuver themselves OUT of plays more than into them...and perhaps some of the issues at LB relate to those two DL's not holding the intended gaps...it looked that way at times though I'm not enough of an expert to be certain. In comparison to the early and mid-season play of our defensive interior, I have no doubt that we will start the season ahead of last year's team...if not in sheer talent, in terms of discipline and holding the gap they are designated to hold. It seems certain to me that our LB play is going to improve with experience as well, and I think the D overall may be similar to, or slightly better, than what we fielded for most of last season. That isn't great, but its a long way from disaster...there times in that Texas game where the D looked very good, and they really seemed to step up after turnovers and hold Texas to a field goal or less. DO think much will depend on the play of our two young safeties, a factor that gets less press than issues on the DL and at LB....as they will be needed for run support...but will have to be smart/talented enough to make sure they and everyone else is in the right place at the right time. That is two huge tasks for two very young and very talented kids. Wally's bend don't break D counts on keeping everything in front of the defense...give up the short stuff, to the point of driving us fans crazy...but never get beat deep. So the pressure on those two safeties, hopefully with some solid bench play from Floyd, is going to be immense. If they are up to it, I think everyone is going to be surrprised at the play of the defense. One other thing...holy schmoly Sam Richardson (QB) looked good in this game. Made good decisions, ran VERY well, and was tremendously accurate on all but the very deep throws.I've been a bit on the Rohach wagon since the end of last year, but if Sam turns out to be the guy, I thnk he can be really good if he stays healthy. Its good to know we have two guys with solid experience competing with each other...pushing each other to get better...and a young gun in Lanning who may be the best of the bunch, eventually. How's that for sunshine pumping? Honestly, I think I'm being a realist but this close to the season I admit to getting irrationally exuberant...it happens.