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2014 Bearcat Season Countdown: 31 Days

The Cincinnati Bearcats kick off the 2014 football season in 31 days. Bearcats Blog is counting down 32 reasons and people why we, as a fan base, should be pumped for 2014.

32 – AAC Favorite

31 – Adrian Witty and his potential role in the secondary

There was a bit of a surprise when Cincinnati released the (very early) two deep when Adrian Witty as listed as the starting corner back across from Howard Wilder. Witty has been a safety his entire UC career. He’s still listed as a safety when you look at the roster page on Go Bearcats. The move to corner makes a mind wonder if it shows some kind of corner lack of depth. It also sends a mind into wondering if maybe this means something new for the general role of Adrian Witty.

Witty played in all 13 games, starting 9. He made a pretty big impact in the secondary. His numbers weren’t as quite as flashy as Zach Edwards, but he almost had the same type of numbers as Arryn Chenault, who was the only member of the secondary to start every game in 2013. A part of me wonders if starting at corner isn’t just a way to make sure Witty is on the field more often. Obviously he would be if he were a starting corner. But no corner plays every single down of every single game. There is a question of if Witty is just holding the job until Leviticus Payne is fully ready to rock and roll as a starting cornerback. He is the future after all.

Adrian Witty showed some ball skills last season. He broke up 4 passes and defensed 5 additional attempts. Both of those numbers were last among the secondary members who played the most, but what we don’t know are the attempts and percentages Witty had the ball thrown his way. Of course, Witty had his first career interception last season in the season opener against Purdue. He took it to the house.

Adrian has a nose for the action. His 27 solo tackles were 5th on the team. He had more solo tackles than Jeff Luc for instance. What interests me about Witty’s role this year is if he’ll be an attacker like he was in 2012 under Butch Jones. That was the year where Witty had 4.5 tackles for loss and 3 sacks. In more of a cover role, Witty had 2 tackles for loss in 2013. Rushing the secondary was something Cincinnati didn’t do last season. If they did it, it didn’t do well because the secondary had 0 sacks and 0 hurries. In 2012, the secondary had 6 sacks, mostly from safeties. That one may not be something that happens, but it’s a skill Witty has.

Adrian Witty hits people very hard. He’s going to do that even more in 2014. He’s an intriguing piece in the secondary. A secondary that returns 3 main starters and a part time starter. Witty hasn’t had a full, complete breakout season. He’s going to have plenty of opportunity to show the world.