Trey Dean's Defense

Updated: Feb 4, 2020

Trey Dean leaves the field after defeating Auburn—Photo Credit: Alex Shepherd

Trey Dean is well aware of how his season unfolded, in both perception and reality. He understands what the expectations were as the 2019 season kicked off, and he knows the result was skewed.

“I’d rather have adversity now than have it later. But what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”

The sophomore defensive back was placed in a vaulted position for Todd Grantham’s defense this year when he took over the STAR (nickel) position. It was a spot left vacated by Chauncey Gardner-Johnson after being drafted to the New Orleans Saints, where he made a significant contribution to their postseason run.

When Dean took over, the assumption was that it would seamless. The reasoning was that Dean had performed admirably his true freshman year when filling in at corner for the injured Marco Wilson. And the presumption arose following Gardner-Johnson’s stand out junior season that arguably the most difficult position on the defense would be simplistic. After all, it was played with relative ease just a year ago.

Trey Dean knew it wasn’t going to be that easy.

“You gotta know everything. It’s little tweaks to it. Dude motions from other side to other side to other side of the field, it changes the whole defense. If you’re blitzing, they want you to blitz hard but if the back jumps to the other side and he motions out, you gotta peel the back…it’s a different read. Pre-snap play, read, might be a different read then when it starts.”

Decisions are made on the fly, he explains, often in the space of time between the ball being snapped and it landing in the quarterback’s hands.

“Like that,” he snaps his fingers.

The STAR is technically a fifth defensive back—thus the nick