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Fall Preview: Defensive Backs

Outside of Kenneth Dixon the most attention any position group at Louisiana Tech received a year ago was the defensive backfield. Maybe -- just maybe -- the 26 interceptions Tech was able to pull in as a defense last year may have something to do with that. With three of the four starters returning from this group, expectations are sky high.

Today, breaks down the defensive backs and what to expect from the position battles in fall camp.

The Incumbents

Kentrell Brice - In a duo of safeties that is hard to imagine being more productive than what Tech will put on the field again this season Kentrell Brice is the hitter. He led the team in tackles last season with 86 with 4 being for a loss, 4 sacks, 4 forced fumbles and 2 interceptions.

Looking to make the big hit every time, he is the perfect compliment for Xavier Woods who is the ball hawk of the two. There is little Brice has to prove in camp. He has a new coach this year just like the other safeties in Karl Scott. Talk about a dream duo to coach as a safeties coach if you're Scott.

Xavier Woods - The quarterback of the defense a year ago as a sophomore, it is hard to imagine Xavier Woods role will change much under new defensive coordinator Blake Baker who some say knows as much about Manny Diaz's defense as any one not named Manny Diaz. Finishing with 6 of Tech's 26 interceptions a year ago, Woods returns for his junior year looking to build on what has already been a tremendous career as a Bulldog.

Woods finished last season second on the team in tackles with 71, 1 sack, 3 tackles for loss and 3 forced fumbles.

Adairius Barnes - Having some of the best ball skills of a cornerback you will ever see highlights Adairius Barnes and those balls skills are evidenced by his 5 interceptions a year ago. After finishing with 46 tackles a year ago and 2 for a loss, it will be interesting to see what Barnes learned from former Tech cornerback Le'Vander Liggins who was one of the most physical corners to ever suit up for Tech.

As a Mississippi State commitment for much of his recruitment, this senior has to be looking forward to the trip to Starkville, Mississippi in October when Tech travels to take on the Mississippi State Bulldogs.

Bryson Abraham - While Bryson Abraham did not start but one game last year he has a wealth of experience as a senior. Like Barnes, Abraham has very good ball skills and finished last year with 2 interceptions, 39 tackles, 6 tackles for a loss and a fumble recovery.

A versatile athlete with very good leaping ability, Abraham has very little to prove.

The Backups

Secdrick Cooper - As a true freshman, Secdrick Cooper busted onto the scene showing off his speed. During the spring he showed he had grown immensely and will be a force in the defensive secondary for Tech.

Lloyd Grogan - After missing the spring getting his academics in order, Grogan needs to pick up where he left off during his redshirt sophomore campaign. Grogan finished with 40 tackles with 1 for a loss -- impressive to say the least for a freshman.

Johnny Shaw - The one-time commit to Texas and TCU will be a very good safety for Tech. Will it be this year? With the talent there it is hard to tell but he sure has the ability.

Maybe anyone's guess as to who ultimately will be the backups at corner. The options are simple but the product seen during the spring needs to improve drastically. During the spring we saw Roland Dunn, Kirkland McCulloch, and Michael Jacob.

What to Expect

It is possible a true freshman could break on to the scene. Coming out of high school Ephraim Kitchen might be the most polished at the corner position. Aaron Roberson was arguably the best athlete to come out of the Shreveport-Bossier City area last year and will be a good player. Trey Spencer is a versatile athlete from Orange, Texas who has a chance to make an impact also.

There is very little to worry about when it comes to safeties for Tech -- the 2-deep is special. If Tech can find a couple of backups at corner there is not much need for worry. However, as it stands now the cornerback position is probably the biggest question mark on either side of the ball for Tech going into fall camp.