Ultimately, it’s easier to evaluate Holland's play by judging whether he eliminates missed tackles, takes the correct angles to ball carries, doesn’t blow his coverage and times his blitzes precisely. But, like a coach seeing the bigger picture, Holland said his success is reflected by the entire defense. "I’m becoming the lion of the defense, as coach VanGorder says," Holland said. "That’s what it takes. That’s what the Mike linebacker is. He’s the leader. He’s the commander. And I think I’ve taken huge steps toward that."
Perhaps the line will gel quickly and protect Boyd. Perhaps it will be fantastic. But it is equally possible that the group will struggle to keep Boyd upright, and that he’ll be forced to use his legs and sharpen his reflexes while the pocket continually collapses around him.
"We have so much left to do, so many details to fill in," BCS executive director Bill Hancock said. "We really have taken the last few weeks to kind of catch our breath and let conference media days happen."
There are rough edges that require further sanding. Nothing specifically concerned (head coach Dabo) Swinney but he remained curious about how a team responds with sophomores and freshmen in critical roles.
"He reminds me a lot of Cam Newton as far as his personality," said (Carver head coach Billy) Gresham. "If the team is having a bad day or a rough practice, he really makes an effort to pick his teammates up. Some guys will get frustrated when their teammates don't play up to the same level, but Jeremy always keeps it positive."
At 5-10, 195 pounds, durability has always been a concern. Running backs coach Tony Elliott said he is limiting Ellington in camp to keep him fresh. And while the Tigers want Ellington to be stronger and more flexible, they didn’t want him to gain weight.