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Tomcat 'D' eager to sink teeth into 40th-anniversary season of JAWS defense


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Aaron Snyder / The Independent When Tony Love relinquished control of Ashland’s defense, the jury was out on what effect that would have on the former linebacker’s prolific point-stopping mind.

As for his feelings on the change, Love is not guilty.

“It’s been pretty refreshing to sit back, knowing that part of your team is in great hands,” said the third-year Tomcats coach. “(Defensive coordinator Chad Tackett) has done a great job with these guys, getting them excited to play defense. … He’s more of an aggressive-type person, and I’m more of a conservative approach. The kids respond well to his aggressiveness.”

Ashland’s defense is embracing the theme of “sharks in the water,” according to Tackett.

Fitting, since this season marks the 40-year anniversary of the locally famed JAWS defense that attacked opponents with similar reckless abandon and ferociousness as its namesake, Hollywood’s indelible great white shark, did in 1975.

The Tomcats nabbed the Class 4A state at-large championship before falling to St. Xavier for all the marbles in early December. They finished 14-1, giving up just 7.9 points per contest — including only one instance of allowing more than 14 points.

Boyd County ventured inside Ashland’s 30-yard line just once in the district title game in a 43-0 shutout in ’75.

 

They just got us down and poured it to us,” said then-Lions coach Ed VanHoose.

Ever heard of these last names? Jones, Anderson, Shippey, Ramey, Hicks, Jackson, Sparks, Sang, Thomas, Conley and Slone?

 

Tomcats Defense

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@Backspin, do you think there will be a big difference in the defense this year with the coaching change?

 

If we pursue with the same intensity as we did in the scrimmage, yes. I believe they the schemes will be versatile for any formation. Personally I like the playing downhill and aggressive because that is my nature. I believe there is a dearly defined leader of this group and I believe he will be a time setter when it comes to playing fast and physical. We will see if this is true. I am excited to see this group develop as the year goes by.

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Only problem with that is that although the Tomcats will be very good, they do not have the total talent that that team had. More so, Ashland doesn't even begin to match the coaching that Ashland had. I mean, not remotely close. The current Tomcat coach and staff probably are not even comparable to the coaches that were at Putnam and Coles Jr. highs.

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Last years D was hideous, yet keep us in 9 of the 11 games we played. Just a small improvement will do wonders for the whole team. Chad's Defensive philosophy was used against FTH at end of last season with a lot of success. Most of these schools we play aren't going to beat you throwing unless you sit back and let them. Attack attack attack that gives Ashland the best chance to knock off JC.

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Great read. I hope coach Love is right and this year's defense is improved despite losing a d1 cb. If Jake Long didn't move to Columbus, this Ashland squad would have been downright loaded with d1 talent. I'm happy with what we have though, this should be an exciting season.

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