Nestled in a classic college town in Northern California, UC Davis ranked sixth nationally among public universities by the Wall Street Journal in 2016. Additionally, U.S. News & World Report rates the university No. 1 in such fields as plant science and animal science; while Forbes had UC Davis atop its list of "13 Most Important STEM Colleges for Women."
One advantage UC Davis’ defense will enjoy throughout the upcoming season is the depth it brings to the outside linebacker position.
One player who set the tone for this position group from the first day of fall camp is fifth-year senior Eric Holmer, who made the transition from defensive end to linebacker last season.
"He’s done everything right for us, is really consistent in his techniques and makes all the necessary check. Needless to say, he is a real smart player," said Brady. Holmer finished last season with 15 total tackles (2.5 for loss) and has not missed a game in the last two seasons.
In terms of the team's pass rush, all eyes are on Anthony Baumgart who, like Holmer last year, is making the transition from the defensive line. He started every game last season at defensive end, recorded 45 tackles (32 solo), three sacks and highlighted his season with a 61-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown at Cal Poly.
A new face to this position is Connor Airey, who joined the team this past winter. As a senior at Servite High School, Airey earned All-Trinity League first team and all All-Orange County third team recognition after recording 92 tackles (15 for loss), six sacks and two interceptions.
Also donning UC Davis uniform for the first time this seasonis Mason Moe. The junior transfer out of West Hills College played 10 games in 2015 as a defensive back, collected 29 tackles (21 solo), four interceptions and broke up four passes.
"(Moe) is a really good and physical athlete who will make a significant impact," said Brady.
With the transition to a new coaching staff, and the record number of incoming student-athletes, Brady shared that cohesiveness is the key to the group’s success this year.
"Linebackers have to trust that they’re in the right spot. As outside linebackers, we have to make sure everyone is making the right checks with our inside linebackers and safeties. We need to dive into a game plan together, understand what the opposing offense is trying to attack and how we will respond defensively."
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