More Bearcats switch sides

By Darrell Laurant  |   Monday, June 15, 2009  |  Comments( 1 )

Cincinnati Bearcats
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We tend to think of defensive and offensive players on a football team as apples and oranges. At the University of Cincinnati, though, they're more like mixed fruit.

After winning the Big East title last year, Bearcat coach Brian Kelly found himself with a surplus of good players on offense and a shortfall on defense. The solution was simple: Changing places.

Thus, third-string quarterback Demetrius Jones and wide receiver Marcus Barnett were moved to defensive back, fullback Marcus Waugh to linebacker. All three are expected to play important roles on the stop unit this fall.

After all, it worked with Connor Barwin last season. A tight end in 2007, the 6-foot-4, 253-pound Barwin was switched to defensive end and proved the most dominant D-lineman in the conference, finishing with 53 tackles, 16 tackles for loss, 11 sacks, eight pass breakups and a touchdown. He is now a Houston Texan, being drafted in the second round.

This time around, the defensive backfield is the area of most need for Kelly and new defensive coordinator Bob Diaco. Three of the four starters in 2008 -- DeAngelo Smith, Mike Mickens and Brandon Underwood -- were drafted, leaving Brad Jones (two interceptions) as the lone starter. Aaron Webster is a lock for one of the open spots, and Dominique Battle is a strong possibility for another. But the coaches feel Demetrius Jones and Barnett have the size and speed to make the transition and contribute.

Waugh, a 5-11, 260-pounder, is built like a Hummer. In the UC weight room, he hoisted 225 pounds 37 times in the bench press, tying the best performance in the NFL combine. Of course, given that he routinely bench presses over 500 pounds, that 225 probably felt almost light.

The football world may not be ready for a tight end with Waugh's dimensions, but he did manage two catches last season. He was more effective as a road grader at fullback.

Then, there's Adrien Robinson, recently featured in Brian Bennett's Big East blog on

Why? Because Robinson could be this year's Barwin. A tight end, he only caught a single pass last season. One.

When it comes to athleticism, however, the redshirt sophomore from Indianapolis has no peer on the Bearcat squad. His 11-5 long jump beat anything produced at the combine. Robinson also produced a 37.5-inch vertical jump (Division I basketball hops) and did the 40 in 4.55. He's 6-5, 245.

You've got to think that Diaco and Kelly are looking at Anderson and thinking: Maybe he'd like to chase quarterbacks instead of worrying about whether they're going to throw to him.
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